Creative Destruction

October 16, 2006

Who Is Oppressed By The Hijab?

Filed under: Feminist Issues,Political Correctness,Race and Racism — Tuomas @ 3:26 pm

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.)

33 Comments »

  1. The hair covering and the face covering are, as I see it, two distinct issues. Sort of. There are many traditions which require men and woman to cover their heads/hair when they leave the house. But, with the exception of the Gulf Countries (and Saudi Arabia in particular) and remote parts of Afghanistan and Pakistan, it has never been customary for women to cover their hair entirely — 20 years ago, even women who dressed very traditionally did not obsess with covering every single strand as we see today. It was the intent which mattered more, it seemed. But with the radicalization of Islam (with the help of Saudi petro-dollars, for the most part) women in areas of the world who would never dreamed of covering their faces (or even every little wisp of hair) are now doing so. Salman Rushdie has made this point recently.

    And no, there is absolutely NO requirement in the Quran for women to cover their hair or their faces in public. There is a requirement that the wives of the prophet do and so it is taken from that (in some interpretations) that all women should emulate these women.

    Even though a daughter of the prophet rode a horse and wielded a sword in battle….

    Comment by sunrunner — October 16, 2006 @ 3:42 pm | Reply

  2. And no, there is absolutely NO requirement in the Quran for women to cover their hair or their faces in public. There is a requirement that the wives of the prophet do and so it is taken from that (in some interpretations) that all women should emulate these women.

    Ah, but that is rather different than absolutely no requirement, right? As the prophet is the perfect man, surely what he demanded from his wives couldn’t have been completely wrong.

    Anyway, thanks for the feedback and the context.

    Comment by Tuomas — October 16, 2006 @ 3:51 pm | Reply

  3. The Quran does not contain an exacting dress code, it contains an injunction to dress modestly. Indeed, it was really relatively progressive compared to the gender norms of its day, but, because of the way it expressed that, has left societies frozen in outdated mores.

    I think it is hard to deny that women are oppressed in places where the Hijab is the norm (looking at lots of indicators like treatment in the justice system, personal freedom outside of the sexual realm, treatment in family disputes, etc.)

    It is equally difficult to say that this symbol is really, pre se, the source of the oppression outside cases where, for example, women are flayed for not wearing it by Committees for the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice. All forms of fashion take their meaning from context. Wearing a swimsuit at the beach means something very different than wearing a swimsuit to a court hearing. In the context of that society, wearing it is the smart thing to do which expands your options over not doing so.

    In foreign contexts, places like France, the meaning of these symbols is ill defined and up for debate, and it isn’t surprising that people take up the defense of their own culture’s symbols in favor of less favorable definitions by outsiders.

    But, among non-immigrants, such as the royal women of Saudi Arabia, there is certainly no feeling of love for the Hajib outside of their homeland, although they cover up when they are there. Those women get into Western clothes on the flight out or at the first airport they arrive in, and change back as they return. Many keep the letter and spirit of the Quaran abroad by dressing modestly, without keeping with Saudi Arabian tradition when they are abroad. Some simply go hog wild in private settings without regard to the injunctions of their religion.

    Comment by ohwilleke — October 16, 2006 @ 6:04 pm | Reply

  4. 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.”

    Yes. Not because our society should endorse that particular message, but because our society ought not, unless forced to extreme measures, to endorse ANY particular message. Messages are left to the messengers: we individual human moral actors. You want to live pure for Allah, hey, you be my guest.

    The concern is raised of false-flag messaging: that the girl is being forced into a particular mode of behavior by family. Well, to some extent, we are all so forced and it is by and large a healthy thing, otherwise there would be a lot more pissing in the streets. But even in the cases where there is wide consensus that the behavioral mode being forced is inappropriately or even impermissibly strict, that does not permit us privileged knowledge of individual motivations; there will be women who wear the cross because they love Christ more than life itself, and there will be women who wear the cross because they fear their father will beat them if they don’t.

    It’s societys’ job to prevent the beatings, where it can, not to make rulings about what messages the citizens can properly brandish.

    Comment by Robert — October 17, 2006 @ 1:22 am | Reply

  5. One small point:

    That specific forms of head covering for women are not fundamental or inherent to Islam (not found in the Koran) does not mean that an interpretation of Islam that requires specific head coverings for women is false.

    Religion doesn’t work that way.

