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. B. Atoureta
    Posted June 20, 2009 at 11:22 am | 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.

  2. Merk
    Posted June 20, 2009 at 11:34 am | Permalink

    The internet is a meritocracy — you get popular by producing meaningful content that resonates with people (exactly what Feministing seems to do right now).
    Another efficient way would be to write feminist editorials for more trafficked sites, such as popular news or entertainment sites.
    But I don’t want anyone explicitly “in control” of the internet, whether it’s neo-nazis or anti-semites or feminists or classical guitarists. The day when a single ideology rules the internet — including feminism — is the day I rip my router out of my wall and throw it out the window.

  3. ghostorchid
    Posted June 20, 2009 at 11:44 am | Permalink

    To quote Audre Lorde:
    “Women responding to racism means women responding to anger; the anger of exclusion, of unquestioned privilege, of racial distortions, of silence, ill-use, stereotyping, defensiveness, misnaming, betrayal, and co-optation…every woman has a well-stocked arsenal of anger potentially useful against those oppressions, personal and institutional, which brought that anger into being. Focused with precision it can become a powerful source of energy serving progress and change.”
    “Anger between peers births change, not destruction…the discomfort and sense of loss it often causes is not fatal, but a sign of growth.”
    No, I do not find anger problematic. My feminism isn’t born out of amicable consciousness-raising and shared experiences; my feminism is born out of rage, desperation, grief, anguish, resentment, and pain. From this monumental upset I draw my focus, my resilience, and my sense of humor.
    As to your question – “aren’t we supposed to be working together here” – working towards what? If a commenter and I come to an agreement about the burqa, what have we achieved? Nothing. It’s the Internet. There are billions of discussions, a tiny percentage of which will affect the real world. If Feministing is some massive group-work assignment, I’d rather fly solo.
    Anyway, I do not see anger and understanding as mutually exclusive states. There are some things I don’t think I could possibly convey to someone who cannot muster up any rage.

  4. smiley
    Posted June 20, 2009 at 12:28 pm | Permalink

    B.,
    I agree with you (for once).
    At the top (“…some Muslim women really do…”): probably, but the point the French Government is making is that *some* women really do not, and the Gov. is saying that the law should enforce *their* choice to be burqa-free.
    There is another point. France does not allow any ‘distinctive religious signs’ in governemnt premises. For example, a teacher is not allowed to wear a cross. A burqa, or even a scarf, is considered a religious symbol, and should therefore not be worn in school. France has had quite a few problems with that in the past.

  5. ShifterCat
    Posted June 20, 2009 at 12:30 pm | Permalink

    Uh, Canada already has laws against marrying minors and mutilating people. People don’t get to play the “culture” card for something that breaks pre-existing laws aimed at everyone.

  6. proudfeminist
    Posted June 20, 2009 at 12:45 pm | Permalink

    There is not a general ban on burkas, but a general ban on rendering yourself irecognizable. I guess Germany is one of them. You can not run around in a skimask for example. But I guess there are exceptions for carnival costumes and the like.
    So Veils, yes, Burkas no.

  7. proudfeminist
    Posted June 20, 2009 at 12:48 pm | Permalink

    The reason the veil was banned in Turkey was not concern for women, but a power struggle of the state with islamic religious elements, who of course, strife for power and in countries like Iran, got it.
    It was about a statement, we rule, not about a concern for women. The turkish goverment is not overly concerned with women.

  8. Tracey T
    Posted June 20, 2009 at 12:52 pm | Permalink

    Thank you for your honesty. I am NOT surprised to see a site whose demographics are heavily white feeling they have a right to tell certain women what they can and can not do with their bodies and deciding that they set the standard for entry into a country.
    You are fine with the state forcing women to do something, so in other words you are against women having bodily autonomy. Way to go. I’m not surprised by that either.

  9. Lisa
    Posted June 20, 2009 at 12:54 pm | Permalink

    I know the Netherlands discussed a ban a few years ago but I believe they ultimately decided against it. As far as I know some towns/regions in Belgium do have public bans. But beyond that I had thought all other restrictions were related to employment in certain government positions (teachers, judges, etc.), airport security, and things like driver’s licenses. A quick google gives me nothing but links to the debate in the Netherlands and the current issue in France.
    So which countries in Europe have flat out bans? It seems it’s at the very least disingenuous to say that “many” do but I would like to find out which countries have actual legislation banning the Burqa in public.

