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Oh, this banning veils nonsense. Tell me if there's something I'm… - B. Henderson Asher's Moments of Mirth [entries|archive|friends|userinfo]
Listen in, listen Ian!

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[Jan. 27th, 2010|11:17 am]
Listen in, listen Ian!
Oh, this banning veils nonsense. Tell me if there's something I'm missing here:

Let's assume that of Muslim women who wear full face veils, between 0% and 100% are not doing so vountarily, but because oppressive male relations are enforcing it upon them, forbidding them to leave the house unless veiled. I've no idea of the numbers, but it's probably fair to say that it's more than none and less than all. Call it x%, and call the remainder who are voluntarily veiled y%.

Now enforce a ban. Immediately, we've upset the y%. Ah, but the benefit for the x% will be huge! They'll be liberated, so sorry and all that y%, but the greater good and that.

Now, let's play a game I enjoy called You Are The Oppressive Male Muslim. It's a bit like You Are The Ref but without pictures, because I'm rotten at art. And at work.

Q1. You exercise a hideous level of control over your wife, only allowing her to leave the house draped in a veil from head to toe. The government bans her from wearing this. Do you:

a. Become enlightened overnight, allowing her to go where she wants, see who she pleases, dress as she likes etc?

b. Continue to exercise control, effectively forbidding her from leaving the house ever?


I think the answer's more likely to be b, isn't it? Obviously I'm not saying that the status quo here is any good, but as a proposed solution this seems so counter-productive I'm astonished that apparently sane people are suggesting otherwise.
linkReply

Comments:
[User Picture]From: tonight_we_fly
2010-01-27 11:32 am (UTC)
I sent three questions in to You Are The Ref last year, because they ask for contributions, and every scenario is post scripted with thanks to **** for the question. Every week I see them publish ideas which are almost all considerably more shit than my suggestions, but I never see mine reach print. A little bit more of me dies every Friday morning when the new ones appears on the website.

Have you started trying to persaude S that she really wants to join you at Indietracks this year yet?
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[User Picture]From: offensive_mango
2010-01-27 11:38 am (UTC)
But you'll never see a veiled woman on the street again, so there is no visible problem. And that's the most important thing. After all, we all used that off-button when news about Haiti got uncomfortable, amirite? This is like our permanent off button and we never never never have to think about it again.
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[User Picture]From: chiller
2010-01-27 12:01 pm (UTC)
This post should win some kind of award.
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[User Picture]From: shereenb
2010-01-27 12:07 pm (UTC)
I can't see anyway at all that answer a would be the one they'd go for.
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[User Picture]From: carsmilesteve
2010-01-27 12:12 pm (UTC)
i totally agree. found one quote interesting in the article though:

Only a "tiny minority" of Muslims - a couple of thousand - wore the niqab in the UK, and "most of them were white Western converts who you could not say were quiet, suppressed women," she said.

this is rubbish, i see fully niqabed (if you will) women all the time, clearly from original muslim ethnic groups, i think she's trying to sweep the issue under the carpet a bit here...
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[User Picture]From: yiskah
2010-01-27 12:37 pm (UTC)
I'm fairly sure that a large proportion of niqabed women you see in London aren't actually resident in the UK, which may make a difference.
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[User Picture]From: carsmilesteve
2010-01-27 01:14 pm (UTC)
oh, i suppose, but i see them round my way, not just in town. "a couple of thousand" still seems an under-estimate...
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[User Picture]From: strictlytrue
2010-01-27 02:06 pm (UTC)
It's a quote from Yvonne Ridley, who is 2x mental. You seriously can't believe anything she says.
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[User Picture]From: carsmilesteve
2010-01-27 02:09 pm (UTC)
yeah, i thought she was a bit suspect...
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[User Picture]From: dr_f_dellamorte
2010-01-27 12:43 pm (UTC)
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/europe/france/7080560/France-moves-closer-to-Muslim-face-veil-ban.html

After reading the above, this looks like the more sensible option - Removal of the veil in places such as passport offices/hospitals etc for security reasons.

If a woman wants to wear a veil (there is, in fact, a girl at work who has just started wearing one by her own choice), then a woman should be allowed to wear a veil. 'because it makes uptight people uncomfortable' should NEVER be a reason to ban anything.