    The New Testament does not declare that there should be a hierarchy of priests headed by a Pope in Rome, but that does not mean that Catholicism is false Christianity. While you can’t claim that the hierarchical model of the church is inherent to Christianity, you also can’t claim that hierarchical Christianity is false (likewise and vice versa for the anarchic and egalitarian Baptists and their innumerable schismatics).

    Another small point: Western and Western inspired attacks on head covering are likely to be as successful and productive as Western attacks on FGM, transforming a relatively unimportant cultural particularism into a grand symbol of resistance to the West.

    Comment by Charles S — October 17, 2006 @ 4:58 am | Reply

  6. I’m not saying hijabs ought to be banned (they can be limited in private institutions, on basis of dress code etc. if the employer so decides). I just don’t consider wearing it particularly empowering or a feminist thing to do.

    Another small point: Western and Western inspired attacks on head covering are likely to be as successful and productive as Western attacks on FGM, transforming a relatively unimportant cultural particularism into a grand symbol of resistance to the West.

    “Relatively unimportant cultural particularism” is a nice way of describing having a clitoris cut off.

    You may be right on hijab, btw, but the comparison to FGM is repugnant.

    (edited for grammar, clarity and a typo)

    Comment by Tuomas — October 17, 2006 @ 5:25 am | Reply

  7. you also can’t claim that hierarchical Christianity is false (likewise and vice versa for the anarchic and egalitarian Baptists and their innumerable schismatics).

    Oh, I missed this. Watch me: It is false. Happy?

    Comment by Tuomas — October 17, 2006 @ 5:29 am | Reply

  8. “Relatively unimportant cultural particularism” is a nice way of describing having a clitoris cut off.

    There was no comparison to FGM; the sentence wasn’t an analogy. And the “relatively unimportant cultural particularism” referred to was head covering, not FGM.

    Comment by Ampersand — October 17, 2006 @ 6:56 am | Reply

  9. It can be read either way (why mention it, then?). Clearly Charles is implying that FGM has been transformed into a symbol of resistance against the West.

    But the logic behind it is still a little bit odd, methinks: You can’t criticize x because then the group that does x will really do x.

    Comment by Tuomas — October 17, 2006 @ 7:01 am | Reply

  10. It can be read either way (why mention it, then?).

    It can only be read your way if you refuse to give Charles a reasonable benefit of the doubt.

    Clearly Charles is implying that FGM has been transformed into a symbol of resistance against the West.

    Yes, he’s implying that. And he’s correct. The hamhanded criticism of FGM by some westerners has led to exactly the result Charles described, as virtually anyone active on that issue would tell you.

    That doesn’t mean that it’s wrong to work against FGM – just that one should stop and consider if the specific way one works against FGM is actually going to be an effective way of reaching the intended goal.

    The logic behind Charles statement isn’t odd at all. His logic could be stated like this: “You should consider the past history of which tactics have been effective and ineffective in the past, before deciding what tactics are best in the current situation.” That’s not odd at all.

    Why mention it? Because Charles is suggesting that it’s possible to learn from history. Do you really disagree?

    Comment by Ampersand — October 17, 2006 @ 7:24 am | Reply

  11. It can only be read your way if you refuse to give Charles a reasonable benefit of the doubt.

    Well, I’m unhinged according to him, so damn right I won’t give him the benefit of the doubt.

    The logic behind Charles statement isn’t odd at all. His logic could be stated like this: “You should consider the past history of which tactics have been effective and ineffective in the past, before deciding what tactics are best in the current situation.” That’s not odd at all.

    Why mention it? Because Charles is suggesting that it’s possible to learn from history. Do you really disagree?

    Well, let’s go a bit deeper to that issue. Why has it been ineffective?

    I’d suggest a rather large part of it is the schizophrenic western guilt that infuses the modern western society: The enslavers, oppressors and imperialists (by their own admission!) dare to criticize a culture, which again, by the admission of Westerners, is superior to Western culture.

    Which tactics would you suggest to combat FGM? Er, I suppose even saying that it should be combatted will drive North African Muslims to do it even more.😐

    Comment by Tuomas — October 17, 2006 @ 7:43 am | Reply

  12. Which tactics would you suggest to combat FGM? Er, I suppose even saying that it should be combatted will drive North African Muslims to do it even more.😐

    Of course, we can’t say that’s a bad thing. After all, we wouldn’t want them to do it even more…

    Oops. Here we go again.

