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Sexism and the hijab

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JoS
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Sexism and the hijab 2012-09-30 23:20:39 Reply

So I had a thought about sexist views about the hijab and I've come to the conclusion, the people looking to ban the hijab are the ones who are sexist, not those fighting to keep it.

Why do we have a problem with the hijab? People feel women are forced to wear it and have no say in it, even though many women choose, independently of male relatives, to wear them.

Now, why do I think it is the people trying to ban them that are sexist. Its simple, there is very few people who are saying we should ban the dastar (Sikh turban). On the contrary exemptions for males wearing the dastar are regularly made in everything from motorcycle helmet laws to police and military wearing them in the course of their duties. The most obvious difference between the dastar and the hijab,one is worn by men and one is worn by women.


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Angry-Hatter
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Response to Sexism and the hijab 2012-10-01 00:03:42 Reply

That is an interesting thought, but I don't think that your comparison between the dastar and the hijab holds water. For one, while it is a cultural and religious custom for Sikh men to wear a turban, the male sex is dominant in that culture (much like it is in practically every other highly religious culture in the world), so there is a clear difference in the power dynamic involved. If men are being pressured to wear turbans, then it is mainly other men who are pressuring them, not women. The opposite is not the case when it comes to the niqab and the hijab in Muslim culture.


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JoS
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Response to Sexism and the hijab 2012-10-01 01:36:37 Reply

So is it okay if a father pressures his son to wear a dastar or patka, but its not okay for a father to pressure his daughter to wear a hijab? See the double standard here?


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Response to Sexism and the hijab 2012-10-01 02:20:14 Reply

At 10/1/12 01:36 AM, JoS wrote: So is it okay if a father pressures his son to wear a dastar or patka, but its not okay for a father to pressure his daughter to wear a hijab? See the double standard here?

Not saying that it's OK either way, just that you are comparing apples to oranges to a certain extent. A male dominated culture exerting pressure on males to dress a certain way is not as obviously sexist as a male dominated culture exerting pressure on women to dress a certain way. In particular, the hijab or the niqab can be regarded as symbols of submission and modesty, whereas the dastar is a symbol of significant pride, piety and courage, among other things. It's true that both are garments that are more or less mandated through their respective cultures and religions, but the reasons for why they are mandated are completely different.

It's the difference between, say, a male-run company mandating that it's male employees wear a suit and tie to work, and a male-run company mandating that it's female employees wear short skirts and high heels to work. The power dynamic changes drastically based on who is in charge and making the mandate, as well as what the respective mandates represents in that particular culture (i.e. in my example; suit and tie = respectable, professional, successful; short skirts and high heels = objectified, sexualized, diminished).


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Camarohusky
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Response to Sexism and the hijab 2012-10-01 10:52:29 Reply

Actually, I don't think it's sexist at all. It's roots are in racism and it's extremely hypocritical.

Look at some of the US religions. Mormonism highly encourages women to stay at home and pump out/raise lots of babies. We Americans see that as "A women's freedom to choose her own life" when in actuality she could, and is likely, to be cast out of the community (or the lesser included punishment of shunning) for working or not getting married.

Numerous other sects of fundamentalist Christianity have the same views toward women outside of the home. Again, we brush it off as new wave feminism.

So why is the hijab any different? Because the women are Middle Eastern and need Emma Stone to come down and Help them because brownies aren't strong enough to help themselves. Some of the strongest women I know are Muslim and they choose to wear such garments.

So either, start treating the "bitch, take off your shoes and pump out a baby while making me a pie" doctrine of many US religions like this, or leave the hijab issue alone.

Jmayer20
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Response to Sexism and the hijab 2012-10-01 17:07:51 Reply

I think we should let the woman decide if she wants to wear it. If she does then we should except it. If she doesn't and her husband is trying to make her wear it then we should support her and protect her from her husband. Ether way it should be her choice whether or not she wants to wear it. Not her husband and not the government.

morefngdbs
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Response to Sexism and the hijab 2012-10-01 20:16:53 Reply

IMO the problem withit is CHOICE

In many countries THEY HAVE NO CHOICE.
Look at the recent bullshit with the Muslims women being deported from Mecca because they are with other female friends .... because they are not traveling with their owner/master
Oh sorry , I got the titles wrong (actually I'm 100% right but they choose to call themselves these titles)

By traveling without their *husband* or *male relative* they are treated like criminals & deported from a destination their religion tells them they have to make at least once in their life time ! ! !