  10. Tracey T
    Posted June 20, 2009 at 12:59 pm | Permalink

    You have yet to explain how forcing someone not to do something is better than forcing them to do it, or how forcing all of them not to addresses the conditions that forces some of them to.
    And why target Muslim women? What about all the other people forced to dress a certain way by their parents? Something is lacking in your reasoning….logic.
    No one is advocating the imposer of FGM on minors or any other thing that takes away someone’s right to bodily autonomy. The right to wear or not wear what you like is not something that should be legislated by the governement ( I even have mixed feelings about “hate speech”, and believe the government has exercised to much authority in that area, not to mention the imposition of clothing in general).

  11. MiriamCT1
    Posted June 20, 2009 at 1:31 pm | Permalink

    Oh Mike Huckabee, you’re just the greatest…whatever. I love how zygotes get to be full human beings with equal rights and all, but gay people can’t have them? You make no sense.

  12. aniri
    Posted June 20, 2009 at 1:32 pm | Permalink

    Tracey, I feel that you completely misunderstood what I tried to say. But that’s ok. It’s difficult to express a very complex feeling within the constraints of a comment box. I firmly believe in women’s rights, a woman’s right to choose…anything. And that is not an exaggeration. I mean that. But having lived through immigration, and having lived in another country, which was extremely sexist, I have developed certain views which would be difficult to understand by others who haven’t lived through it.
    I understand people’s arguments against abolishing the burqa. I do. But I firmly disagree with them. I’m waaaay past being idealistic about how things work in this world. And while ideally I would love for the burqa to be a choice, I know that it’s not realistic.
    B. Atoureta, thank you for sticking to your point and defending it so eloquently!!!

  13. Gular
    Posted June 20, 2009 at 1:46 pm | Permalink

    The French burqa story is interesting to me because of how much it really reflects the different ways in which countries deal with religious expression.
    I think one of the big things to remember is that France is all about secularism because it’s a central tenant in “freedom” for the French. Any symbol of religion worn in public represents a lack of ability to decide for oneself over religious dogma. It’s also a threat to the homogeneous French culture that is the goal of French society, even if not really expressed.
    Personally, I feel a woman should be able to or not to wear a burqa. It’s an expression of her religious beliefs, which is something I think people often overlook. Outside of the Arab World (and even inside the Arab world in some places), women are not required to wear a full burqa, or even a niqab, so long as they keep their hair covered for modesty. A woman can choose to wear those garments in most cases.
    I think something to really take into consideration is that these articles are actually meant, in religious law, to help protect women from the unwanted advances of men. Much of Islamic law is set up that way — with a distrust of the hormones/dispositions of men to protect women. While there are sexist implications on that, I think it’s an important detail because it’s seen as so repressive when the original intention of the garment was to protect women from men and a perceived Rape Culture within their society. Has this reasoning stuck entirely? Yes and no. But that doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t acknowledge the whole of the intention of the garment.
    They’re also designed to help keep people cool and protected in the desert sun and wind — which is why there’s debate in the Islamic community as to whether the garments are necessary outside of the traditional Arab World (my geography professor – a Jordanian and Muslim – told us about that in class). The discussion is ongoing, obviously, but it’s something also to note.