    Comment by Tuomas — October 17, 2006 @ 8:00 am | Reply

  13. Well, I’m unhinged according to him, so damn right I won’t give him the benefit of the doubt.

    So what if Charles made an inaccurate statement? That does not justify you making an inaccurate statement in turn.

    Well, let’s go a bit deeper to that issue. Why has it been ineffective?

    I’d suggest a rather large part of it is the schizophrenic western guilt that infuses the modern western society: The enslavers, oppressors and imperialists (by their own admission!) dare to criticize a culture, which again, by the admission of Westerners, is superior to Western culture.

    What makes you think this is an example of “going deeper”? To me, this seems like cookie-cutter right-wing pablum. Your link, and the way you introduce it, suggests that you think George W. Bush considers Western culture inferior to muslim culture. This suggests that you really are unhinged, just as Charles said; or that you’re joking, in which case your claim of “going deeper” has no worth.

    Which tactics would you suggest to combat FGM?

    Read this paper (.pdf link) for a start on answering this question. For going deeper into why people who practice FGM aren’t persuaded to quit by moralistic Westerners who have no sensitivity to local culture or context, try reading this link. Note his argument about how brute pressure from outside governments to outlaw FGM hasn’t eliminated the practice, but has made it more dangerous by making it less likely that the procedure will be performed by a doctor.

    Comment by Ampersand — October 17, 2006 @ 8:17 am | Reply

  14. suggests that you think George W. Bush considers Western culture inferior to muslim culture.

    It is what he said. I very much doubt he thinks Western Culture is inferior.

    This suggests that you really are unhinged,

    Go fuck yourself.

    Comment by Tuomas — October 17, 2006 @ 8:20 am | Reply

  15. It is what he said.

    No, it’s not. Here’s what he said, as quoted in the post you linked to:

    “Islam is a religion that brings hope and comfort to more than a billion people around the world. It has transcended racial and ethnic divisions.*

    “It has given birth to a rich culture of learning and literature and science. And tonight we honor the traditions of a great faith by hosting the Iftaar here at the White House.”

    Not a single word of that suggests any comparison at all between western culture and Islam. Your claim that Bush said Western Culture is inferior is not at all supported by your link.

    And by the way, it’s incoherent to say that there is a “schizophrenic western guilt that infuses the modern western society,” but then to provide as your sole example someone who is – according to you – saying it, but not thinking it. If the guilt you refer to actually exists, then it is actually felt, not just said. (And, anyway, in this case it wasn’t even said.)

    Go fuck yourself.

    So you did mean that ridiculous argument sincerely? I thought for sure you were joking.

    Comment by Ampersand — October 17, 2006 @ 8:31 am | Reply

  16. If the guilt you refer to actually exists, then it is actually felt, not just said.

    The West isn’t a monolith nor a hivemind. It could be that Bush feels it, I don’t know for sure (but I can speculate).

    But your right, there isn’t a comparison per se. But on the other hand, the smarmy praise he offers means that surely Western Culture can not be any better at least (it takes a lot to top that).

    And if the popular opinion is that the West is as good or worse, then outsiders will draw conclusions from that.

    Read this paper (.pdf link) for a start on answering this question. For going deeper into why people who practice FGM aren’t persuaded to quit by moralistic Westerners who have no sensitivity to local culture or context, try reading this link. Note his argument about how brute pressure from outside governments to outlaw FGM hasn’t eliminated the practice, but has made it more dangerous by making it less likely that the procedure will be performed by a doctor.

    Cookie-cutter leftist pablum. Irrelevant.

    Comment by Tuomas — October 17, 2006 @ 8:45 am | Reply

  17. Referring to the second link, in particular (I remember that cultural relativist). I suppose we can’t call a gang rape bestial either, because they are people, damn it.

    Can’t judge anything.

    Comment by Tuomas — October 17, 2006 @ 8:47 am | Reply

  18. But on the other hand, the smarmy praise he offers means that surely Western Culture can not be any better at least (it takes a lot to top that).

    Not really. All he’d have to do is say “but Western culture is even better!” at the end.

    He didn’t say that, however, because the quote is obviously from some diplomatic function. No one, anywhere, thinks a statement like that is serious; it’s empty fluff-talk, and everyone knows it’s empty fluff-talk. A more significant quote would be something from a serious policy speech.

    Cookie-cutter leftist pablum.

    Actually, both of the links (but especially the second one) were criticisms of lefty views, so I don’t see how they can reasonably be characterized as “cookie cutter leftism.” And that you consider these essays – both of which display huge amounts of research and real knowledge – “pablum” and “irrelevant” does not support the view that you’re really interested in going deeper on the subject of FGM.

