20 May 2010

Smile, part II

Obviously I was less than clear in my previous.

When dashing off that bobtail post, I was trying to co-ordinate a few trains of thought. The first was the abomination of the puptent people. The whole burka thing is a recently conjured concept, dating back only a hundred years or so by some estimations.

I find the practice abhorrent for more than one reason..

The first is the treatment of women as property. The idea is that "she's so completely mine that you can't even look at her. The subtext is "women are too loathsome even to be seen", or alternatively "Men cannot be trusted to look upon this fine chick without jumping her immediately".

The intellectual conflict is, I trust, obvious. We're talking Blue Angel writ big.

The second reason is akin to the first - that not being able to see the face dehumanizes the wearer of the veil. This is no longer a fellow human with a face, but merely a cipher to be asked "paper of plastic", with no interest in the weather or how are the kids.

Here's a third factor - intimidation. I can be an absolute shit if you can't see my face. I've done enough contracting work in households with veiled women to know never to take another job of work there.

The fourth should be plain to see - that wearing a mask is scary, at least to those on the outside of the mask. I understand that there's a reason for the keffiah - the traditional headdress of the Arabs, Persians, and Bedouins. It keeps the sand out of your mouth when watching your flocks and so on. Having your face covered when in the city on the other hand means you are concealing your identify and are up to no good. Most banks (exemplum gratiia) won't let you in if you're wearing a mask.

So why is it done?

To show that it can be done. That a culture can be subverted, hoist on its own petard, that tolerance of a minority can cause the ruling body to inflict upon a majority the beliefs of a minority.

The Koran dictates "modest clothing" for both men and women. The definition of "modest" is open to debate (I presume) , but arguments on definition tend inexorably to become more limiting rather than less. This is not healthy for children and other living things (notice the retro 60s cite, kiddos).

I wish our new Miss America the best, and hope that she does not find herself the target of hatred and fatwah.

Paragraph 3 of my previous post might make more sense in light of this posting.

BTW, spellcheck fails to recognize "puptent" and "burka", as well as "exemplium gratia" Gotta teach the program some Latin.

And now the

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