The burqa is a dilemma. This ugly expression of religious contempt for women has no place in modern society.

 

The initial question one has when confronted by this fashion vulgarity is why would anyone want to wear such a hideous thing? There is no convenient or simple answer.

 

The strident defense of the burqa by some apologists begs a deeper question. Why is it that religions need to dictate to their believers what they think, do and wear? Can we allow - or prevent - the normalization of extreme religious beliefs? 

My view in the case of the burqa is that it is both a form of control and a social signaling device.

Although many religions dictate the clothing of women, only islam has a full body and face covering like the burqa.

The burqa is problematic. Undeniably;

  • it is sexist; muslim men have no equivalent; and
  • it isolates muslim women from the greater community and hinders civil participation. In the process it dehumanizes women.

Critics of the burqa argue:

  • it literally covers domestic abuse of muslim women. Muslim community leaders often reject the notion that islam permits violence against women. The fact is some muslims do believe it is permissible to discipline your wife.
  • muslim women are forced to wear it. The greater the religiosity of the muslim woman and her community the less choice she will have in wearing the burqa.
  • it is a security risk. If you doubt this, then try entering a bank or service station wearing a motorbike helmet and see how far you get.

Against this is the view that to ban the burqa would undoubtedly foster or enable further spurious claims of victim-hood by islamists. There is also the practical difficulty in enforcing such a ban. And a ban may lead to less interaction in the general community by muslim women who are forced to, or forced to choose to, stay indoors.

As a signaling device the burqa says many things. To non muslims it says I am different - it says I dont want to belong. It says women are unequal and must be segregated.

To muslim women it says if you dont wear the burqa you are a slut. It says you must be docile and observant and subservient. It is a tool of blackmail and intimidation. Undoubtedly it has been used to justify the sexual assault of non muslim women.

Has there been any greater symbol of the religious subjugation of women in modern times? But what would a ban achieve? It wont change the convictions of islamic zealots and it might alienate the less observant muslim. It will divert attention from addressing the root issue of the normalisation of extreme religious beliefs.

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Women should be allowed to dress how they want....so banning a form of dress is just as oppressive as forcing it.

You don't have to be in Saudi Arabia to be forced to dress a certain way. You don't have to be in Saudi Arabia to not be allowed to leave the house alone...don't believe me? Just ask the millions of women in THIS country who are slaves...

It's not about the clothes.

That is a fair statement as to secular women or even moderately religious women. But as to members of a cult it is not fair. It is debatable whether it is accurate to say those women have "chosen" to don the articles of clothing that scream I am dogshit. 

True, too, that some of the most pious women feel the greatest affront at a ban. But those women have what amounts to Stockholm Syndrome.  If a cult was not mainstream like Islam and you were shocked by the garb of the victims...lets say their clothes had messages written on em...Beat me please...I am worthless...would ya still say it is their choice and that the state has no right to enforce a ban against that clothing?

You make the cases even more strong by pointing to sexism that exists in USA. It is so much worse in Islamic countries. We need to go forward not Trumpwards. 

Belle, it might not be about the clothes IN THIS COUNTRY. FOR YOU.

It might be about the clothes in other countries or for others.

Do tell us what it is about in this country for you.

@Tom

Do tell us what it is about in this country for you.

I don't really understand your question

Belle, TJ's post below explains it well. The opinions many people have depend on what they learned when they were children.

It is not about the clothes. Absolutely.

This is reasonable..as long as the woman has an actual free choice...absent of heavy coercion.

"...wear whatever they want. Period."

Belle, are you coming out as a Libertarian?

LOL how does that make me a Libertarian? I don't honestly know what a Libertarian is.

Belle, Libertarians regard many laws as limits on their personal freedom, such as laws against drug use, gambling, prostitution, et cetera.

They once controlled the Republican Party.

I don't know if that's totally me or not.

Is it 75% you?

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