From a Great Post on Burqas

From a really great post on the pernicious nature of burqas  and why they should be banned:

Liberals have tried to turn this into a human rights issue, that we should have the right to wear whatever we want. First of all, this is an extremely disingenuous position for liberals to take, since they support a capitalist system which most definitely does not give people the right to wear whatever they want; if they were serious about such a position, they would be advocating a ban on corporate-imposed clothing and uniforms as well. . .

Patriarchy is the real issue under question. Women are told that they must wear these cloth tombstones because men are such beasts that they will rape women who show their face in public. This is merely a fanatical version of gallantry, where men take it upon themselves to “protect” women from non-existing dangers, repressing women’s freedom in the process. . .

Some people dismiss these concerns as “cute.” I am not sure how being outraged against extremist patriarchal hate speech is “cute.” The patriarchy needs to be exterminated. You may argue with my methods, and that’s fine. You may argue that it is not the State’s role to ban such clothing, and I agree with you completely. However, I still think it is better for the State to ban them than for the State to not ban them, in the same way that I’d rather the State ban murder than not ban murder (sadly, they don’t, at least not consistently).

I have to mention that the post’s author has political convictions that are very different from mine in many respects. However, when he’s right, he’s right. Pseudo-liberals who advocate tolerance for one of the greatest symbols of female humiliation and subjection are nothing but woman-haters. They defend burqas because they believe that it’s not a big deal to sacrifice women’s dignity and freedom for a specter of some imaginary multi-culturalist paradise.

33 thoughts on “From a Great Post on Burqas”

  1. I agree with everything said about the terrible nature of the Burqa – however you still have to deal with a women who say with all apparent sincerity and conviction that they want to wear full veils as part of their religion. In a free state they have a right to do whatever damn silly thing they want to do in the practice of their religion as long as it doesn’t harm anyone else – and of course they must remove their veil if they need to be identified.

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    1. There is no religion that requires the wearing of a burqa. There is also no need for people who are so religious to leave their very religious homes and move to secular states.

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  2. Here goes again. . . some women wear garments like this because they are concerned about what men think of them. Some wear them because they want to, for a variety of reasons, and don’t care what men think or don’t think (in fact, some may wear them contrary to the wishes of their husbands, for example). Just like some women wear miniskirts because they think this will make men find them attractive and they will catch a rich husband to support them for the rest of their lives, and some women wear them because they want to, and don’t care what men (or women) think or don’t think. The presence or absence of a burqa or miniskirt or any item of clothing does not tell you about the extent of one’s support for the patriarchy, and banning them will not help end it. This is why a burqa ban is pointless, not any of the bizarre reasons assumed by that post.

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    1. So you think a burqa is just a fashion statement? It has no meaning attached to it? 🙂 I’d agree if people wore them intermittently with, say, miniskirts. 🙂

      “banning them will not help end it”

      -I’m all for trying and seeing.

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      1. No, I think it has a great deal of different and sometimes contradictory meanings attached to it, just like other items of clothing. Only sometimes is it a fashion statement :-). Therefore, banning it based on one meaning makes no sense to me. For example, I am not for the banning of miniskirts because one of their meanings is “women wear them to be attractive to men”. Actually, it is possible to wear a hijab and a miniskirt (accomplished via leggings so no skin is showing, although sometimes they are flesh-colored or close to it) and I have seen this.

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        1. You are the first person I know who is suggesting that there is no meaning in burqas and people wear them on a whim. 🙂 Do you have an explanation for why men never inconvenience themselves in this way?

          I’m sorry to say I don’t find this position convincing because it would seem like a reasonable person would need a very powerful reason to drag around this bulky, inconvenient thing that prevents you from moving or seeing.

          As for mini-skirts, for heterosexual women there is nothing offensive or humiliating or gender-specific in wanting to attract potential sexual partners. Since men reveal their legs just as much in our culture to attract women, nobody can claim this has anything to do with gender.

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  3. Men reveal their legs only to keep cool, as far as I know. I have never known a woman who says she finds men’s legs in any way attractive, and although I have a fat belly, I have a ballet dancer’s legs

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    1. No, let’s not generalize about women this way! Maybe some are still wary of saying it, but huge numbers believe that the beauty of men’s legs is a crucial part of their sex appeal.

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  4. Some people do, indeed, wear them on a whim, although this is rare in my experience. My argument is that individuals wear them for specific reasons (generally to project a specific social identity), but when you look at these reasons and identities across individuals, they are certainly not always in support of the patriarchy and are so varied as to mean nothing. Therefore, I see no point in the ban. I am not sure convenience is what motivates anyone’s clothing choices entirely (for example, I find make-up inconvenient, but I wear it to look older when I’m teaching, or dressed up when I go out, or to show up on stage dancing). However, if you would like examples of men modifying their dress in potentially inconvenient ways I would say these range from always covering one’s legs and chest, to wearing long flowing robes, to always covering one’s head (and even, sometimes, one’s face) with a scarf (a different style than a woman would, to be sure, but the same amount of fabric/bulk etc.,) I am also not against miniskirts or attracting members of the opposite sex, I just chose miniskirts as another example of a garment that is sometimes deemed (not by you, and wrongly in my opinion) as supporting the patriarchy.

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    1. So all of these people who link the concepts of burqa and “modesty” are what? Lying? Confused?

      “My argument is that individuals wear them for specific reasons (generally to project a specific social identity),”

      -Exactly. Projecting a specifically female social identity all the time – unless we are talking about people who don burqas on one day and low-cut jeans on another – is oppressive, patriarchal and wrong. Feminism is all about the fact that having a certain set of genitals should not carry any other kind of meaning or result in any kind of social identity. Subjecting exclusively women to any sort of practice is exclusionary and wrong.

      “However, if you would like examples of men modifying their dress in potentially inconvenient ways I would say these range from always covering one’s legs and chest, to wearing long flowing robes, to always covering one’s head (and even, sometimes, one’s face) with a scarf (a different style than a woman would, to be sure, but the same amount of fabric/bulk etc.”

      -Where exactly are you seeing all this geographically? Because the men who string burqaed women around on leashes are all half-naked and love ogling other women.

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      1. So all of these people who link the concepts of burqa and “modesty” are what? Lying? Confused?
        –No, this is one meaning that is used, it’s just not the only one. Of course “modesty” is promoted without a burqa as well. My whole point is that people wear burqas for different reasons, not one united reason/identity.

        -Exactly. Projecting a specifically female social identity all the time – unless we are talking about people who don burqas on one day and low-cut jeans on another – is oppressive, patriarchal and wrong. Feminism is all about the fact that having a certain set of genitals should not carry any other kind of meaning or result in any kind of social identity. Subjecting exclusively women to any sort of practice is exclusionary and wrong.
        –I don’t think I understand this point. Clothing is different for men and women in all societies I am familiar with. For example, in the United States, a skirt is an exclusively female garment, and a man who wears one is assumed to be trying to look female. Should women not be allowed to wear skirts all the time because it projects female? Even clothing shared between men and women (such as jeans) is usually styled differently. I absolutely agree that one’s genitals should not determine one’s social identity, I just don’t quite understand the connection as you have explained it here.

        -Where exactly are you seeing all this geographically? Because the men who string burqaed women around on leashes are all half-naked and love ogling other women.
        –The United States, Egypt, Morocco, Dubai, Palestine, plus TV from other countries. I have never seen a woman on a leash or a woman in a burqa with a half-naked man. Ogling women is common everywhere I have been, and seems to be independent of one’s marital status and/or the dress of one’s wife.

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        1. “–I don’t think I understand this point. Clothing is different for men and women in all societies I am familiar with. For example, in the United States, a skirt is an exclusively female garment, and a man who wears one is assumed to be trying to look female. Should women not be allowed to wear skirts all the time because it projects female?”

          -That’s exactly what the post I linked to is saying. Gender-specific clothing needs to go. It started to already. I saw men in pareo-styled skirts several times already. I believe this tendency will grow and develop in the future.

          “Even clothing shared between men and women (such as jeans) is usually styled differently. ”

          – Not any more. Tons of couples wear the same clothes if they happen to be of the same size. When my husband visited me once and was stuck without clothes, he wore my long skirt all the time and loved it. I had trouble taking it away from him because I like it, too. 🙂 In no way did this put his gender identity in question for anybody who knew of this.

          “–The United States, Egypt, Morocco, Dubai, Palestine, plus TV from other countries.”

          -I agree that people in Egypt, Dubai and Palestine should wear whatever they please. Just like I will respect their traditions if I decide to travel there, they should respect ours.

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          1. If clothing is not gender-based in the future, that would be great. At this point in time though, I think you would have to ban most skirt styles along with burqas, as well as high stilettos, and many other styles of clothing. There is no reason to single out the burqa, as it could become non-gender based just like any other currently gender-based garment. Personally, I see no way in which covering one’s body disrespects American traditions, so I don’t see how the garment is a problem in the United States. Furthermore, you would not be required to wear a burqa in any of the countries I mentioned. In fact, most people would think you were very strange if you traveled there and did so.

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            1. ‘ At this point in time though, I think you would have to ban most skirt styles along with burqas, as well as high stilettos, and many other styles of clothing. There is no reason to single out the burqa, as it could become non-gender based just like any other currently gender-based garment.”

              -So you basically agree with the post I quoted? Then what are we arguing about? 🙂

              ‘Personally, I see no way in which covering one’s body disrespects American traditions, so I don’t see how the garment is a problem in the United States.”

              -The burqa disrespects the feminist achievements of this country.

              ” Furthermore, you would not be required to wear a burqa in any of the countries I mentioned. In fact, most people would think you were very strange if you traveled there and did so.”

              -I heard there are many places where women are forced to cover their heads. I find this beyond humiliating, which is precisely why I’d never go to such a place. If I did go and started protesting against this deeply demeaning practice, I would be in the wrong. Don’t you agree?

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              1. I can’t actually find the link to the full post you are quoting so I have not read the whole thing. I do not agree with the quotes, which seem to support banning the burqa because it is a symbol of patriarchy. If you define patriarchy as gender-based clothing, then I think you need to ban a lot more than the burqa. To me, it seems like you are singling out the burqa as representing patriarchy while other gender-based clothing does not. I agree with you that the best way is to break the link between gender and all types of clothing, but that has not happened yet.

                One can engage in feminist actions while wearing a burqa just as one can engage in feminist actions wearing other gender-based clothing so I don’t see how it disrespects feminist achievements. One can also engage in non-feminist actions without a burqa or while wearing non gender-based cothing. The opposites apply to this as well. Individuals’ feminism is generally not predictable from their clothing in my experience.

                The only places I am aware of where you are required to cover your head are Saudi Arabia and Afghanistan, which are places I’ve never been. Male dress is also restricted in these countries. Covering the head is not required in any of the countries I listed above. Considering that many women and men in Saudi Arabia and Afghanistan don’t agree with this legal requirement, I think you’d be fine in protesting it. As it happens though, I don’t think you can travel for tourism to either of those countries, so you are out of luck 🙂

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              2. “Considering that many women and men in Saudi Arabia and Afghanistan don’t agree with this legal requirement, I think you’d be fine in protesting it. ”

                -Absolutely not. This would be completely condescending and wrong. Do you really think that it’s OK for me as an outsider to go to a place and start imposing my values there??

                “One can engage in feminist actions while wearing a burqa”

                🙂 🙂 This reminds me of a blog by “a radical feminist housewife” I once came across online. 🙂

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              3. I don’t see how you’d be able to impose your values there or anywhere, but I see nothing wrong with you expressing them (although you might be arrested in SA and Afghanistan). How is expressing one’s values condescending? I can see how if you don’t know a lot about the place it might seem ignorant, but I don’t see how it is condescending. Is your “Through the Eyes of a Stranger” series supposed to be condescending?

                I actually think that in terms of value systems, it is incorrect to assign them by national identity, as in every country I have been to there has been quite the variety of values.

                Example of a feminist action while wearing a burqa: Refusing to be a housewife after your kids are born and going out to work instead (a friend of mine, Egypt). Let me know if you have any other feminist actions in mind, and I’ll let you know if I know anyone who’s done them wearing a burqa.

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              4. ” Is your “Through the Eyes of a Stranger” series supposed to be condescending?”

                -If I start posting it on other people’s spaces, absolutely. Then, they should ban me. 🙂

                “Refusing to be a housewife after your kids are born and going out to work instead”

                -Refusing whom? Millions of women in my country work day and night to keep their jobless lords and masters. I don’t see anything inherently feminist about that.

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  5. I agree with all the points that you have raised, except the fact that the burqa should be banned. I would be very happy if no Muslim women chose to or were forced to wear a burqa but I believe that banning the burqa particularly in a Western country is absolutely the wrong way to go about it. Unless a Muslim government does it, banning the burqa will only have a polarizing effect, and will make the burqa a symbol of rebellion among the moderate Muslims. We don’t want that to happen.

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    1. Fear of antagonizing religious fanatics has never taken any country to a good place. Look what being “tolerant” and respectful to Christian Fundamentalists is doing to this country.

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  6. “Patriarchy is the real issue under question.”