  14. Tracey T
    Posted June 20, 2009 at 2:23 pm | Permalink

    You still have yet to explain what abolishing it accomplishes. Does it give more freedom to women who are currently forced to wear it? No. It certaintly takes freedom away from those who choose to. How does banishing the burqa help eliminate sexism? My problem is that it accomplishes nothing. It isn’t even a short term solution to anything. I’m not being idealistic, I realize that many things are forced on us against choice, but you have yet to explain how further limiting choice helps.
    I am disgusted by a lot of things, including doing cosmetic procedures on intersex infants and women having their clits and labias reshaped to better fir an ideal, but I realize banning certain cosmetic procedures for consenting women does nothing to stop IGM. What does banning the burqa do? Explain that. Has anyone asked the opinions of women who wear burqa. A bunch of women are having their futures discussed by the state as though they are canvasses to be painted on. Combatting sexism with sexism helps no one in the end, this doesn’t even help anyone in the short term.
    If some of these women choose not to remove the burqa in public in protest and are thrown in jail how is that liberating for them? Seriously, are you willing to see women who wear niqab and burqa thrown in jail for defying the law and talk about how they have been liberated? Not to mention a ban on the burqa and niqab does nothing to help the home situation of women who are forced to do so. So why punish those that choose to do so?
    Even if you see veiling as a visual manifestation of sexism, making the manifestation go away doesn’y make the problem go away.

  15. bifemmefatale
    Posted June 20, 2009 at 2:48 pm | Permalink

    Actually, I think that is wrong and intrusive of you if she shows no other indications that she needs help.

  16. B. Atoureta
    Posted June 20, 2009 at 2:56 pm | Permalink

    Concern for women or not, it was one of the symbols of the religion which was banned.

  17. B. Atoureta
    Posted June 20, 2009 at 2:57 pm | Permalink

    Refusing to allow a burqa hurts nothing but religious sentiment.
    Forcing someone to wear it is degrading and hurts a woman socially, economically, and her dignity.
    I’d rather insult religious sentiment, especially when it is inherently oppressive to the woman.

  18. Jake N.
    Posted June 20, 2009 at 3:17 pm | Permalink

    A very astute comment about religion in French culture. It’s really naive for posters to just assume that society functions under exactly the same rules and standards as it does in the US.
    On a separate note, an organization that I find really interesting is the French feminist group Ni Putes, Ni Soumises (Neither Whores, Nor Submissive). It was started by a group of Muslim women to be a support system for young Muslim girls on issues like violence, the hijab, education, and marriage. I certainly don’t agree with them on all aspects, but I think it’s a group that needs to exist.
    Back to the overarching topic, laïcité (best translated as societal secularism) is a huge part of French identity. The fact that the 2004 law on ostentatious religious symbols in public schools passed with support from people on the left and right and from all religious backgrounds is telling.
    And, like someone said earlier, it is (save some specific situations like political refugees) the choice of someone to immigrate into a new country. One does need to respect the laws of the new country.
    In the US, we don’t allow polygamy, even though it’s an accepted part of some other cultures. We make people take a test to prove their patriotism to the US, a test on which many jus soli citizens of the US would probably do pretty poorly. We don’t even have an official language, which is one fewer hurdle for people coming here.
    But people continue to immigrate to western Europe, the US, and Canada. One of the reasons why is because the perceived benefits are seen to outweigh the perceived losses due to assimilation, a new location, lack of availability to all the comforts of wherever home may be.
    The article (I feel like a lot of people may have just read the headline) said that the Assemble Nationale wants to do an investigation on the relation of the burqa to women’s rights in France. One can assume that if the study shows that women wear the burqa for personal reasons of faith and not because they are forced, I think that there will be a stronger opposition to any possible ban. And if the study shows otherwise, isn’t it the duty of the French government to reinforce its national values?

  19. Silverarrow
    Posted June 20, 2009 at 3:28 pm | Permalink

    Gular,
    the actual Burqa was created in Iran, as a means of status by upper-class women. Unfortunately, I don’t have a link handy on me right now.
    ” Secondly, I don’t know what feminist paradise you live in where women’s bodies – of all races, ethnicities, and faiths – don’t get shamed and aren’t valued lower than males, but I’d sure like to move there! (My point being that these issues exist irrespective of whether the burqa is part of one’s culture or not, but we aren’t threatening to ban anyone else’s clothes.)”
    Ghostchild, I technically agree with what you’re saying, but in some cases, obviously, it’s worse than in others. In Sweden and Holland, for instance, there is a problem with rape and harrassment. In places like Sweden, it is a huge problem, actually. If women aren’t wearing the hijab, many are actually under the threat of rape. No wonder there is such backlash towards Muslims.

