Sadly, public controversy over how women dress isn’t new. Is it appropriate to constrict our bodies into whalebone stays? Should we be allowed to display our ankles? May we wear pants in order to enjoy more freedom of movement? Should we be allowed to show our knees? May we uncover our heads in church? Are three inch heels a good idea? Can we take our shirts off in public on a hot day? Can we choose to cover ourselves for the sake of modesty? Telling women what we can wear and not wear is one of the hallmarks of patriarchies, one of the ways women are controlled. Turning womens’ dress into a political/election issue constitutes a herring so red, there’s no Crayola set in the world that could do it justice.
- You can’t become a citizen without rigorous screening and multiple obligations to prove you are who you say you are.
- Canada is a country defined by diversity. Anyone who sets out to try and make this country look the way it did 100 or even 50 years ago will be pushing that boulder up the hill eternally.
- Because you have the ability to see something doesn’t mean you have an express entitlement to see everything; not seeing the face of the person you’re dealing with does absolutely no harm to you.
- Regardless of one’s emotional response to the choices people make about their dress, legislating those choices starts any society down a dangerous road.
- I can’t think of one item of male garb that has ever elicited anything more than a sneer in our society.
- The planet is being slow-cooked and toxified, and we face problems of unprecedented severity. Pretending this issue has political significance constitutes criminal misdirection.
One argument I’ve heard put forth in favour of banning the niqab is the assertion that there’s a profound and intolerable discomfort in not being able to see someone’s face in a social situation. Welcome to my world! As a blind person, I never get to see the face of the person I’m talking to. My misfortune? Perhaps, and yet I manage to soldier on through my life each day: big deal. When the disorientation of not seeing what one is accustomed to seeing becomes the springboard for telling others how they can and can’t look, we have become morally effete
This doesn’t feel like an issue of Islamophobia to me; it feels like a very old scenario in which women aren’t trusted to make choices for ourselves. Is it the right thing to do for women to veil ourselves? Do I have a right to see every person’s face? Must every Canadian citizen present themselves to the country in the same way? These are provocative questions to enliven a dinner party or to debate in a classroom, but they’re not issues of national significance.