What We Missed

The French government is in talks about potentially banning the burqa.
Jon Stewart and Mike Huckabee talk abortion. (h/t to community poster Irre!)
Random feel-good story of the day: Great grandmothers 86-year-old Emma Dausman and 69-year-old Judy Conner become Chicago state bowling champions.
Shakes takes on how folks are using Senator Boxer asking to be called “Senator” as opposed to “ma’am” as a juicy opportunity to talk about what an “uppity bitch” she and the rest of those damn liberal women are.
Check out this ridiculous UK Mail Online piece on the ‘epidemic of pregnancy’ among women older than 30 and how those who become mothers in their 30s are ‘defying nature.’ Yes, really.
Bacardi reaches the ultimate low with their new campaign targeting women: “Get an Ugly Girlfriend” to look more attractive.

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126 Comments

  1. proudfeminist
    Posted June 21, 2009 at 7:15 am | Permalink

    Look at how people in hot sunny countries actually dress. What the men wear is not very far off from a Burka.

  2. proudfeminist
    Posted June 21, 2009 at 7:32 am | Permalink

    What do you mean by Islamophobie ? Islam is anti woman and anti feminism.

  3. Katwomandu
    Posted June 21, 2009 at 9:45 am | Permalink

    That makes sense, probably because desert air is much drier. In FL we have so much humidity that people in long garments are in danger of sweating buckets and getting heat stroke.

  4. Alessa
    Posted June 21, 2009 at 12:06 pm | Permalink

    Islam is a RELIGION. What about Judaism, in which one of the prayers include the men saying, “And I thank you God, for not making me a woman”, or the general thought in Christianity that women belong in the home, or even the extreme branch of Mormons, in which polygamy and forcing the women to stay in the home are the foundations of their faith?
    You sound like you would be willing to do away with any religious practices that don’t match YOUR frame of mind.
    I am a proud feminist, but taking a tradition that is hundreds of years old from people and making it illegal is just as bad as forcing women to comply to it.

  5. Gretchen
    Posted June 21, 2009 at 1:05 pm | Permalink

    …Yeah, except not. Islam as a religion is not inherently sexist; the problem lies in those who perpetuate sexism and patriarchy under the guise of their religion – and that happens all the time, not just with Islam. There are many Islamic feminists in the world, just like there are Christian feminists, Jewish feminists, atheist/agnostic feminists, Buddhist feminists, Ba’hai feminists…need I go on?

  6. makomk
    Posted June 21, 2009 at 3:44 pm | Permalink

    Turkey is not really a Muslim country, though. While the vast majority of the population is Muslim, the state itself is officially secular. In fact, in some respects, the Turkish secular ideology seems to be more important to the population than their religion. (I think similar things happened to Christianity in western Europe.)

  7. makomk
    Posted June 21, 2009 at 4:15 pm | Permalink

    No, the UK did not recently allow a parallel Sharia legal system for Muslims. Actually, there’s a (quite old) UK law that allows all religions to set up religious courts dealing with marriage, divorce, contract disputes, inheritance etc. It was actually aimed at, and mostly used by, Jews.
    While most of the really anti-women aspects of Judaism have been ignored or worked around in the mainstream, if you take a look at the fundamental religious beliefs it’s actually worse than Islam in some ways. (Then there’s the Haredi, who resisted these changes – their treatment of women is not pleasant). So this isn’t exactly a new problem, it’s just that anti-Islamic opinions are popular.

  8. MiriamCT1
    Posted June 21, 2009 at 4:24 pm | Permalink

    um, maybe “barren crone”?
    just kidding, I know what you mean, that’s why it drove me so flipping nuts when someone said to me once “as a wife and mother you must feel….”

  9. wax_ghost
    Posted June 21, 2009 at 6:07 pm | Permalink

    “But then why are they usually black, a colour that absorbs heat rather than reflecting it?”
    Have you ever worn a white shirt out in the middle of the summer all day? You can easily burn under the shirt because white fabric is often at least a little bit transparent. Black at least blocks the sun from your skin.