  20. jacqueline.allain
    Posted June 20, 2009 at 3:51 pm | Permalink

    I have to say, Americans sometimes DO know what they’re talking about. And I think this is one of those instances.
    As an American, I’ve been taught my whole life that the government has no right– NO right– to restrict a person’s speech,religious beliefs, and clothing choices, as long as in doing this, one doesn’t infringe upon another person’s rights. So to me, that the French government would even CONSIDER banning the burqua is insane. Despite her annoyingly smart-ass tone, I have to agree with what Ghostchild is saying; if the burqua is banned, then where do we drawn the line? Should we ban all forms of clothing deemed “un-feminist”?
    For every Muslim woman who truly wants to wear the burqua (which I’m sure exist), I’ll bet that there are about ten who have no choice. I’m sorry to all the Muslim women forced into wearing the burqua– which is obviously an extremely restrictive, uncomfortable, oppressive garnment– but I think the only way to end this practice, at least in France, is to change people’s attitudes towards women through education. If the Islamic community feels accepted in France, Muslims will be more likely to appreciate and adopt more progressive ideals–or at least, ideals that I and most women on this website probably feel are progressive.
    ps. I realize how offensive this post could come across as (my way=good,progressive, educated; their way=bad,archaic,uneducated), but I honestly do believe that on this issue, the Western world, despite its faults, is right “correct” in that the burqua represents deep mysoginy.

  21. jacqueline.allain
    Posted June 20, 2009 at 3:54 pm | Permalink

    I agree. She didn’t have to be so agressive about it. It seemed like she was just trying to be the “alpha-dog” more than anything else.

  22. Lynne C.
    Posted June 20, 2009 at 4:28 pm | Permalink

    If the burquas are in fact made of light material, that would be fine. But they look quite heavy to me. And what’s worse is that they’re black, and black attracts heat. In desert countries you see ALL of the people, including men covering themselves with garments to protect themselves, but the mens’ garments are usually white, while the womens’ are black?! What is up with that? Maybe someone can explain that? Why does a woman always have to be dressed as if she’s in constant mourning? And to cover her face as well? That IS extreme. Wearing all black like that under the sun and having no exposure is constricting, and outright dangerous. One can have a heat stroke. I’m not talking about the rich women who don’t have to spend much time outside, and have chouffers to drive them around, I’m talking about the average woman who might have work to do outside, and lots of errands to run.

  23. Lynne C.
    Posted June 20, 2009 at 4:43 pm | Permalink

    I have to completely agree with you here. Banning women from covering themselves is going to the other extreme, and it is still, in every way, dictating how women should dress, and every bit as sexist as forcing them to cover up. It is still objectifying a woman’s body. In one case, the government is saying “No one else has the right to look at my property” and in the other case it is saying “Your body is our property, and we have the right to see it at all times.” Both are extreme bullshit! I should have the right to wear what is comfortable for me, whatever that is, plain and simple! Why is that so complicated?

  24. Tracey T
    Posted June 20, 2009 at 4:56 pm | Permalink

    Refusing to allow a burqa is stripping away someone’s freedom and hurts a person’s autonomy. Not to mention if a woman is wearing a burqa and not interfering with anyone else, she is not violating the rights of another.
    In the case that it is being forced, banning it does nothing to address the problem of oppression and abuse.
    Banning a symbol that is oppressive to some does not eliminate oppression. It’s just a reason for people to pack themselves on the back and feel like they’ve accomplished something.
    Also, your whole thing seems to be in cases when it is forced. Do you think that a woman who is forced to wear burqa is going to be allowed economic and social freedom even if it is banned? If she was allowed economic and social freedom do you think she would stay with someone forcing her to wear it in the first place? Again I fail to see any logic in what you just said. Seriously, answer those questions.

  25. Tracey T
    Posted June 20, 2009 at 5:03 pm | 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.
    I think this is one of my main problems:
    the argument seems to be that b/c women are being oppressed in SOME cases, women’s choices must be restricted “for their own good.” Am I the only one who sees a problem with that line of thinking. The idea that the government or any authority should restrict freedom of people under the guis of “protecting” them.
    Let me make my position clear:
    If a woman is being forced to wear burqa, the problem is not the burqa but domestic violence and banning the burqa won’t stop the violence.

