france considers some misogynist racism

So France is set to ban the burka. So… in the name of protecting women, they are going to harass and fine women. Yay. First of all, where does a country get off thinking they can ban various forms of dress? And how can anyone, remotely attached to ideas of liberalism or whatever, support this? I mean, I know how liberals can (and do, apparently) support this: they think that they can, by force of law, require women to abandon something that they think is oppressing them.

Now, I’m no fan of Islamic law. Or monotheism in general. But seriously. wtf.

12 thoughts on “france considers some misogynist racism”

  1. elegantly put.

    When I was studying in France, I took a class on French immigration taught by an Algerian former journalist. She emphasized how the crazy French obsession with symbols of women’s rights, like clothes, blinds them to the actual rights Middle Eastern and North African women are agitating for, including education and economic justice– shit you cannot get if the country’s dress code means you cannot leave your house.

  2. You know, at some point this year I’m going to buy a burka and wear it for a month. I figure it’ll be interesting both to see how it affects me as a woman, and to see how it affects the people around me. Ideally, I want to wear it in as many situations as possibly, including but not limited to: doing the shopping, going for a walk in the mountains and going to protests.

  3. This made me so angry when i saw it in the news. The whole idea of wearing a burka pisses me off in the first place, but I think if I lived in France I’d be ordering one online right now…

    I can’t wait until they start arresting people for it.

  4. Ugh, it’s just like Switzerland banning minarets (with the added component of sexism, thanks). Obviously European countries are trying to make it unpleasant for Muslim immigrants. We’re often critical of the US compared to Europe, because we’re full of racist anti-immigrants, but Europe is the same, they just do it under the guise of “protecting their millenia-old cultures.” Whereas the US doesn’t have that excuse.

  5. hey, just a thought to the commenters above– veiling is a religious practice that has been used by all kinds of political groups as symbols of oppression, liberation and all kinds of stuff– and I’m thinkin, maybe, just maybe, people who don’t see it as a personally important religious practice should stop wearing or appropriating it, as well as stop outlawing and imposing it.

  6. What’s really strange is how the government is acting like so many women are wearing the burka and are constantly out in public gratitously demonstrating their oppression. Less than four hundred women in France wear the burka, and they act like its a social epidemic. Banning symbols of cultural and religious identity only adds fuel to the already raging cultural fires.

  7. In his view the full veil is “simply a prison for women who wear it”. (from the linked report) – but banning its use imprisons the women who wear it in their homes and what I said to Allegra is that the report I read said that they are (possibly) being banned in particular places, most notably (to me) schools and hospitals. So in addition to making it difficult for women who wear the burka to even leave the house they also completely prevent them from getting education or healthcare.

  8. Damned fucking straight. We were talking about it outside when a work colleague said “Well, I think that if they’re religious views are so strong that they absolutely HAVE to wear it, then they should go and live somewhere else.”

    At which point Cal very calmly replied. “All right, but it’s the MEN that decide where they get to live!”

    Steampunks 1, Assholes 0

  9. this is not a simple question of Islamophobia. this is a particular issue in France, where they have an official secular society -the concept is called “laïcité” – which they fought very hard for in order to limit the power of the Catholic Church.

    there is a special issue of the jounral ‘Anarchist Studies’ devoted to this issue, about banning the burka (vol 14 #1, 2006).

    i think the French situation is far more complex than, say, if this happened in the US, where things are different.

  10. sjklajkla: this is certainly an interesting point. I’d be interested to see the issue of Anarchist Studies you refer to (and would encourage them to make those available online as free PDFs), but… no. No. The situation can be as complex as it wants to be, but the State has no right enforcing a dress code. (Neither does the Church, of course, but affiliation with a church in a secular society is arguably based on the consent of the people who subscribe to said faith).

    Are christian priests prevented from wearing the collar of their faith in public?

    Europe seems awash in islamaphobia right now, and that context can’t really be ignored. Islam is far from a dominant religious trend there right now, so I doubt that the secular society is really being threatened by it in the same way that it is/was by christianity.

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