Thursday, July 7, 2011

Lucia Why the burka is a terrible garment

I was really struck by this comment on Kiwiblog by Sarkozygroupie yesterday:

As a green-eyed, blonde western woman and having had the very dubious pleasure of having to abide by Islamic dress codes in several Islamic countries I can attest that after a very short while, the psychological efffects of having to cover up from head to toe continuously, and to be constantly aware of the need to make sure the veil is fixed in place lest (at the very least) great offence be caused to men forcing them to lose control (and at the worst) being taken away by the police (as actually happens), takes its toll. Very quickly I became fixated on MY responsibility not to offend any men around me, not to be seen to be anything but subservient and malleable. In the end I didn’t want to take off my veil and resisted until the last moment because it gave me a sense of security which comfortably replaced the sense of independence I had lost.

Even in the privacy of my own hotel room I had to be fully veiled if I was expecting room service (only delivered by men) or veil myself very quickly if there was a knock on the door. My bathrobe even had a hood in case a man came to my door and caught me unawares. And they did. They came at all times of the day and night, and at times when they were not supposed to be there i.e room service breakfast was to be delivered at 6am, they would arrive at 5:30 or 5am. I had men (from the hotel) asking me to unveil myself in the privacy of my room so they could look at me unadorned.

The idea that wearing a veil protects a man from being unable to control his urges upon seeing skin was in my case proven to be wholly untrue. I had a Muslim man try and enter my room twice in one evening (the second time he tried to force his way in) – the first evening I was in Iran. He stalked me for two weeks, finding out my phone number and calling me repeatedly. Waiting for me to come out of buildings, following me.

I had another man from Lebanon ask me to unveil myself on my flight to Dubai. He asked to touch me (hold my hand? touch my body?) after about two minnutes of chatting me up – he pushed an older man out of the seat next to me so he could sit by me instead. When I refused to let him he told me about his wife and children.

And somehow the behaviour of these men was my sole responsibility?
This is why the burka is a terrible garment.  It goes beyond normal clothing and puts sole responsibility for the behaviour of out-of-control men onto women by requiring that women become anonymous and hidden.  In other words, non-people.

3 comment(s):

Jeremy Harris said...

That's one of the large differences between the faiths.

As a Christian man I've been taught that I am the head of the house, that doesn't mean I'm in charge but I am called to "die" to myself first, namely - it is my job to; learn and respect the difference between male and female sexuality, control immoral thoughts, control my eyes, protect the feelings of my family that could be harmed through my actions.

All up a big helping of self control and responsibility.

Lucia Maria said...


Yes, exactly.

Foreign women that completely veil their faces that come to New Zealand do not have to be afraid of our men attacking them just for showing their faces. But obviously their own men are still a danger because that level of self-control seems not to be taught.

scrubone said...

A very interesting comment.

Clearly by pushing responsibility onto women, men have been absolutely absolved of it.

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