A political farce?
Isn't it easy for us, as progressive feminists, to view the burqa as a tool used to keep women in check, when in fact we know next to nothing about it? I've read so many articles by young Muslim women who are angrily claiming the right to wear what they want - and if what they want is a burqa, who are we to stop them?
I wouldn't let any man but my boyfriend see me in my underwear and if I feel that strongly about preserving my (bodily) modesty, why shouldn't a Muslim woman want the same for what she considers private between herself and her husband?
Yes, I'm sure that in many cases, a burqa and/or a niqab is ordered by a stern husband or father. But by the same token, many Muslim women of my acquaintance wear their headscarves and niqabs (with or without the burqa) of their own volition - and yes, I have been so nosy as to ask each of them whether they are doing it for themselves or for the men in their lives.
I think the whole idea of the French law is a farce, and an imposition. How can they force a woman to reveal her face when this may well be painfully shaming for her? Many a Christian girl is brought up to believe that she should cover her body modestly; why is a woman wearing a long dress with wrist-length sleeves so different from someone wearing a burqa?
And if we're going to try and force Muslim women to wear less clothing, are we going to somehow stop the idea that a woman wearing revealing clothes is 'asking for it'? Where do we draw the line? Is everyone allowed to wear what they want except those who want to wear a burqa?
Let's be honest - isn't this law more about political expedience than actually wanting to help 'repressed' girls and women? Your point about wage inequality is particularly telling.
Why it should be banned
Watch a woman stoned for adultery wearing the Islamic traditional dress and you begin to understand why it must be banned. It's too easy to kill someone when they look like a bag of nothing than if they look and sound like your mother, your sister.
It also dehumanises the individual by taking away 70% of their ability to communicate ie non verbal communication. As we know in our country , the easiest way to justify exploiting people is to dehumanise them. I cannot see any argument for this form of dress and how would we know if Islamic women are fighting it when they're not even allowed to dress the way they please?
If you cannot determine how you dress how much of a voice are you allowed?
Not the best solution
I agree that banning the burqa is not necessarily the best solution. Yes, I think that wearing one can be interpreted as being enslaved but how is banning it going to help. What we need to consider is the Islamic women who by their very birth into Islam are forced to wear it?
It’s all good and well emancipating women but how does that work when it interferes with their religious beliefs. We are all too often getting caught up in the whole “freedom” of all people, but have we ever bothered to ask the very people we are supposedly trying to help, how they feel about the situation.
It’s really unfortunate that we don’t always look at the bigger picture when we rush into things all self-righteously. This now forces Islamic women in France to chose between the law of the country and their religion and what have the French achieved besides making it near impossible for the Islamic women who live there.
Read Sam Wilson's column on the burqa ban.
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