Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Burkhas and hijabs and chadors, oh my!

Maybe it's because I was married to an Iranian (who, BTW, never EVER mentioned me putting on chador--just wanted to make it clear) maybe it's the same reason that I don't like wearing turtlenecks, I dunno, but it's one of my hot-button, soapbox issues. I see someone with a scarf on her head and I just want to grab that bad boy and run like the wind, cackling like Margaret Hamilton in the Wizard of Oz. But Breda writes about it a lot better than I could.

She also makes a good point, one that I couldn't make gel the other day when talking about the difference between Muslims and the Amish in regards to women's dress (the obvious difference between the two groups is that the Amish don't blow up themselves and others, but I digress).

The difference, as Breda so succinctly puts it, is choice. Iranian (and Afghani, and Saudi, and, and, and...) women don't have a choice. Their dress is mandated and is enforced by the government in the countries in which they live. If Amish women don't want to wear the little cap, they can leave that community and enter into the wider US community. It would be a hard choice and there would be no going back, but if they feel that it's oppressive enough, they can make it. They don't have to have permission to do so.

Just like that teenaged Amish girl getting into the fancy car with the cigarette smoking bad boy is making a choice. She has the freedom to do that (she might get her butt toasted when she gets home, but she's not forced to stay inside and hide and to not go out without a male relative escort). Nor does she have to worry about her father killing or maiming her for staining his 'honor'.

I think I read one time where Amish teens leave the community and essentially go walk-about for a period of time to experience the world and make a choice about whether the Amish life is for them. Muslim women aren't allowed that opportunity, it's just into the covering and done.

Edited to change title

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