  26. Kappa
    Posted June 20, 2009 at 5:10 pm | Permalink

    I’ve definitely seen women wearing niqabs in Germany. Maybe burqas, too, I’m not sure right now, I seldom look close enough to see the difference.
    Of course there’s been debates, also about hijabs (although they can be seen pretty frequently, I don’t think they even raise eyebrows anymore these days)… a quick googling yields few results. Apparantly, you are not allowed to drive a car wearing a burqa, for safety reasons. A two years old article about someone’s suggestion to ban burqas in courtrooms. And there was a politician’s plan to ban burqas at schools. It turned out that the two students who caused this debate were actually wearing niqabs, but that word is not as well known as “burqa”. That’s the thing, in my opinion, a general lack of actual knowledge about this religion, and a disinterest in learning such basic differences.

  27. battle angel alita
    Posted June 20, 2009 at 5:15 pm | Permalink

    yes it odes kinda make you sound islamaphobic but more importantly makes you sound fucking ignorant. i have never heard or seen any muslim woman being pulled around on a leash in public and just because you’ve seen this on one woman does not mean its somthing we all do and believe. you should perhaps research things before you decide to pass judgement on them.

  28. Shy Mox
    Posted June 20, 2009 at 5:24 pm | Permalink

    I’m not sure about other countries but in Afghanistan blue is the most common colour, not black, there are countries where black is the most common colour but I’m not sure how hot it gets as it is made from thin material, and also its not a religious requirement, since it goes by region there’s probably several reason why black.

  29. Shy Mox
    Posted June 20, 2009 at 5:32 pm | Permalink

    Its clothing for Christ’s sake, not pedophilia, the difference there is plain to see. I don’t expect immigrants to leave their clothing, religion and values at the door and dress in tight jeans and t-shirts just to fit in.

  30. Lysergic Asset
    Posted June 20, 2009 at 6:04 pm | Permalink

    RE: the ‘great-grandmothers’ post… WTF is with constantly defining women by their marriage/procreation status? So if these women were single, the headline would refer to ‘unmarried old spinsters’?!

  31. battle angel alita
    Posted June 20, 2009 at 6:05 pm | Permalink

    you know what i’m gonna apologise first because i’m sick of having to repeat myself on this issue.
    “Don’t talk about things you don’t know about.”
    you know what, you should take some of your own advice. now i really dont give a damn if you’ve lived in the middle east your whole life, that
    does not make you an expert on islam and most of the stuff you thrown up are markers of your culture.
    first of all, the burqa and niqab are NOT religious garments but cultural ones. Islam states that both men and women should dress modestly but it does not actually endorse the burqa or niqab. in fact when i went on holy prilgrimage to Mekkah i had to show my face and that the women there are meant to have their faces vidible (even though some still had garments that covered even their eyes).
    i would argue that the burqa is not deemed essential for muslim women but that modesty is for both women AND men, somthing that gets lost in our western patriarchal society and i feel for good reason. there is a lot to be said when people are fighting for womens rights over here the first thing they say is “well at least your not over there, in the middle east like those muslim women”, as if thts meant to make the situation all better.
    i am getting sick and tired of having o explain to people the difference between religion and culture. just because a contry CLAIMS its islamic does not mean it is. please point out in the Quar’an where it says this oh and BTW if your using the english translation look again, if i have to explain to you about wahhabism it further goes to shows your ignorance on islam.
    islam states that both men and women are suceptable to sexual desires which is why it claims modesty for BOTH SEXES and this statement
    “It is also meant to differentiate Muslim women from other women – and if a Muslim man sees you, without a burqa, walking down the street alone, he will leave you be. If he sees a woman in a burqa on the street walking alone, guess what – he has the “right” to harass her, beat her, even rape her, because she has the “marker” that she is Muslim and yet is walked unattended, and therefore, a whore.”
    where the fuck did you get that from because it may well be cultural but it certainly is not islamic. many of the comments from people-however respectful, have shown that most people do not know what they are talking about when it comes to islam and the last thing we need is someone like you making it harder for muslim women like myself to show feminists that we believe in the same things and we are not mysogonistic.
    and you know what-before the age of 19, i believed all the things you did about my faith. that was before i had to do a project in which i had to get off my ass and actually STUDY my religion and then i realised how wrong i was and that my beliefs had been spoon fed to me and i hadnt questioned them. islam is what turned me into a feminist.
    and why is all this important? why does it matter that we can differentiate between islam and culture? for the reason that many goverments-both islamic and non-islamic rely on the general populations ignorance of the religion to propegate their beliefs and laws. there is no such thing as islamic extremeism when islam very clearly states that if you go to someone else’s country you HAVE to ABIDE BY THEIR LAWS and be respectful. most muslims dont know what their religion actually says and rely on relatives and their culture to tell them how to behave and act. it can be dividing. it hard for me to stand with other feminists when they say they disagree with islam because in saudi women cant drive etc and its like you think THATS because of religion?!
    i have met people from middle eastern countries who are both non-muslims and ex muslims who have a bad view on islam and i can understand why when they have been punished by laws proclaiming to be islamic. however any one who honestly believes that these laws are a reflection of islam are lazy and have not read the Quar’an.
    Don’t talk about things you don’t know about? take your own advice stop being lazy and stop trying to tell the world what my true muslim brothers and sisters believe!

