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Exasperating: Hijab Day

Hijab-day-a-Sciences-Po-sur-place-la-methode-fait-debat

“The Hijab Day event was held (last week) in the wake of Prime Minister Manuel Valls’ statement that he wished to ban all forms of religious headscarves at French universities.”

Just exasperating. Although I usually find him annoying, I have to agree with Bernard Henri Levy who said “Hijab Day at Sc Po. When will there be a sharia day? Stoning? Slavery?” Don’t get me wrong, I believe adults should be allowed to wear whatever they want on their heads. We can’t and shouldn’t try to regulate head gear. It’s technically impossible. And it would probably annoy the Queen:

See original image

BUTto support and justify a practice designed to oppress and control women, as is the case in Islam, is beyond imbecility.

 

 

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22 comments on “Exasperating: Hijab Day

  1. vbigelow
    April 26, 2016

    I agree.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. clubschadenfreude
    April 26, 2016

    Judaism, Christianity, Islam, all religions based on the same thing: their god can’t quite get things right so half of humanity must cover itself to avoid offending the thing that made them. Perhaps the most bizarre of this is when orthodox Jewish women cover their hair with a wig to fulfill this god nonsense. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sheitel

    Liked by 2 people

    • Completely absurd! I remember seeing in NY once (outside a synagogue) a whole group of Jewish women all wearing wigs that were nearly identical. Sandy brown/blonde with a bob cut. Very odd.

      Like

      • clubschadenfreude
        April 26, 2016

        heh. that reminds me of one day my husband and I were out for lunch. where we live is amazing segregated, though no one really admits it. On one side of the river is the city and us liberals and people whose ancestors lived around 20 degrees of the equator, and on the other is deepest darkest suburbia, where everyone is WASP. We went to a restaurant on the “white shore” (yep, called that by the locals), and the two of us, dark haired and blue eyed, were the most ethnic people there. Every other woman was blond with a bob cut and every man was blond and had ex-high school jock written all over him. like being at a bund meeting or in the Stepford Wives.

        Like

  3. acflory
    April 26, 2016

    I have to be honest and say I’m really conflicted on this one. I’ve read the arguments by Muslim women that they /want/ to wear the hijab and even the burqa, that it makes them feel safe, that they don’t like being looked at by strangers.

    In that context, my dislike of the practice is completely irrelevant. But I do dislike it. Just as I dislike seeing nuns in wimples or young girls flashing their boobs.

    Individuals should be able to wear anything they like, but I hate it when it’s always women who are denatured to please a guy or a male ‘god’. And I’m not even a feminist. 😦

    Liked by 1 person

    • Personally I think the burqa should be off the table on grounds of public safety. We don’t allow people to walk into banks wearing balaclavas, right? Same thing.
      The head scarf has to remain legal- otherwise we also have to ban hats- and then what do we do about wigs?
      But the thing is the last thing we should be doing is affirming or supporting the practice. The implication of a woman having to be modest is that she has to change her behaviour because of the desires of men/religion. That puts women squarely in second class citizenhood.

      Liked by 2 people

      • acflory
        April 27, 2016

        ‘The implication of a woman having to be modest is that she has to change her behaviour because of the desires of men/religion.’

        Yes! That’s the start of the slippery slope that leads to ‘If she wasn’t [insert action/location] she wouldn’t have been raped.’

        Like

  4. Hariod Brawn
    April 26, 2016

    Liked by 4 people

  5. inspiredbythedivine1
    April 26, 2016

    I’m in favor of making men who insist that women wear a hijab being made to wear large pink dunce caps. Hell, they should be permanently bolted to their heads. This way, I, and others, would know to stay far away from them when they’re walking down the street.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. Clare Flourish
    April 27, 2016

    Hijabs are not “modest” enough anyway- straight men find women sexy whatever they wear. Rather they are an instrument of control- women needing accompanied by a male relative, women not wearing shoes which make noises, clothing which conceals the eyes. No control is ever enough, either.

    But in the West, the dynamic is different, and Muslim women may choose the hijab to show difference from unbelieving society. It is not oppressive as it is in Saudi Arabia.

    Like

  7. ladyofthecakes
    April 27, 2016

    The only thing that banning head scarves will achieve is to keep muslim women out of universities, the world of (non-domestic) work and greater civic society. It plays right into the hands of the oppressors who want to keep them tied to the house.

    I think we should be pragmatic about this and let people wear what they choose. We need to encourage women to actively participate in all areas of public life, not confine them to a tiny world just because their attire is “unacceptable”.