  10. bifemmefatale
    Posted June 21, 2009 at 7:23 pm | Permalink

    The prophet said that women above the age of puberty should not wear anything sheer. Making a garment black further improves its opacity so one cannot see the garments underneath.

  11. the.empress
    Posted June 22, 2009 at 2:23 am | Permalink

    “Yes, if one woman is being forced to against her will, then it is worth it to be banned.”
    This is just absolutely fucking silly. What about the MILLIONS of women who DO want to wear a burka???
    You would be forcing them not to do it. I’m pretty sure that if you wore a burka every time you went out in public you whole life, would feel very uncomfortable without it. Let women wear what they want. There’s other ways to improve Muslim women’s rights, much better ways that actually make sense.
    I believe another commenter pointed out that banning Muslim women from wearing burkas will not do anything to improve their status.

  12. proudfeminist
    Posted June 22, 2009 at 8:53 am | Permalink

    We have seperation of church and state for a reason…

  13. inyd
    Posted June 22, 2009 at 8:55 am | Permalink

    B.Atoureta, you totally misunderstood my meaning.
    By taking the position of a chauvinistic, oppressive Muslim man, I’m highlighting two problems with this approach:
    1. Banning the burqa does not address or resolve the fundamental issue facing the oppressed women–ie. the “religious sensibilities” of their oppressor. It may even have the side effect of further restricting the woman’s freedom in a country where they may have more freedom than back in their home countries.
    2. Banning the burqa may further alienate Muslim people against Western societies and cultures by seemingly infringing upon their right of religious freedom. I know you want to treat the issue as something simple and binary, but it really is not. To improve the conditions of Muslim women, we need to change the mindset/culture of the men who are oppressing them. I don’t have a simple answer for how that could be done (economics and politics are not my areas of expertise), but I know that alienating them with such an abrupt measure is going to backfire.
    I wish it could be as simple as “no burqa = free women”, but it’s not.

  14. inyd
    Posted June 22, 2009 at 9:29 am | Permalink

    I can’t say I’ve heard many Islamic figureheads coming out in defence of rape victims, but I have heard a prominent cleric comparing uncovered women to raw meat left uncovered, the implication being, whatever they ‘attract’ is their own fault.
    Ah, the ever-so-controversial Sheikh al-Hilali (“uncovered meat” comment and his feeble excuse). What really disturbs me is the fact that despite reportedly unified condemnation from Muslim groups in Australia, some of the big-wigs of the Australian Muslim community still defend him. This shows clearly that the Australian Muslim authority still holds an us-or-them mentality that, IMHO, is the biggest stumbling block to future co-operation and mutual understanding. And here he goes again.

  15. Silverarrow
    Posted June 22, 2009 at 11:52 am | Permalink

    “I sincerely hope you are not suggesting that in order to prevent rape and harrassment that the clothing options of women should be restricted, or even that that type pf thinking is ever justified.”
    When did I ever say that? Stop twisting my words! Ghostchild mentioned that sexual harrassment occurs everywhere. Yes, that is true, but I was pointing out that in some places sexual harrassment is worse; Ghostchild seems to be downplaying the fact that some of the worst sexual violence is coming from the Muslim community.

  16. Tracey T
    Posted June 22, 2009 at 1:30 pm | Permalink

    “If women aren’t wearing the hijab, many are actually under the threat of rape. No wonder there is such backlash towards Muslims.”
    I did not mean to take words out of context and it really was meant to be a question (forgot the ?). However, the argument for banning different forms of veilings is often that women are being made to wear them under threat of beatings, rape, and/or death and therefore they should be banned. That’s why I was inquiring about your intentions. As evident by the comments here, many people base their support for hijab,niqab,burqa bans on the belief that women only wear veilings because of fear of negative consequences from men in the communities.
    Given the general climate on here your post suggested that there is reason to look on veilings as suspect and possibly deserving of a ban b/c some women wear them out of fear of what men might do, as oppose to going after the men. That is why I made the comment that restricting the rights of all veil wearing women b/c some veil women are terroized by men if they do not wear the veil is really messed up.

