Wednesday, March 25, 2009

This is why I don't like to see women in a burkha.

 At first blush this may sound a lot like xenophobia  but in fairness  I don't think its that simple.  It perhaps doesn't shine the most flattering light on me but when I see a woman in a burkha its mystifying and more than a little frustrating.   

I wouldn't suggest that Muslim women shouldn't be allowed to wear a burkha  but I think its worth wondering why they would choose to de-individualize themselves in a  country that affords them the freedom not to because I don't think its just another of a series of innocuous choices but obviously an unbelievably overt symbol of paternalistic oppression that is largely tolerated among those of my political ilk in the name diversity. 


  1. I struggle a lot with this, but ultimately my take on it is that it's a cultural issue rooted in a culture to which I don't belong. And if they honestly choose to wear it, it's their right and I would no more want to force them NOT to wear it than I would want them to force me TO wear it. I have been more-or-less forced to cover my hair and wear ridiculously long, loose clothes and I will tell you, the novelty wore off fast.
    I speak from a sort of laughable level of credibility - my experience is narrow but I also think it's more than the average american. I've talked to a lot of Islamic women about hijab.
    The main thing I learned is that it is frequently seen as sort of a status symbol of your devotion to your faith. I also learned that it is a point of pride to represent one's culture in a foreign land. I get it. I mean, I get the concept. I don't get ever wanting to wear a full burka, but they probably don't get why I wear high heels and false eyelashes on occasion, which is possibly just as devoid of actual logic.

  2. Well, high heels and false eyelashes are hot.....

    Lacy is right of course and for what its worth Catholic Nuns in full habit kinda freaked me out for the same reason too. Being naturally more pessimistic than most I'd say the cultural thing while true just indicts the culture along with the participating individual. Honor killings and clitoral castration are cultural as well. Now obviously Im drawing extreme comparisons but it seems to me that its part of the same linear narrative that bullies women into denying their full person-hood and at the same time making them responsible for controlling male sexuality. Onerous double duty I think.