See the Problem ?
THey Ain't Got NO FUCKING CHOICE !
They do what they are told , when they are told & jump as high as they are told or ELSE !

That is the problem & the pressure for them to dress as they are told is constant & unrelenting. I have family who have been to Saudi Arabia I have friends living there right now. THe pressure on my friends wife to not drive, to cover her hair is subtle & nonstop.

IF they actually had a choice & if they decided.... Today I'm not going to bother with my head dress & no one batted an eye or arrested her or attacked her etc . I wouldn't have a problem with it....but they don't have a choice dude & that is wrong.


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RydiaLockheart
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Response to Sexism and the hijab 2012-10-01 20:46:57 Reply

Thinking in practical terms, the full-faced hijab can be a security risk. Awfully easy to rob a bank with one on, for one. Banks and other government buildings don't permit people to wear hats, hoodies, and sunglasses, and the hijab certainly counts as a head covering. But I don't see too many men (at least where I live) wearing turbans, so I don't hear of them having to remove them.

JoS
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Response to Sexism and the hijab 2012-10-01 21:55:20 Reply

At 10/1/12 08:46 PM, RydiaLockheart wrote: Thinking in practical terms, the full-faced hijab can be a security risk. Awfully easy to rob a bank with one on, for one. Banks and other government buildings don't permit people to wear hats, hoodies, and sunglasses, and the hijab certainly counts as a head covering. But I don't see too many men (at least where I live) wearing turbans, so I don't hear of them having to remove them.

Hijab just covers the head, niqab covers the face, burka covers the whole body. I see people wearing hats or glasses inside banks all the time. And like I said even the US Army made an exemption to allow a Sikh officer to wear a turban and keep a beard.


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Dawnslayer
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Response to Sexism and the hijab 2012-10-01 23:11:08 Reply

Some background info about the hijab: from what I understand, it's actually considered self-empowering to wear one in Muslim culture. Any skepticism following that sentence is reasonable, but hear me out (I'll explain this as best as I can):

In the West, we associate sexism with an era where women had to wear ankle-length dresses, put their hair in a bun, and marry whoever they were told to. Even swimsuits were ankle-length at first. What we consider empowering mostly goes in the other direction: a woman doesn't have to wear an ankle-length dress if she would rather wear jeans, shorts, slacks, a bikini, or what have you. But to a hypothetical Muslim woman, she might see another woman dressed in a skirt and tank top - something perfectly normal in our culture - and think to herself, 'she's practically asking for men to stare at her.' This is because to women in Muslim culture, to reveal oneself is submissive, and female empowerment is achieved through concealment of the self, as if to say to men, 'You can look, but you won't see anything.' (I can't recall the name of my source, but I can tell you she's an American Muslim woman, who opts to not wear anything over her head.)

This is by no means an absolute rule; there are predominantly Muslim countries where not wearing a veil or dressing in a skirt and tank top is just fine; nobody thinks anything of it. Then you have places like, say, Saudi Arabia, where there certainly is a strict dress code forced upon women, and that is undoubtedly sexist and domineering. But if the woman chooses to wear a veil over her hair or her face, for religious reasons or otherwise, then forcing her to not wear it (as is the case in France right now) really isn't any better, in spite of whatever good intentions there may be. It's like saying, 'Oh, you want to cover up so men won't be ogling you? Too bad, they can stare all they want and you're not allowed to do anything about it.' Sexist? Maybe not. But it's certainly ignorant.

Jmayer20
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Response to Sexism and the hijab 2012-10-02 22:50:21 Reply

At 10/1/12 08:16 PM, morefngdbs wrote: IMO the problem withit is CHOICE

In many countries THEY HAVE NO CHOICE.

There is nothing we can do about that in other country's but we can give them the choice in our country.

JoS
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Response to Sexism and the hijab 2012-10-08 19:15:30 Reply

Its is certainly a more convoluted issue then it is often presented by political leaders, activists and the media. While we agree that women shouldn't be forced to cover themselves up, there are many women who choose on their own to do so. How do we empower these women while at the same time liberate those who do not get to choose?

And why do we only look at hijabs, why nto head coverings on women in other religious groups, like Hutterites?

I don't think we can, and least not through legislation.


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