Anyone who reads this blog knows that I am not a fan of the ban of the niqab in France, or the similar proposed ban in Quebec. Every argument for it has been pretty effectively squished.
1) It’s a symbol of oppression — many women choose to wear it as a reflection of deeply held belief and identity. Who are you to tell a woman she’s oppressed? What, she needs someone to do that for her? She’s not capable of deciding for herself? Yes, that’s liberation.
2) We need to see your face, for both security and service — women who veil are perfectly willing to show their faces when necessary to an official. They prefer it be a woman official, but if that’s not a possibility that’s okay. They have images of themselves without their veil or coverings, and they’re okay with their id showing their faces. They just don’t want it on display for the public. Think breast exams, Western women. We’ll do it because we need to, but we’re not thrilled and we won’t let anyone who doesn’t need to do it do it!
It goes on and on. There’s more to say on this, of course, but for now, I wanted to share a headline that caught my eye.
In France, two students (one in poli sci, one in communications) has decided to create a tongue in cheek critique of the niqab ban. They’ve donned the niqab, leaving only their eyes visible from the waste up, but are wearing miniskirts with bare legs exposed down to their high heels. They’re strutting past ministerial offices and calling themselves the “niqabitches.” And they’re definitely getting people talking.
They’re clear that their aim is not to antagonize fundamentalist Muslims, but rather are poking at a political angle. They felt that wearing a full burqa would be too simple, and wanted to generate more conversation. They’ve created a video out of this, and all seem to agree that when it’s released it will be an internet sensation.
I for one can’t wait to see it!
By the way, does anyone else find it creepy that if a woman wears a niqab when the ban is in place, she could be sentenced to “a course of citizenship lessons”?