    Reform must come from within the muslim community, from muslim women (and men!) themselves. And for that, education, first and foremost, and also personal and professional engagement with all manner of people beyond the muslim world/community, are essential.

    By pushing, banning and pointing the finger at already beleaguered women, who, as usual, are trying and failing to please everybody, we are just making matters worse 😦

    Liked by 2 people

    • It’s just not legally viable. The reason they can enforce “no religious symbols” for government employees is because of the neutrality doctrine. Private adult citizens are free to express themselves as they choose. Whether it’s a headscarf or this:

      Liked by 2 people

      • ladyofthecakes
        April 27, 2016

        I like that headwear… much more waterproof than a scarf… I think it could catch on!

        As much as I’m in favour of secularism, I also think that not allowing government employees to wear headscarves is the wrong approach, for the aforementioned reasons. If woman, who is already in a socially and economically precarious position, is made to choose between being accepted by an employer or her family/community, the latter is going to win out.

        Although I personally agree with the sentiment of the principle of keeping religion out of public life, it does more harm than good in this case – it’s playing out in favour of the oppressors.

        Liked by 2 people

      • Except if you make an allowance for Muslims, then the crazy Christians come along (as they have in America) saying their religious rights allow them not to serve people that don’t live according to the tenets of their beliefs…

        Like

      • ladyofthecakes
        April 28, 2016

        We should just ban crazy people… unfortunately, the sane ones are much easier to single out once you put headscarves on them.

        Liked by 1 person

  8. Really nice comment Lady of the Lakes.

    Like

  9. agrudzinsky
    April 27, 2016

    On the other hand, opposing oppression by forcing women to do or not to do something is sounds counterproductive, to say the least.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Curious and Curiouser
    April 28, 2016

    Yeah. It’s a tough one. I teach women wearing niqab sometimes. I find it unsettling. I also supervised a Masters student a couple of years ago from Saudi Arabia – and I’m pretty sure my red stockings and high heels were the reason that he would never meet face to face with me again. These are not my values.
    But I’m kind of struck here by the difference in what appears to be commonly held French liberal values: i.e we will not support what we deem to be oppressive to women and the default Australian lib position: we don’t have any right to dictate what people wear, even if it conflicts with what we think is right.
    I’m simplifying of course – there are left wing Australians who oppose niqab, hijab & burkhas.
    I don’t have an answer. I’ve put on a burkha just to see what it’s like – it felt stifling and limited my vision. The hijab on the other hand: I liked it. You’re probably aware that one branch of feminism supports hijab because it actually protects women; it allows them to publicly identify with their faith and allows them to be seen as other than sexual objects. I can sympathise with this position – and am mindful that only thirty years ago I was taught by a bunch of Catholic nuns in very similar attire. Religious robes make sense to me.
    In the end, I probably would support the side that says we don’t get to dictate what people wear. I’m not overly fond of the shorts that look like underpants that a lot of female undergrads wear either. We can have discussions about appropriateness, but I don’t want to ban ugly shorts (although boat shoes and leopard print pants – maybe ;-)). This is the default liberal Aussie position, I suppose. But I do think it’s wrong for a government to actually ban certain attire – certainly goes against the values of a liberal democratic society.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. acflory
    April 28, 2016

    I agree in principle with everything you say, except perhaps for this:
    ‘allows them to be seen as other than sexual objects’.

    Here in Melbourne, we seem to be developing a taste for the hijab [even amongst non Muslim women] because some of them look so awesome in them. I mean seriously beautiful.

    Those particular women would probably look beautiful in a wimple and a hair shirt as well, but fashion has always been influenced by the idea of beauty rather than any realistic expectation that ‘real’ women would look good in something – e.g. piano legs and mini skirts.

    So if the hijab becomes a weird sort of fashion statement, where does that leave the modesty element?

    Liked by 1 person

  12. agrudzinsky
    April 30, 2016

    There you go. I think, I should go and buy a hijab for myself so that women stop objectify me.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. theoccasionalman
    May 1, 2016

    Well, that’s not the only reason. I’ve met a few intelligent, feminist Muslim women who insist on their right to wear hijab. It can be a powerful expression of identity, kind of like me wishing I had a rainbow tattooed on my forehead so people would know not to air their bigotry at me. I’m not saying oppression isn’t a reason in some cases, just that it’s not always the only reason.

    Like

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This entry was posted on April 26, 2016 by in activism, life and tagged , , , .
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