    Comment by Ampersand — October 17, 2006 @ 8:56 am | Reply

  19. Actually, both of the links (but especially the second one) were criticisms of lefty views, so I don’t see how they can reasonably be characterized as “cookie cutter leftism.”

    True enough, they criticize logical outgrowths of secular, universal humanism (which is a leftist idea). But using postmodernist framework to do so (predominantly leftist idea, but adopted by right-wingers, too). I should have written something like “immoral PoMo relativism” (especially the second one. The first looks, altough I haven’t read it thoroughly yet, interesting).

    It was more of a dig to you, as it is rather clear that simple dichotomy between leftists and rightists is always going to be a vague one.

    (edited for addendums)

    Comment by Tuomas — October 17, 2006 @ 9:03 am | Reply

  20. No one, anywhere, thinks a statement like that is serious; it’s empty fluff-talk, and everyone knows it’s empty fluff-talk. A more significant quote would be something from a serious policy speech.

    I beg to differ. Such thing matters. A lot.

    Comment by Tuomas — October 17, 2006 @ 9:04 am | Reply

  21. does not support the view that you’re really interested in going deeper on the subject of FGM.

    It might be something for a separate thread. (as is the debate whether leftist or right-wingers are the ones who really suck… Or no, screw that. It is always relevant😉 ).

    ( edited to add a parenthetical comment)

    Now, if anyone wants to discuss hijab or other clothing that is perceived Islamic, go on.

    /end hijack on my part, at least

    (edited again)

    Comment by Tuomas — October 17, 2006 @ 9:07 am | Reply

  22. Ampersand, btw, I suppose I should apologize for the “go fuck yourself” -comment.

    You can think that the argument I presented is ridiculous, but can we leave “the unhingeds” past?

    I tend to blow a fuse in such situations, especially when it’s coming from someone I consider a friend, having lost another friend who disappeared and was found, having killed himself, while “unhinged” (untreated depression most likely). He wasn’t a very close friend, but it kind of makes me despise snarky allusions to mental health, you know?

    Comment by Tuomas — October 17, 2006 @ 10:01 am | Reply

  23. Very well. I withdraw the “unhinged” comment, and apologize for the blown fuse it caused.

    Comment by Ampersand — October 17, 2006 @ 2:13 pm | Reply

  24. Tuomas,

    I apologize for the snarky reference to mental health, I’m not terribly fond of them either. I think that your post on Sweden made no sense and seemed to be argued more from unreasonable ire than from any sort of coherent position (a trend in your commenting I have seen multiple places), but I certainly don’t mean to suggest that you have gone insane.

    Amp’s defense of my statements on FGM is pretty much what I would have said, so I agree that the distraction should be left closed. Although I will mention that your reading of “relatively unimportant cultural particularism” to refer to FGM was correct. Very important to those it was practiced on, but dieing out due to local opposition, and certainly not a central cultural practice.

    Can I return to the fact that you think that Catholicism is false Christianity? Do I want to?

    Comment by Charles S — October 17, 2006 @ 2:59 pm | Reply

  25. I think that your post on Sweden made no sense and seemed to be argued more from unreasonable ire than from any sort of coherent position (a trend in your commenting I have seen multiple places)

    Hmm. Admittedly it was angry (and I was angry), a generalized swipe on feminism/feminists. The post wasn’t my best.

    Apology accepted, and I’m glad to note that I was, in fact correct in reading you, and Amp was wrong on the unimportant part. Nyah nyah nyah!😉

    Can I return to the fact that you think that Catholicism is false Christianity? Do I want to?

    I’m a Lutheran deist*, so why wouldn’t I think so (other than as a personal favor to Robert) ?

    But really, it was meant to display that pedantically I can claim it is false, and on larger scale, it is IMHO incoherent for people who point out that the veil isn’t part of REAL Islam, to nevertheless protect it’s use on grounds of respecting religion (and only on those grounds).

    * = Heretic

    Comment by Tuomas — October 17, 2006 @ 3:13 pm | Reply

  26. But really, it was meant to display that pedantically I can claim it is false, and on larger scale, it is IMHO incoherent for people who point out that the veil isn’t part of REAL Islam, to nevertheless protect it’s use on grounds of respecting religion (and only on those grounds).

    Why is it incoherent? I believe all religions are false but I also believe in respecting religion. Why should I favour one false religion over another?