  32. Gular
    Posted June 20, 2009 at 6:05 pm | Permalink

    I actually think there’s all sorts of things wrong with it. What you’re doing when you do that is assuming that all women who wear burqas are victims of some sort of violation to their rights/bodies/lives. That type of assumption is really denigrating and Islamophobic. Most women outside of the Sharia-bound nations wear the burqa out of choice. To assume she’s under duress because of only her clothing — and therefor expression of her religion — is really, really judgmental.

  33. Chas
    Posted June 20, 2009 at 6:08 pm | Permalink

    The idea that any garment is needed to ‘protect’ women from male intention/advances is offensive to both sexes. If Islamic laws are really on the side of women, then why do certain Islamic countries value a woman’s testimony as worth only half that of a man’s in court, or only agree to examine rape cases if the woman can provide four witnesses? 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.
    Anything that sends out the message that the male sexual urge is uncontrollable and that the female body is the cause of overwhelming ‘temptation’ that needs to be covered, is an extremely negative influence. That’s my main problem with the burqa. Neverthless, I accept I don’t have the right to ban it just because it bothers me.
    >>>>They’re also designed to help keep people cool and protected in the desert sun and wind –
    Um, perhaps. But then why are they usually black, a colour that absorbs heat rather than reflecting it? Men in traditional Islamic dress are usually in white tunics, why is the same courtesy not extended to women?
    Disliking the burqa is not the same as disliking Islam. There is nothing in the Qu’ran that demands women wear head-to-toe black cloaks with only slits for the eyes. The Qu’ran merely says that both sexes should dress modestly. Interesting how this has been ‘interpreted’ with a sole focus on female dress, by those with certain agendas.
    I don’t like what the burqa represents, and I don’t like seeing women in it. However, I accept that banning it is impossible in any country that claims to allow freedom of expression/belief/dress. I also agree that it wouldn’t solve any of the underlying problems in cultures where women may be at greater risk of abuse.

  34. aniri
    Posted June 20, 2009 at 6:11 pm | Permalink

    Excellent comment, Jake!!!

  35. Gular
    Posted June 20, 2009 at 6:51 pm | Permalink

    Turkey is not a Muslim nation. Turkey is a secular democracy with many Muslim people.

  36. Gular
    Posted June 20, 2009 at 7:02 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 — and they’re literally in the desert all the time. Having never personally worn one, I can’t testify to its effectiveness, however if there was a better way, I feel the Bedouins would take full advantage of it.
    Islamic law says both sexes should dress modestly. The has been interpreted by some Islamic thinkers as having a need for the type of dress being discussed. You may disagree with how they have thought through the Koranic passages, but that’s how it’s been seen.
    The statement I made about protecting women from men was actually made by an Islamic woman in Saudi Arabia (No Reservations with Anthony Bourdain Saudi Arabia). It’s a cultural interpretation of the rules set in place. I did not originate the idea, but since it came from an American woman who relocated to Saudi Arabia, I felt it bore repeating given the context of the conversation here.
    I feel that what the burqa represents in Western culture comes from a misunderstanding of Arab culture. Especially given that it’s seen as a religious and not a cultural garb (as stated by battle angel alita up thread).
    I think that banning the burqa is something which is inherently damaging to multiculturalism because it is an expression of culture for the women who wear it outside of Sharia nations.
    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. Will every Arab woman choose to wear a burqa? No. Should every woman be able to choose to wear one? Yes.

