14.7.10

Who is the boss of me?


Image courtesy of Graeme Weatherston / FreeDigitalPhotos.net



So France has decided to tell women what they cannot wear. They cannot wear the full face veil in public. Men that force women to wear a veil are also punished. (with a prison term, while the women are ‘only’ fined)


At what point is a government wrong when it tells people how to dress, is telling a woman she cannot wear revealing clothes wrong? Is telling her she cannot cover up wrong? Where is the line? Is there a line or a long shadow of grey.


I am tempted to wear a veil in public purely to spite governments that say I can’t. Much as I enjoy supporting the Naked Rambler in his attempts to prove nudity is a personal choice, and not illegal, much as I sunbathe topless where it is ‘forbidden’.


Who controls our bodies? Who should decide what we wear.(or don't wear)?


Can a government ever proscribe our dress while claiming to be on our side?


Comments actively welcomed, but not stupid racist ones (which will be deleted) thank you

PS My lovely twinny VBinCatalunya blogged beautifully on this subject here

16 comments:

  1. Hmm I see that France has followed my own little corner of the world in imposing this ludicrous ban.

    I wrote last month about the banning of the Burqa in Catalonia.

    http://www.veryboredincatalunya.com/2010/06/two-oppressions-dont-make-right.html

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  2. I also blogged about this a while back. Couldn't believe that there were more burqa's in the UK than in the Muslim city I was living in in Bosnia.

    http://britsinbosnia.blogspot.com/2010/04/covered-up.html if you are interested!

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  3. Typical knee jerk reactions to something that is in truth nothing to do with government.
    If anything it furthers other causes by giving them more "Persecution" to list (and in this case rightly so).

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  4. I did not know that. I think it is wrong for the government to tell you what you should and shouldn't wear but it is also wrong for a woman's husband to tell her what to wear. It should be up to the individual.

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  5. Am ALL about not forcing women to wear something in the name of ....well, anything they don't actively believe. But punishing women for wearing it? Going a tad far. If they are being forced into it, you are punishing the victim. And if not? Leave 'em the hell alone!

    Thank God no one's decided my not wearing skinny jeans is a sign of my repression. Because this? Would just not fit in those.

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  6. *Very Bored in Catalunya* has a good point on her blog, if these women ARE oppressed and being 'made' to wear this they will probably now be confined to the house and no longer allowed out....less freedom, not more.

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  7. No one should have the right to tell someone else how to dress. It is sad that our world still allows such stupidity

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  8. From what I can make out this the burqa is a non-issue where people feel they wish to where it for personal reasons.

    however do not be suprised if you are asked to remove such a garment for reasons of security or to perform your job so your voice is not muffled.

    From what I can tell (and I am willing to be corrected by someone with a valid quote) The Holy Qur’an does not state that women must face cover rather this is a practise normal to only certain sections of the muslim/islamic community.

    No-one should ever be forced to where anything they do not want to (this is not the same as a uniform) and if the sole purpose of a garment is to hide someone, in our ever security concious times do not be suprised if governments make moves to tighten rules.

    That say I would say its a basic violation of someones human rights to ban an item of clothing.

    Before anyone says that people are required to dress "modestly" the burqua is not modest it is all-encompassing. But what everyone is missing here is interpretation.

    That said if no-ones being hurt there is no reason to ban it... are people being hurt ??? thats the question.

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  9. I have decided that mascara is oppressing women. Women could not possibly of their own free will choose to wear this stuff; it makes the eyes heavy and sore and can even make it difficult to see.

    Clearly, mascara is a symbol of patriarchal oppression! Women only wear it because men make them! If women had a totally free choice there is no way in the world they would wear mascara!

    Therefore, in my infinite wisdom, I have decided to ban it. Women wearing mascara will be fined; men forcing women to wear mascara will be jailed. It will be hard to prove that a man is forcing a woman to wear mascara, but any man caught looking wistfully at the Boots Number Seven mascara advert with Keeley Hawes in it will be suspected.

    This will liberate! women! from male! oppression! Down with mascara! Free women's eyelashes!

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  10. Yes, you hit the nail on the head Mummy!

    I can't understand how the government don't realize that forcing a person *not* to wear something is every bit as oppressive as forcing them to wear it!

    The word here should be 'choice'. I have a (white) Muslim friend who doesn't have to cover her arms and legs because she and her husband are really laid back, but she feels that this is the right thing to do in order to express her modesty as a Muslim woman.

    It annoys me the people who are the most vocal supporters of bans like this seem to be white, non-Muslim, and predominantly male who obviously haven't looked at the practical and psychological implications for a women being forced to dress in a way she feels is immodest. I am so sick and tired of my fellow countrymen just not...*thinking* and informing themselves fully before sharing their opinions with the world.