    It is the notion that there can be true false religions and false false religions which is incoherent.

    Comment by Daran — October 17, 2006 @ 3:40 pm | Reply

  27. I believe all religions are false but I also believe in respecting religion.

    Why (the second part)?

    And do you realize that you offend quite many religions just by saying that they all are false?

    I think it’s incoherent when people vehemently insist that real Islam (or insert your religion) is x, and some more oppressive form of the said religion is y, and end up supporting y while simultaneously denouncing all who claim that the said religion is y.

    I hope that made sense.

    Comment by Tuomas — October 17, 2006 @ 3:53 pm | Reply

  28. Apology accepted, and I’m glad to note that I was, in fact correct in reading you, and Amp was wrong on the unimportant part. Nyah nyah nyah!

    Curses! Foiled again!

    Comment by Ampersand — October 17, 2006 @ 3:58 pm | Reply

  29. Me:

    I believe all religions are false but I also believe in respecting religion.

    Tuomas:

    Why (the second part)?

    Good call. Actually I don’t believe in respecting religions. Tolerating them? Yes.

    And do you realize that you offend quite many religions just by saying that they all are false?

    I’ll have to try harder to offend them all.

    I hope that made sense.

    About as much sense as any religion.

    Comment by Daran — October 17, 2006 @ 4:35 pm | Reply

  30. Perhaps what I was getting at with that Bush quote: This is a man who has invaded two Muslim countries, made foreign policies that have resulted on death of (supposedly) 660.000, whose country is at war with terrorists who are all Muslims (but not all Muslims are terrorists) and it is still unthinkable* that he would criticize Islam.

    And he’s supposed to represent the far right arrogant imperialism!

    There is a disconnect there. We (Westerners) praise Muslims, yet we seek to impose our values on them. Perhaps it is justified to do so on basis of invidual rights, but it is simply madness to do it while simultaneously praising their value system that does not recognize the same rights.

    At some point, people have to choose whether to subscribe to this “other cultures should deserve automatic respect” idea or not. We’re trying to have it both ways, and I do think it matters and isn’t just “meaningless diplomacy”. Let us say what we mean in clear words, and mean what we say.

    * As has been said, we live in the world of unthinkables.. Yet somehow I think that if Bush would one day start speaking in judgemental terms on Islam, it would be a far bigger scandal than whole Iraq War, and it’s failures. As long as he has the sense to remain Politically Correct about Islam, there is still hope. A perspective is missing there.

    (added the thing in asterisk)

    Comment by Tuomas — October 17, 2006 @ 7:40 pm | Reply

  31. If I may share another perspective as to why someone like Jack Straw might feel called upon to address the subject of the veiling of females in British society: There is another reason why this is a problem. It has nothing to do with Islam or Muslims. It has nothing to do with conforming, fashion, or racism. It has nothing to do with freedom of expression. It has nothing to do with the individual wishing to live separately from the prevailing customs in observation of their religious beliefs – for example, the Amish in America are greatly respected, though they deliberately reject dress norms, electricity, telephones, modernity. Here’s what the problem REALLY is:

    It is deeply offensive to the most fundamental feeling of people in free societies to see other people openly oppressed. We know it happens in various ways to many people in many places, including our own – but when it happens it upsets us. To see degradation of another human being worn publicly and held up as a virtue of some sort is simply sickening to us.

    (So, by the way is Paris Hilton and her ilk – who have no excuse whatsoever, their degradation being entirely self-generated rather than culturally imposed).

    It may be a cultural norm elsewhere to mutilate the genitals of little girls, and considered a virtue; that is not the case here. The custom must be observed elsewhere, not in this society. It may be a cultural virtue to sell off daughters in marriage to strangers, but that is not the case here, and it becomes something that people must do in private -not on the street. It may be a cultural norm for men to have four wives – but polygamy is unlawful here, and disgusting to the majority of citizens. People may freely engage in this sort of arrangement elsewhere. It may be perfectly acceptable to beat one’s wife (wives) or kill one’s daughters (“Honor” killing, I believe the term is) but here these things are crimes – assault and murder. They may not be practised, accepted and excused here.

    Imagine if you will some reversal of experience regarding the veiling of females: what if people, for religious reasons, wore men’s clothing designed to expose the testicles, that women’s clothing bare the breasts? Would we not all find this appalling? If you were forced to see it on the streets or in public transportation or to know your children were exposed to it in schoolrooms from their teachers, would you not, finally, no matter how much you wish to be sympathetic and tolerant, say something?

