A Muslim Woman Against the Burqa

From Feministing, worth reading in full:

But then the argument goes: surely for the women who choose to wear the burqa, the garment is a choice not a tool for suppression. This argument obscures the fact that there is a pervasive, sexist propaganda in many Muslim communities in favor of the burqa. Many women are vulnerable to this propaganda and so their so-called choice to wear a burqa may not be the result of independent, informed decision-making. Moreover, even an independent decision to wear a burqa is not carried out in a vacuum. It is important to understand the effect of this choice on other Muslim women, many of whom may be trying to resist the pressure of their relatives, their community or their governments to wear the burqa. Their resistance is undermined when the burqa becomes increasingly common in public places, and becomes more closely associated with the religion of Islam.

The ban might encourage them to resist the pressure to wear the burqa. It might also encourage the Muslim community to think critically about the garment and whether it is compatible with modern, secular society in which women and men are equals.

But doesn’t the burqa counter sexual-objectification?

In the public place a woman wearing a burqa does not have an identity. When she walks down the street, you know you see a woman, but you know nothing more about her: what she looks like, whether she is smiling or frowning, does she seem kind or unfriendly. If you see the same woman the next day, you will not be able to tell it is her. In some sense, a burqa leads to the most perverse kind of sexual objectification – a woman wearing it is identified by absolutely nothing other than her sex: she is a nameless, faceless, shapeless “woman” and nothing more.

About Daniel Fincke

Dr. Daniel Fincke  has his PhD in philosophy from Fordham University and spent 11 years teaching in college classrooms. He wrote his dissertation on Ethics and the philosophy of Friedrich Nietzsche. On Camels With Hammers, the careful philosophy blog he writes for a popular audience, Dan argues for atheism and develops a humanistic ethical theory he calls “Empowerment Ethics”. Dan also teaches affordable, non-matriculated, video-conferencing philosophy classes on ethics, Nietzsche, historical philosophy, and philosophy for atheists that anyone around the world can sign up for. (You can learn more about Dan’s online classes here.) Dan is an APPA  (American Philosophical Practitioners Association) certified philosophical counselor who offers philosophical advice services to help people work through the philosophical aspects of their practical problems or to work out their views on philosophical issues. (You can read examples of Dan’s advice here.) Through his blogging, his online teaching, and his philosophical advice services each, Dan specializes in helping people who have recently left a religious tradition work out their constructive answers to questions of ethics, metaphysics, the meaning of life, etc. as part of their process of radical worldview change.

  • Claire

    “a burqa leads to the most perverse kind of sexual objectification – a woman wearing it is identified by absolutely nothing other than her sex: she is a nameless, faceless, shapeless “woman” and nothing more.”

    Works like that whatever we’re wearing.


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