Australian Lefty on Politics, Governance, Science and Info Management

Would tabloids promote (some) religious dress codes?

Posted by Dave Bath on 2007-07-24

Western islamophobes would rather women wear hijab than allow religious freedom to ultra-pacifist vegetarian strict Jain, followers of a religion similar to Buddhism in both age and philosophy.

It’s not the dietary oddities that is the problem: no onions, garlic, or potatoes.

It’s not the extreme respect for all animals: the most fundamental (I’ve only met a moderate) traditionally swept before them so they wouldn’t accidentally step on insects.

The problem is the strict dress code of the Digambar sect, especially monks and nuns – they are "sky-clad", that is, clothed in nothing but sky.

The tabloids can’t object to this for security reasons as they do the burqa: it’s impossible (or at least extremely uncomfortable) for the sky-clad to conceal a weapon.

So, would the tabloid editors and readers who rail against fundamentalist religious dictates for women to cover up oppose equally "extreme" dress codes from a different religion?

Now, strict Digambar Jain will have some difficulties with the Australia value of sportiness – it’s hard to play footy or netball without a jumper – but golf, tennis, swimming and volleyball shouldn’t be a problem.

So, would the Murdoch tabloids continue to promote xenophobia based on dress-codes, or would they become Jain proselytizers, advocating it’s exemplary calls to non-violence, truth, non-stealing, purity of mind and body, and (the rationale for Digambar “fashion”) non-attachment to temporal possessions?

Might the tabloids sponsor a Jain female volleyball team, and give lots of coverage?  Would they encourage others to join the team, and (in the interests of religious tolerance and multiculturalism, of course) advocate they adopt the dress-code of their Jain friends?

Now, there’s a dilemma for the Murdoch tabloid editors and readership!


  • You can see workarounds (e.g. roasting bananas not potatoes) and a set of yummy Jain recipes (including a "burger") here
  • During during months proliferation of life is very rampant not only in plants, but also in insects,worms, microscopic bacteria and organisms which thrive on these plants.  Hence, the jains abstain from harvesting plants, but use flour made before the monsoon.
  • The Wikipedia entry gives more details.
  • Yes, I’ve been a bit tongue-in-cheek, and stretched things a bit (the sky-clad practice has waned over the centuries), but not to breaking point.  This article is meant to have a satirical tone.
  • It’s an interesting philosophical wedge among feminists, who’d love the freedom available to nuns, but hate the unavoidable titillatory treatment by the press.
  • The idea of Jain volleyball teams (males playing ultraorthodox Jews who always wear long coats and hats, the females playing Moslems in Burqas or nuns in full habit) is even more Pythonesque than the sketch of German versus Greek philosophers playing soccer.


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