  17. B. Atoureta
    Posted June 22, 2009 at 2:32 pm | Permalink

    http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/uk/crime/article4749183.ece
    Sharia was recently adopted in Britain.
    My opinions on sharia were not meant to be exclusionary of my opinions on the inherent patriarchy and sexism in most religions.
    Islam’s tends to be more open. I don’t doubt Judaism’s oppression of women as well – I see it in the Orthodox women around me.
    But again, Jewish women are not being killed at an alarming rate for forsaking their “honor”, are they?

  18. B. Atoureta
    Posted June 22, 2009 at 2:35 pm | Permalink

    I am an immigrant, from Iraq, as many people on this site know.
    It is Americans who are naive about the “choice” of the burqa.

  19. B. Atoureta
    Posted June 22, 2009 at 2:38 pm | Permalink

    Because Islam is a political system as much as it is a religion, Turkey had to BAN things like the burqa because the line between state and religion do not exist.
    Turkey is a Muslim nation with secular laws. Maybe you have time for semantics when you can’t discuss the actual matters at hand, but I don’t.

  20. Mina
    Posted June 22, 2009 at 7:19 pm | Permalink

    “What really disturbs me is the fact that despite reportedly unified condemnation from Muslim groups in Australia, some of the big-wigs of the Australian Muslim community still defend him. This shows clearly that the Australian Muslim authority still holds an us-or-them mentality that, IMHO, is the biggest stumbling block to future co-operation and mutual understanding.”
    Thanks for making it clear that you understand the diversity of opinion among Australian Muslims, and the way some of their “authorities” don’t really stand for them!

  21. Mina
    Posted June 22, 2009 at 7:32 pm | Permalink

    “…There are other people who wear all black in the desert sun and wind and it still keeps them cool. The Bedouins are the first example that comes to mind. Both men and women Bedouins wear black…”
    Speaking of whom, in Saudi Arabia Bedouin communities already let both women and men drive cars.
    “I think there needs to be acknowledgment that it is a choice for these women, and it can be a celebration of culture and cultural heritage.”
    Good point – and sometimes it can be a celebration of two cultures at once.
    Also, let’s not forget the more mundane reasons some people also have for wearing hijab, chadors, niqab, burqas, etc. I wouldn’t be surprised at all if some women getting dressed in the morning think less about celebrating culture and heritage than
    “Too hot out, I’ll just wear my burqa instead of anything more constricting”
    “Why buy a separate headset for my cellphone when I can stick it in my hijab to keep my hands free?” [I've seen people doing this IRL]
    “I don’t feel like getting spruced up and dressed up before I go out to get the paper and groceries for the day, I’ll just throw on a chador and get those errands out of the way early” [this one I heard was more common in my grandmother's generation]
    “I look more authoritative in my chador uniform than in my hijab-and manteau-and-trousers uniform” [anyone else remember the cop in The Spouse?]
    “They won’t search me for what I shoplifted if I wear a chador” [I've heard of storekeepers in Iran feeling very vexed by these ones]
    “If I head out with a burqa over my clubbing clothes, the neighbors can’t tell my parents it’s me” [this one happens in some Kenyan neighborhoods according to Headwraps : A Global Journey by Georgia Scott]

  22. Mina
    Posted June 22, 2009 at 7:33 pm | Permalink

    “For women actually interested in helping Muslim women keep things like Sharia law in Europe from enslaving them, see here:
    http://onelawforall.org.uk/
    “A groups started by Muslim men and women in the UK against Sharia.”
    Thanks for the link!

