women, hijab, oppression

a comment i made on degrouchyowl’s web site a while ago was brought into question by someone
so let me now explain it

someone stated:
How patently strange that you people think a western woman exercising her right to choose is oppressed and a muslim woman under a dress code is free–very odd � very pathetic.

and to it i replied:
multi-culturalism is the way to go

diversity vs. assimilation

the non-muslims bring up some important points (though not all are valid) especially this last one
when a western woman chooses, she’s oppressed by the media
when a muslim woman chooses, she’s choosing (choosing not to choose)


go canada

what i mean is this, a common muslim argument to defend an islamic state where hijab would be mandatory is “but western women are oppressed by the popular culture and media to conform to rigid standards”
i don’t deny that pop culture has an immense influence upon the standards of dressing of women
however, it is not law
a girl who dons the hijab in canada or america is, by defintion, a western woman
but she has not been forced by the culture or the law to throw away the hijab and adopt the ‘western’ way of dress
on the contrary, her choice is (more often than not) respected by law
[this is not taking into account states like turkey, or france or the province of quebec, where hijab is in many cases not allowed -- i'm talking about canada, as my post says -- and even in france and quebec, the hijabi can take her case to court]

on the other hand, if we go to this ‘islamic state,’ women would be forced to wear the hijab, by law (e.g., taliban’s afghanistan)
they would not have the choice to remove it if they willed, and they would not be able to take their case to court

there are, here, two types of oppression, if that is a proper word to use
in the west, its media influence
in the case of the ‘islamic state,’ it’s a binding law that makes it illegal to choose or refuse the hijab

that’s the point i’m making

but let’s say you have a patriarchical family who’s moved to the west
and the father makes his daughters or wife wear the hijab
here, once again, is oppression

say you have a western family who move to pakistan or something
and the father disallows his daughters or wife from wearing the hijab
then yes, that, too is oppression

but the latter doesn’t happen much too often

of course, there are families where the parents disallow their daughters from wearing the hijab, for whatever reason
that, too, is oppression

i use the word broadly, there’s much to the issue of oppression

anyway, that was my point

  del.icio.us this!

4 Responses so far

  1. 1

    yaser said,

    October 19, 2003 @ 2:07 am

    go sleep noaman.

  2. 2

    ~SaNasHINe~ said,

    October 19, 2003 @ 3:01 am

    thankx for goin thru the trouble…appreciate it

  3. 3

    Waleed said,

    October 19, 2003 @ 5:31 am

    I agree with you on this on Nomes. Many a time, a statement is repeated so many times that its orginal (and perhaps true) context is lost, misplaced, forgotten , and it’s just thrown around.


  4. 4

    Faiza said,

    October 19, 2003 @ 4:24 pm

    Canada’s the coolest.

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