  37. Gular
    Posted June 20, 2009 at 7:04 pm | Permalink

    here’s a link:
    http://encarta.msn.com/media_461530533/bedouin_clothing.html
    note that the man in the back is wearing dark navy. Their clothing is specifically meant to be able to keep them cool in the desert heat, and he is still wearing a dark color.

  38. debbie
    Posted June 20, 2009 at 7:10 pm | Permalink

    Is there any reason to believe that the woman you saw is not Canadian? Are her sensibilities worth less than yours?

  39. visibility
    Posted June 20, 2009 at 7:55 pm | Permalink

    why is this so hard?
    burqa, bikini, whatever, let women wear what they want. period.
    there’s no need to legislate women’s clothing no matter how you feel about what she wears.

  40. B. Atoureta
    Posted June 20, 2009 at 8:25 pm | Permalink

    I agree, it doesn’t. So it should a) be banned and then b) the root of the problem addressed.

  41. B. Atoureta
    Posted June 20, 2009 at 8:30 pm | Permalink

    LOL! Nearly nothing of what you said is based in reality.
    I’ll just say this: I have the Arabic Koran, not the English one, although I could care less whether it’s religiously sanctioned, culturally sanctioned, economically sanctioned, etc. Your argument falls on my deaf ears – it’s oppressive, women are valued by it, end of.

  42. B. Atoureta
    Posted June 20, 2009 at 8:39 pm | Permalink

    Oh please, that was my point, a Muslim nation turned secular and banning the burqa.

  43. kinsella
    Posted June 20, 2009 at 10:26 pm | Permalink

    Desert countries? Are you talking about Mexico or Australia?

  44. Gular
    Posted June 20, 2009 at 10:27 pm | Permalink

    Oh please nothing. 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. The government reformed and it should be acknowledged.

  45. Gular
    Posted June 20, 2009 at 10:33 pm | Permalink

    Thank you for the compliment. :-) It seems like we’re on a lot of the same page with this.

  46. Katwomandu
    Posted June 20, 2009 at 10:59 pm | Permalink

    Of course you can be angry if that’s what you really want. I’m angry too, but I’d personally rather not direct my anger at other feminists. You and Atoureta obviously both care about women’s rights, but have different ideas about how they should come about. That’s all I’m trying to say.

  47. ShifterCat
    Posted June 20, 2009 at 11:58 pm | Permalink

    I know, so much of that discussion was frustrating. There were so many things I wished Stewart would address, like:
    - Nobody disputes that a zygote is alive, they just dispute that it’s a person.
    - It’s stupid to compare abortion to eldercare, because nobody disputes that an elder is a person; try comparing it to the decision a family must make when someone ends up badly brain-damaged and on life-support.
    - Laws requiring parental consent would endanger the well-being, and possibly the lives, of some girls.

  48. ghostorchid
    Posted June 21, 2009 at 12:25 am | Permalink

    Well, I am angry at other feminists, so I consider them an appropriate direction for my anger.
    Nothing gets better when I’m nice and nothing gets worse when I’m not.

  49. Lynne C.
    Posted June 21, 2009 at 1:48 am | Permalink

    No. Arabia, Yemen, etc. Where they do cover themselves in all black. These countries are mostly desert, and have extreme temperatures.

  50. iheartchai
    Posted June 21, 2009 at 2:24 am | Permalink

    ghostorchild, thank you so much for your contribution. I agree with everything you wrote.
    I am absolutely disgusted by B. Atoureta’s thinly veiled racism and i cant believe how many +s she has received for her fucked up comments.
    Why aren’t more people on this site calling her out on her anti-immigrant racist crap? Because she says it nicely and calls herself a feminist? You have every right to be angry. im angry
    Dealing with mostly white and liberal (as opposed to leftist) feminist spaces is becoming almost impossible for me.

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