Another day, another article bashing veiled women. Ho hum. How tedious, how unoriginal, you may say. Isn’t there anything else going on in the world, you may ask, that Thenewcomer feels the need to bash mohajabeen? What harm do they do you?
No, Gentle reader. As long as there exists this evil, oppressive system which forces women to wrap yards of cloth around their heads and body in order to protect them from the lustful male gaze, there needs to be an article every fucking day talking about it. Black people in South Africa didn’t stop talking about the apartheid, did they? Jewish people never stop reminding us about the Holocaust, do they, because they are afraid of sounding unoriginal and tedious? They are right to do so. So, as long as there are women walking round with their heads and bodies covered, we need to continue to talking about what a backwards, ignorant, cruel, discriminatory and oppressive worldview they subscribe to. And hope that some day they can snap out of it.
Of course, the matter touches me personally. I come from a country where the police have the authority to physically punish women who do not obey the dress code. My aunt, who walks around shrouded in a black chador, was arrested for being outside with a bi-hejab woman, it was only by pulling a lot of strings and some hefty bribes that she escaped a flogging. One of my former colleagues was arrested and flogged for her hair showing. These things happen all the time, only because they are random, and because a lot of time you can walk outside with a good chance of not being abused, or “getting off” with a verbal warning, nobody talks about it. The fact that the dress code in Iran, hijab, is only and simply a instrument to control, harass and abuse women can hardly be disputed.
But here, in the bosom of the West? What harm is there? Surely it is a personal choice?
The fact that it is a personal choice -if it is, for of course the mechanisms of family and private control are proven to be even more insidious and horrible than those of state and public control- simply makes it worse. The hijab is simply one, highly visible manifestation of a worldview which sees women as ultimately inferior to men, and dangerous to them. A veiled woman in Regents Park is offensive to me, personally, for I know she believes in things which are harmful to me, my daughter, my sister, my son and my brothers, to men and women everywhere. So long as there exists a state which forces women to wear the veil, no one can claim that their choice to wear the hijab “personal” or “private”- it is a highly political, and the politics of it are abuse, repression and cruelty against women. Remember that, veiled women. Every time you step out with your hair covered, you are claiming solidarity with a system which physically and publicly abuses, harasses and controls women in the name of religion. Fuck you and your fluttering veil.