    My friend Natalia lived in Jordan for a while and the roles were reversed when she had to cover up in public. It inspired an extremely interesting article. I think anyone who thinks they know where they stand on this subject should check all the nuances of the subject before proclaiming too loudly.

    It's just sad that the government is more keen to restrict Muslim women than it is to punish the people who commit hate crimes and use hate speech against them.

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  11. See what I did there?

    And yet, there's a serious point. In a world totally free of male oppression, would I still wear - as an example - mascara? I mean, isn't makeup itself a kind of a mask to hide your "real self" from public gaze? But no one is talking about banning that (well, okay, except maybe some very extreme radfems. And my mother). Wonder why?

    Let's think. Who is it wears the burqua again? Oh, that's right. muslim women.

    Thing is, nothing that we wear is totally free from some kind of societal constraint. I'm sure some women wear the burqua as as free a choice as is my choice to wear mascara / other forms of makeup (and I suspect that no, that isn't an entirely free choice - and I'm talking from the perspective of a woman who prefers women to men, too). And some women wear it perhaps, yes, because they are forced to.

    How many non-Muslim women partnered with a man can say that they've never, ever, ever chosen to wear or not to wear something because he did or did not approve? I mean, crikey, I know a fair number of women who wax their pubes because their husbands like it that way! But again, no one is talking about banning that.

    Security reasons? Well, yeah, but there are ways around that. A blanket ban so isn't one of those ways.

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  12. Rosemary Cottage Said:

    How many non-Muslim women partnered with a man can say that they've never, ever, ever chosen to wear or not to wear something because he did or did not approve?

    Me. Any guy who tries to tell me what to do, think or wear gets the boot faster than you can say 'Not on your nelly, pal!'. This probably explains why I'm 37, single and have a cat *lol*. But that's ok, I like to give people a choice - take me as I am or make sure the door doesn't hit your ass on the way out :).

    I mean, crikey, I know a fair number of women who wax their pubes because their husbands like it that way! But again, no one is talking about banning that.

    I consider waxing a form of cruel and unusual treatment myself so maybe they should ban it! :P

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  13. Lol - but Gaina, I did say "partnered with a man", and if you're single (as am I; one kid two cats and I don't dress for any of them) you're not in that group I'm talking about. :P

    Joking aside, I do think it's impossible to completely separate your sartorial choices from what society/kyriarchy has dictated. I mean, even on a most basic level, unless you make all your own clothes from scratch you are to some extent at the mercy of the (pretty misogynistic) clothes industry (even if you shop at charity shops you're at the mercy of the clothes industry of, say, five years or so ago).

    I don't think anyone can ever utterly separate their choices from the dictates of society at large. Even - for example - butch lesbians (I'm fairly femme myself) are reacting against patriarchal standards for women's clothing, which means it is still influenced by those standards.

    And I don't like waxing either. I prefer veet. ;-P

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  14. Rosemary Cottage said...

    Lol - but Gaina, I did say "partnered with a man", and if you're single (as am I; one kid two cats and I don't dress for any of them) you're not in that group I'm talking about. :P


    Haha, well I was in that group until I realized I liked who I was already more than I liked him. :P

    Joking aside, I do think it's impossible to completely separate your sartorial choices from what society/kyriarchy has dictated. I mean, even on a most basic level, unless you make all your own clothes from scratch you are to some extent at the mercy of the (pretty misogynistic) clothes industry (even if you shop at charity shops you're at the mercy of the clothes industry of, say, five years or so ago).

    Yeah I can see what you're saying, and that's a hard one for me to answer to be honest because my attitude to clothing is not very typically female - If I'm warm, clean and I smell OK, I'm good to go!

    I have such a hard job finding clothes to accommodate my mild scoliosis that I often resort to Men's t-shirts because all the Women's tops are tailored for a waist I don't have!

    I don't think anyone can ever utterly separate their choices from the dictates of society at large. Even - for example - butch lesbians (I'm fairly femme myself) are reacting against patriarchal standards for women's clothing, which means it is still influenced by those standards.

    Yes, I hear women in various age brackets complaining because they don't necessarily want to wear the style of clothes that high street shops have assigned to their age group.

    And I don't like waxing either. I prefer veet. ;-P

    Haha. One encounter with a wax strip was enough for me - never again! :P I don't use Veet as it's made by Proctor and Gamble, who test on animals. I find 'Nads' is a good brand and bunny friendly too!

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  16. Hmm, didn't realise Veet was made by Proctor and Gamble... thanks!

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