I don't know how many oppressive male muslims there are out there (probably quite a few, as there are oppressive non-muslim males), but all the male muslims I know would be quite happy for their wives to go out without a veil on.

The fact is, it's male oppression that people should be targeting - Targeting what amounts to an item of clothing is frankly a bit ridiculous.
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[User Picture]From: ophe1ia_in_red
2010-01-27 01:54 pm (UTC)
Yes, this is the point, really: this interest in veil-banning, in another one of those sneaky roundabout ways that it tends to happen, is an example of victim-blaming and -punishing.

The perceived problem is the individual treatment of certain women by certain people, and the cultural treatment of those women more generally. Denying those women the ability to determine for themselves whether or not they want to wear a particular garment is not a solution to the problem. Solutions to the problem need to be focused on the people causing it in the first place, not its victims.

I quite agree that there are practical considerations such as security and job requirements (I think that it is unhelpful for a teaching assistant to have her face covered, for example), but as you say, it’s the male oppression that needs to be targeted, not the freedom of the victims of that oppression. It’s arguably just as bad for ‘us’ to decide that the women must not wear the veil as it is for their husbands or fathers to decide that they must.
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[User Picture]From: k425
2010-01-27 01:54 pm (UTC)
I just keep thinking "you're going to stop women being forced to wear something, by forcing them not to wear it. In what way is this better? Dear patriachy: butt out.".

I work in a university. I see Muslim women every day. They wear a variety of clothing. Some are so western they wear their hair loose, and have bare legs in summer. Some wear scarves, some wear full niqab. I suspect that, as they're at university at all, they're not horribly oppressed. They choose to wear what they wear. FFS, let them!

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[User Picture]From: frightened
2010-01-27 03:23 pm (UTC)
I just keep thinking "you're going to stop women being forced to wear something, by forcing them not to wear it. In what way is this better? Dear patriachy: butt out.".

Exactly. For fuck's sake, you cannot liberate people by telling them what to do.
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[User Picture]From: nudejournal
2010-01-27 02:05 pm (UTC)
the french should go further and ban all clothes for women. NOTHING TO HIDE, NOTHING TO FEAR.
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[User Picture]From: strictlytrue
2010-01-27 02:15 pm (UTC)
It's an odd thing for the BBC to put out there, this. Not as stupid and horrendous as their recent "debate" on whether homosexuals should be killed, but still odd. You have to dig quite a way into the article to discover that the Government of the UK have quite explicitly said that they won't ban the wearing of the veil. The only person who is actively calling for any sort of ban in the UK at all is the egregious Alibhai-Brown, presumbably so she can write all about it in her dismal column.

I don't support a ban, but I don't like the veil, at all. It's not so much I find it "unnerving", just that I think it robs the women who wear it of something fundamentally human in day-to-day life: their identity. So much of how we communicate comes through facial expression that it seems unnaturally cruel to have this removed.

And I'm deeply sceptical about the idea that anyone at all actively wants to wander around with what's basically a glorified bag on their head. (Although it is true that one way of making it seem more attractive would be to forbid it.)
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[User Picture]From: nudejournal
2010-01-27 02:26 pm (UTC)
this is because you love to RAPE WOMEN with YOUR EYES
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[User Picture]From: frightened
2010-01-27 03:28 pm (UTC)
It's not so much I find it "unnerving", just that I think it robs the women who wear it of something fundamentally human in day-to-day life: their identity. So much of how we communicate comes through facial expression that it seems unnaturally cruel to have this removed.

See, that's why I'd wear it. I like the idea of chosen, total anonymity. It's one of the reasons I shave my head - anonymity through freakishness. And I'm so sick of hearing about body language - I communicate what I want with my mouth-words. I'd happily eliminate distracting and conflicting signals.

*Shrugs* Your preferred interaction style is not everybody else's preferred interaction style.
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From: strictlytrue
2010-01-27 04:11 pm (UTC)
Fair enough, if you want to be anonymous, that's up to you. Like I say, I'm not supportive of a ban on women wearing veils - it's a daft idea.

But it's a bit misleading to describe human communication through non-verbal cues as "my preferred interaction style". People's facial expressions do play a role in the way in which they communicate. Not necesarily - in fact, not usually - a conflicting one, but one of nuance and tone.
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