05/23/2013 12:34 pm ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

Back in the West, No More Scarves -- and a Different Kind of Respect for Women

Finally, after over a month in the Middle East, I'm heading west. For the next few weeks I'll be in Europe again (Turkey, Italy, Spain, and Portugal). As soon as I left the Middle East, I was struck by the advertising. What I saw was interesting to me: Many Americans find a modest scarf -- and a society where women cover up in public -- so offensive, while people (men and women) from a more sensitive society travel to the West and are offended by how we treat our women. Here in the West, everywhere you look, women are naked in order to sell things. Strip them down and put them in a bucket -- or let them help you sell hats.


In my travels, I try to understand people who are different than me. I start with this assumption: I don't completely understand the context in which they live their lives and the culture that shapes their values and customs. It's fun. It opens up my world.