    The dehumanization of women is obscene to us. To deliberately throw it in the faces of one’s neighbors does more than separate – it’s offensive. If you are in our countries, you are free to act as you wish in your homes – something that is not the case, I believe, in many of the countries that promote the subjugation of women as a virtue. If people are going to emigrate to free societies, they must understand that they are guests and conduct themselves accordingly, at least in shared public life. Or, live elsewhere. I cannot help but wonder what it is that attracts immigrants to places for which they have such contempt. Please, be happy, perhaps somewhere else.

    Jack Straw finally said something. It’s worth listening to. If it is unacceptable, perhaps it would be better, and people would be happier, occupying some country whose customs towards females are more in keeping with their comfort zone.

    Comment by Maggie — October 20, 2006 @ 10:36 am | Reply

  32. In the name of “modernism”….ah! What a lame excuse to stop us from wearing hijab.

    ~Lis

    Comment by Tudung — April 2, 2009 @ 2:17 pm | Reply

  33. Can one be a feminist and still be totally racist and imperialist, come bear your white persons burden, we decided the wording of the old phrase was sexist white woman can carry burdens of being superior to all others as well. Isn’t it pretty racist to assume the US and Western Europe are the international good guys and the most best freest places on Earth that all societies must strive for and that it is somehow noble they look down on the ways of people who came to their country to be laborers for them, that notion used to be very much wrapped up in religion, but now apparently bombs will be dropped people will be segregated and entire cultures and peoples will be uprooted and destroyed in the name of womens rights gay rights and freedom, things that don’t even exist fully in these societies anyway. Its not deeply offensive in “free societies” to see people oppressed. If profanity’s not supposed to be on here sorry but that’s bullshit. First of all who is more oppressed? The young woman in the library of a college writing her essay, who can spend half an hour explaining her faith and why she wears her veil, or the homeless person begging for change, the unemployed and poorly educated young man destined for prison, the 15 year old girl who is a street prostitute because she has no family or way to support herself in a rich and “free” country. How about the Roma people. It would seem most “free” Europeans can’t stand to see them all right. Guess the way you he said it really hits the nail on the head, these free societies like to put people who aren’t in ghettos and prisons. That Muslim woman has some pretty conservative beliefs about things I don’t agree with but she is an intelligent person who can have whatever beliefs she wants. How dare someone tell her she can’t wear her scarf if she wants too. She is not being “escorted” by a man, she is a student like anyone else, I guess you are suggesting she is being oppressed by the scarf because it makes her look different, so everyone should conform to fit in and not get picked on. she could take that thing off once she got on the bus like many girls who exercise their “freedom” to put on different clothes once out of view of their parents. Not all the Muslim women at my school wear a hijab, from my observation the Muslim women at my school both look and act very dignified, they seem like true feminists. Somehow they even seem more like feminists than that chain smoking tattooed died hair “radical” feminist girl I also know. She has the right to be the way she wants to be too but I Can’t help but think she looks like a train wreck and before you call me a sexist I would think that about a man dressed that way does too, looks matter. From what I have heard the Quoran does want women to cover their hair in public but also gives women the right to own property and businesses, get divorced if they want too, and condems violence by husbands against wives. Back to the young woman I know, she is certainly not as oppressed as a homeless person but she does get teachers who are rude and unhelpful to her and it probably has to do with the violent anti Muslim sentiment. I am not the first person to say this, sometimes feminists get so focused on their personal issues, usually the issues of white middle class women, that they fail to see other things that are happening in the world. Muslims are being attacked, they are being made scapegoats and for that matter so are the Roma people of Europe and the Latinos and Blacks in America. Is Jack straw and people who agree with him suggesting women and men must dress the exact same way. Are they suggesting that following a religious belief of your own free will is to be oppressed, should people like that be put in reeducation camps by the benevolent and free society, what about Christian nuns? How is this piece of cloth a barrier to modernism anyway, I am pretty sure it would fit just find underneath an astronaut’s helmet and the female president of Pakistan led a powerful nation with one on her head. What if things had turned out differently and Europeans were seeking work in Middle Eastern and African nations which were the world powers, I would respect their decision to not wear a veil if they didn’t want to even if more enlightened Muslim women told them they should.

    Comment by Bryce — March 21, 2011 @ 1:00 am | Reply


RSS feed for comments on this post. TrackBack URI

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Create a free website or blog at WordPress.com.

%d bloggers like this: