Tuesday, February 16, 2010
This is a very sensitive topic, and I am not sure why. People argue that the burqa is merely clothing and that laws restricting what clothing people can wear is against our very fundamental freedom of expression, freedom of religion, not to mention our sexual autonomy.
Let me say only this;
The burqa is NOT merely clothing, it is not just a dress or a costume,
It is a MESSAGE.
It is a message that communicates the subjugation, abuse, oppression, subservience and the demoralizing defeat of women. It is a choice only if there is no reprisal for those who choose not to wear it. It is a choice only if the religion that demands it does not also allow for their husbands to beat them for NOT wearing it. It is a choice only if the final penalty for apostasy was not death.
It is subjugation, and sometimes it is done with consent.
Forget that husbands, fathers, and sharia law can lay very harsh punishments on those women who don't want to wear it.
Forget that even the women who choose this subjugation are indoctrinated in the fear of disobedience.
Forget that those women who choose it are brainwashed from the time that they were little about how it is moral to wear it, and that only immodest women would forgo the tent of oppression that is the burqa.
Forget these things, and lets only think of the few who choose it out of ignorance, and out of a sense of distance from the actual abuses.
Abuses that are alive and well and even accepted and expected in Islam. Genital mutilation, honour killings, domestic abuse, these things are all condoned by Islam and even commanded by Sharia and the Quran. So do we forget all that in deference to the few who "choose" it?
The fact remains that the happy slave is still a slave. Even though the happy slave is merely the one who hasn't tested the boundaries of disobedience, they all know the price that they would pay.
Is it for modesty?
What is modest about wearing a tent? What is modest about making a spectacle of yourself? How can dehumanizing yourself and taking away any sense of individuality be modest? How can wearing it because you are NOT ALLOWED to be seen by other males outside of family be seen as anything but letting yourself be property?
It is a symbol.
A permission to abuse.
A garment that never lets them forget who they belong to,
and a sign of their terrible forced supplication.
It is not a choice in the normal sense of the word. If you had a choice to make with a gun to your head, was it really a choice?
By saying that it is a clothing choice and a religious belief are we not making victims the authors of their own subjugation?
The burqa is a sign of the male domination over women, and one that their religion colours women to accept.
What about the security implications? How can we allow them into banks? How can we allow them to care for our children, or to pick them up at school if the teachers can't even identify them? How can we let them into government buildings if we have no way of knowing who they are? How can we allow them into shops and know that the shopkeepers don't have the luxury of being able to ID their guests?
Would YOU be allowed to do these things in a hockey mask or a nylon stocking?
Then why should THEY be?
I understand that it is not the entire problem, not even close. But if we are to start somewhere, lets start by giving these women back their individuality. For crying out loud, these women are people.
We all know this, lets allow THEM to know it too, by not allowing their religion or their men to take it away from them.