  23. Mina
    Posted June 22, 2009 at 7:35 pm | Permalink

    “Analogously, many women are forced to have sex, but we understand that outlawing sex is foolish – outlawing the force applied to sex is intelligent.”
    Likewise, check out this quote from Freedom craving ‘fuelling Iran unrest’, Hugh Sykes, BBC News, 15:45 GMT, Sunday, 21 June 2009 16:45 UK:
    “…Several women I met openly complained about the religious ‘guidance’ police enforcing the female dress code of the chador, or the hijab and ‘manto’ coat.
    “One young student told me: ‘I like the hijab. My friend doesn’t like it. I should be free to choose to wear it, and she should be free to choose not to.’
    “Another woman said: ‘The hijab is not really the problem. The real problem is that men and women are human beings – they are the same, and they should have equal freedoms.’…”
    Of course, some self-procalimed liberals will complain “when a poor man is dying because he can’t go to the doctor, who cares about ‘human rights’?!” (not realizing how much they sound like lower-income American conservatives saying “when I don’t have a job and health insurance who cares about immigrants and abortion?!”). However, IRL freedom from disease and hunger for lower-income male members of the ethnic and religious majorities, and freedom to dress and date for higher-income women and/or ethnic and religious minorities, are not mutually exclusive. From what I’ve heard the Ahadmenijad administration built a much-needed hospital in a lower-income part of South Tehran, and that’s great, but image how much more it could have done for the poor if it didn’t also waste some resources cracking down on house parties in higher-income parts of North Tehran. Even if one thinks wanting to expose hair/drink alcohol/etc. is superficial, that’s not enough reason to arrest people for it.

  24. Mina
    Posted June 22, 2009 at 7:41 pm | Permalink

    “It’s still a misstatement about the status of the government. Secular is not a Muslim state. We both know this and to say that it is a Muslim state is ignorant to the laws of the land in Turkey as they are enforced. It’s like saying the UK is still an Absolute Monarchy because it was in the past.”
    …Or like saying the U.S. is a Christian state because the majority of people in it are affiliated with a denomination of Christianity.
    Personally, that’s why I use terms such as “Muslim-majority nation” and “Muslim theocracy” instead of “Muslim nation” or “Muslim state.” That way, there shouldn’t be confusion about whether I’m describing a place’s government structure or a place’s demographics.

  25. Mina
    Posted June 22, 2009 at 7:51 pm | Permalink

    “…They did this out of ‘cultural sensitivity’ to the Muslim population, when in fact all it did was strip a Muslim woman’s DEMOCRATIC rights away in a supposed DEMOCRATIC country.
    “Our naive ‘cultural sensitivities’ actually bolstered women’s oppression…”
    Good points! Isn’t it more accurately “cultural sensitivity” to the most privileged members of a minority population (the ones who have male privilege, parents-wealthier-than-others-in-the-minority privilege, able-bodied privilege, heterosexual privilege, everything but majority-religion privilege) instead of that minority’s whole population?
    As for the burqa, didn’t that custom actually begin centuries before Islam? After growing up harrassed for being hairy (which I inherited from my Iranian ancestors), I suspect that the big overlap between cultures with lots of hairy women and girls and cultures ordering women and girls to cover up isn’t entirely a coincidence.

  26. Mina
    Posted June 22, 2009 at 7:55 pm | Permalink

    “…I think it’s reasonable to point out that without modern medical advances, we wouldn’t be having children in our forties (we would not live that long)…”
    Without modern medical advances, some of out counterparts in the past didn’t live that long – they died earlier of childbirth complications in adulthood and/or adolescence, died of warfare or disease or accidents, and enough died in infancy or early childhood to make their communities’ average lifespans far younger than survivors in their communities reached old age.
    Meanwhile, some of our other counterparts in the past did make it to their forties, stayed fertile and stayed sexually active, and got pregnant. The difference is that a woman who was both 40 years old and pregnant in the year 1300 was probably not having her 1st pregnancy.
    It’s more likely that she first got pregnant in her teens or twenties, had given birth and/or aborted (including spontaneous abortion a.k.a. miscarriage) several if not many times since then.
    “And yet, the world is oddly silent on this extreme new risk to women’s health…they are putting their health in danger and risking a child with severe disabilities by waiting to have children.”
    What new risk? Waiting until one’s 40s to get pregnant is new. Being pregnant in one’s 40s probably have happened ever
    since our species first evolved. Those health risks apply no matter if the pregnant 40-year-old waited to have children and is now expecting her 1st baby or if she did not wait to have children, started getting in her 20s or even younger, and is now expecting her 3rd or 8th or 14th or 20th baby.

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