    Here is the BULLSHIT that some people like to spread. When something is clearly a Radical Religionist thing, they try to pass it off as a gender thing. And of course there is always someone who bite’s, hook, line and sinker.

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      1. The thing is that there is no fundamentalist under the sun who isn’t, at the same time, passionately anti-women. You just can’t separate the two.

        I am aftaid that is not true, either, Clarissa. I think some Dianic Witches qualify as fundamentalists who are not anti-woman at all. They are sometimes anti-man, to be sure.

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  7. bloggerclarissa :
    You are the first person I know who is suggesting that there is no meaning in burqas and people wear them on a whim.

    that’s not true. I have suggested that I would like an opportunity to wear one, so I can come out wearing old, comfortable and/or mismatched clothing underneath. Or go someplace where I won’t be recognized. Or just to explore people’s reactions. See if anyone tries to save me. 😉

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  8. I find some merit to the idea that people should be able to wear whatever they damn well please. Practically speaking, however, any clothing which covers ones face could easily be used as a means of concealing ones identity for criminal purposes and so is problematic.

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  9. Do you really limit your opinions of the US as an immigrant to your blog? I really don’t see why you would do this or how it would be condescending to express these opinions elsewhere. Hacking someone else’s blog to liberate them from their misguided ideas and post for them would be beyond condescending, and wouldn’t change their ideas anyway, but are you actually able to do that? 🙂

    Refusing the fact that she could stay at home without any social consequences is what I meant. She’s not keeping her husband, who has his own job.

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    1. “Do you really limit your opinions of the US as an immigrant to your blog”

      -Of course. I don’t approach people at parties and tell them, “You guys are so weird with your paper plates and plastic glasses.” I am autistic but not that autistic. 🙂 🙂 During parties, I pretend that eating a hot dog from aplastic plate is the most normal thing in the world. 🙂

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  10. What if the subject comes up though? I mean, it would also be strange to walk up to someone and say “Oh, I just love that you guys use paper plates and plastic glasses!” so I’m not sure the criticism is the problem, I think it’s that unless maybe you are commenting on some unusual aspect of the design, discussing tableware is not a standard conversation starter in the U.S. The only way in which I can imagine this as condescending is if you assumed all Americans liked /did this or that it would be impossible for Americans to understand why you think this is strange or that they would immediately be forced to come around to your viewpoint or that everyone who uses paper plates and plastic glasses for their parties shares all the same values. Not true, just like it would be wrong to assume things about individuals/nationalities based on burqas.

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    1. If the subject came up, I’d give a forced smile and go to the bathroom. 🙂 Even here on the blog I’m surprised that people are dealing with my cultural difference as well as they are.

      Come to think of it, I recently had an instance of sharing a culturally-specific thing that really taught me a lesson. I was sick, and some colleagues noticed it and started offering medication suggestions. I was in a weakened state, so I let it slip that I prefer to look at the psychological causes of illness. I also mentioned that I improved my vision and got rid of glasses this way. You should have seen the reaction. I felt like I’d shared that I’m into voodoo and sacrifice goats in my office. Mind you, I never criticized anybody’s pill-taking or suggested that the American fascination with gobbling down dangerous chemicals is very weird to me. I just shared my own experience with alternative ways of treating MY condition. And my colleagues are highly educated people who are used to spending time with folks from other cultures. I can only imagine how a regular Southern Illinoisian would react. S/he’d probably have a fit of apoplexy right there.

      So no, never again.

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  11. I think that banning burqas is counterproductive. It raises the burqa to a symbol of Islam instead of a local custom. Those women forced to wear the burqa (by husbands or fathers) are unable to leave the house. Any lasting cultural change would have to arise from conflict within the Islamic community.

    Prohibiting the use of burqas while driving, operating heavy machinery, or in law courts is pragmatic. One needs full visual fields for safety. The courts personnel, the defendant or plaintiff if any, and the jury if any need to be able to identify the normally burqa’ed woman plaintiff or defendant or witness.

    Burqas in many Islamic cultures arose as imitations of nearby practice by another group – the Byzantine Christians providing the original model. Prosperous families kept women in seclusion and made the women wear concealing burqa-like garb outside of the family compound. Female seclusion and burqa use was evidence that the family was wealthy enough that the women didn’t have to work as farmers or common laborers. Servants and poor farmers did not wear burqas. In a society where burqas are not obligatory, husbands and fathers gained status for not only having “virtuous” women but for being able to keep them in the manner of the wealthy.

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