Should feminists approve a woman's choice to wear a niqab or burqa?
Debate Rounds (3)
My simple argument:
1. It hurts no one else if you wear a burqa or niqab.
2. Therefore, it should be approved.
ErinMagner forfeited this round.
Kumquatodor forfeited this round.
http://shariahinamericancourts.com... This decision was later overturned, as it clearly conflicted with American civil law, and was not permitted under the guise of religious freedom.
My opponent presents a simple argument that wearing a burqa or a niqab (what I will sometimes refer to as "the veil") hurts no one, and it therefore should be approved by people who believe in feminism. I counter that the issue is one of great complexity, and that reducing it down to a simple matter of clothing choice not only minimizes the suffering of women under the system of purdah, but that pandering to this logic also threatens the freedoms that feminists have fought for and hold sacred. I want to make clear that I am not referring to the hijab when I refer to the veil, which is meant to convey Muslim identity, piousness, and modesty, but does not suppress women through sexual discrimination. I make the assumption that when my opponent says "hurts no one" he means that it does not inflict physical violence on anyone. Of course, it is an article of clothing, and although certain fashions can be painful or even harmful, the burqa and niqab do not inflict physical pain on the wearer. But by this logic, forcing or coercing women to wear the burqa or niqab would similarly hurt no one, and therefore no injustice is done, except that of denying a woman her free choice. This is of course not the case. Where the veil has been forced on women, it has always been meant to assert that masculine is powerful and dominant and feminine is weak and invisible. The veil is an abuse of power, is inherently unjust, and the basic tenants of feminism claim that all humans are equal regardless of sex, and that sexual discrimination is therefore unnatural. History has shown that feminists, especially Muslim feminists when fighting for women"s rights, were calling the veil, a barrier to women"s advancement, and associate it with the laws that keep women out of the public, barred from voting or even driving cars. In fact, Hoda Shaarawi, founder of the Egyptian Feminist Union, publicly removed her veil in May 1923 as a symbolic act of far-reaching significance. Any feminist from a Muslim country would regard the veil as being backward, anti-social, an expression of male dominance that asserts men as the sex-subjects and reduces women to mere sex-objects. The inequality is real, and women continue to suffer today.
Why is the veil itself so unjust? Is it not a religious garment that is meant to convey a woman"s purity, modesty, and piousness? Not at all! In some ways, the veil isn"t even a true part of Islam. Most Islamic scholars agree that a hijab, which covers a woman"s hair, arms, and legs, is required for women in Islam, and that both women and men should both avert their eyes when in public to respect each other"s modesty. However, while some say that the burqa or niqab are required or "preferred", the niqab actually is not allowed in the holiest of Muslim places: when you make the hajj to Mecca. If you wear the veil when you make the hajj, you have committed a sin, and you must take action to cleanse yourself of the sin. Instead of being used to convey a woman"s piousness, the veil has been used time and time again to hold women responsible for when a man acts on feelings of sexual entitlement, and punish the woman who is the victim of abuse and harassment, especially by those cultures that require the veil to be worn. In both Australia and Denmark, the Mufti have made statements in response to women being raped that echo this one by Sheik al-Hilali: "If you take out uncovered meat and place it outside on the street, or in the garden or in the park, or in the backyard without a cover, and the cats come and eat it..whose fault is it - the cats or the uncovered meat? The uncovered meat is the problem"If she was in her room, in her home, in her hijab (veil), no problem would have occurred."
Women in countries that wear the niqab and burqa are often the victims of domestic abuse, or disfiguring acid attacks, which conceals the abuse and encourages women to cover their faces. http://www.albawaba.com...
The niqab and burqa therefore are a part of purdah, which is a cultural device meant to keep women concealed from men. It can be used to enforce male dominance, and it can also solve the inconvenient problem of women being sexually harassed or raped, without actually punishing the harasser or rapist, especially if he was respected in society. In many Gulf countries, often a woman will be punished for going to the authorities and asking for justice after being raped. Although it against the law and against Islam to punish the victim for being raped, the accuser gets punished for a different crime such as illicit sex or adultery, which makes it difficult to prove the rape. The punishments are brutal, consisting of lashing, stoning, and result with at least disfigurement, and often death. Keep in mind, this still occurs today. http://www.fortliberty.org...
Many women in violent Muslim countries will wear a burqa or a niqab for just this purpose: to avoid being sexually harassed or raped. In societies where women have won freedom from these oppressive circumstances, these horrors are unknown to us. Could you imagine wearing a short skirt to work, being sexually harassed by your employer, then being told by the justice system that it was your fault, punish you and brutally disfigure you, and that new legislation would be passed to prevent women from tempting men in this manner? This sort of thinking is ridiculous, and it is not a part of any religion, not a part of Islam. In a secular society, feminists have fought for legal protection for women from being sexually discriminated against by men, and punish men for harassing and raping women. Nearly every woman who says she chooses to wear the niqab or burqa cites as her reason that she feels free from harassment by men to focus on Allah and her religion. But with legal protection from harassment, why choose to wear a cumbersome piece of clothing that not only creates a barrier that requires extra effort to communicate (non-verbally), eat, and be identified, but also creates symbolic barriers because the veil is part of a system of backwardness and oppression? To see a woman choose to believe that she is responsible for a man"s sexual advances, and that he is not responsible to avert his eyes, or protect her modesty with his own actions, is absurd and completely against all feminist ideology. If this logic were presented to a court of law regarding a sexual harassment case, we would dismiss it as incorrect and against our beliefs.
By approving of this custom, we threaten the freedoms feminists have fought for. Just because it is wrong to ban women from wearing the veil, it doesn"t mean the veil is right. It might seem benign as an article of clothing, but as an idea it becomes clear why we need to separate the culture from the religion. In Australia, a man from Afghanistan tried to argue that "cultural differences" led him to rape women. The judge denied his plea, because sexual entitlement is not a religious belief. What he did was wrong. All feminists must hold men to a standard of self control, instead of opting to hide in veils.
Sifting through your wall of text, I have identified your argument.
It is true that these garmets are symbols of oppression. However, this does not matter, because the women can choose to wear them.
This is at the heart of any feminist movement: the right to wear whatever you want.
Now, I agree that forcing people to wear the garmet is wrong. However, we are debating whether or not choosing to wear them should be approved. It does not hurt anyone, so therefore, it should be approved.
1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by SloppyJoe6412 3 years ago
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Reasons for voting decision: It is with some pity that I cast this vote, because I partially agree with Con's position, but the question was poorly posed. The feminist movements (it's not just one) are not in a position to approve or disapprove personal choices. At most they can cast their opinion, but one common trait of feminists is to empower women's personal choices. So the Con position can't be right by definition.
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