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Saturday, November 13, 2004

Headscarves

Bavaria has joined the dogpile on women's right to wear headscarves.

The Bavarian parliament approved the measure after Culture Minister Monika Hohlmeier argued that the headscarf was a symbol of the repression of women.

It makes me sick that they are hiding behind feminism to impose what are essentially laws restricting religious freedom. Worse, I see feminists getting all bent out of shape over this, over-intellectualizing and even justifying the headscarves.

It's very simple. The headscarves are a symbol of oppression, but it's just more oppression to ban them.

You don't combat oppression by going after women who choose to cooperate with it. You battle oppression by going after blatant oppressors, respecting freedom, and creating social structures to support women who throw off the shackles. By imposing "feminism" on women, you are trading a more severe form of oppression for a less severe one. Banning the headscarves is making women's dress as much a political football as forcing them to wear them is.

For all the dithering about fighting oppression, I find it telling that the only symbol of women's oppression they wish to attack is Muslim-specific. If they honestly thought banning these symbols would help the cause of women's equality, they would also make it illegal for women to take their husbands' names, for starters.

26 Comments:

Blogger wolfa said...

It is in fact illegal to change your name to your husband's name on marriage in Quebec. You can change your name, sure, but not to your spouse's name. It's a little odd.

11/13/2004

 
Blogger bitchphd said...

Amen, most excellent rebuttal of this idiotic headscarf bullshit I've seen yet.

I didn't know that about Quebec. Cool.

11/13/2004

 
Blogger Amanda said...

I can see why it would be tempting to create a law banning name change upon marriage, just to cut down on the bureaucracy that's been built up to handle the frequent name-changing of half the population. Still, that's just too much encroachment on freedom for my taste.

11/13/2004

 
Blogger wolfa said...

You can move to Ontario for a year and then change your name there and move back to Quebec -- but then you won't be allowed to change your name back to your birth name if you get divorced. It's in general quite difficult to change your name here: it's not specifically about preventing it at marriage, this is a side result. Obviously they don't care what name you go by socially, but your driver's license and health card go by your birth name. Bureaucracy issues, mostly. I have no intention of changing my name anyhow, so I really don't mind. It is typical of here, though: there are also rules about what you are allowed to name your children. I firmly agree with this. I had issues until the big story about parents who weren't allowed to name their child "Spatula", and I thought, well, no one should be allowed to give someone else that sort of legal name.

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