About that feministe…. Following Jill’s previous post covered by bobhayes here, I’ll make some pointers on the headscarf debate matter. Or rather, a single extended point. It is pointed out that wearing a hijab frees religious women to act on the public sphere and:
What we shouldn’t do is support policies which, in the name of “modernism,” only serve to limit the mobility and the public rights of certain women and girls.
(on banning hijabs)
But, on the other hand, should we, in the name of “religious tolerance” support a behaviour that sends a message: “I am pure. I choose to not provoke men with my hair.” When in reality, such behaviour has de facto created a class of women* who are considered to legitimate targets for sexual harrassment by Muslim men (in Muslim countries, and in Western countries with significant Muslim minorities, where Imams encourage this behaviour) After all, if they didn’t want to be treated like whores, surely they would cover up like decent women, right?
Ultimately, asserting that women who choose to wear the hijab (or even burqa, the logic is essentially the same) are not oppressed is a red herring argument: “women who choose to wear hijabs are not oppressed by it!” they say, and I say: “No shit, Sherlock.”. It is still worth examining whether the whole rationale behind the hijab is what would be (rightly) denounced by feminists as a symptom victim-blaming , if it didn’t happen to be something that the Other does. Quite clearly, if you ask me.
I also wonder, how can anyone ever claim that banning hijab, niqab or burqa be an attack on anyone’s religious beliefs, if Islam does not mandate their use, as has been claimed previously?
Before some right-winger comes on and starts bleating about the evils of Islam, and accuses me of being an apologist for a sexist religion, consider first that headcoverings were not common and certainly weren’t required in the time of the Prophet. Men and women prayed together, and occupied the public space together. Read the Quran, and see if you can find the word “hijab” anywhere in there. See if you can find any requirement for women to cover themselves in public.
(On Islam and hijab)
Why does she support false Islam, then? How can anyone claim that the hijab “empowers women as Muslims”, if it has nothing to do with Islam?
(update: Sunrunner writes on the previous feministe thread (about the teacher):
BTW–it is important to understand the “symbolism” of the niqab vs the headscarf. Women who wear the headscarf by choice will usually tell you that it gives them more freedom , they are protected from many (but not all) forms of sexual harrassment. Now whether or not this is true is not what is relevant, because that is what they believe. They wear it because they feel it provides them with the ability to move more freely in public life; thus you have women in headscarfs doing literally any job a secular woman can do. The purpose of the niqab is the opposite; women who wear it are not even supposed to speak to men who are not mahram (related). (which makes me wonder who she could have a male boss–the whole thing is so bizarre)
* (Edit 2: Some people are going to need a clarification to this. This class of women is obviously those who choose not to wear hijab. And obviously, it is not the piece of cloth that causes this, but the raison d’etre behind the said piece of cloth. Not hard, people.)