So France has officially banned the wearing of the burqa. Sigh. Others will surely follow and here in Australia we’re talking about it again. The furthest most of our pollies will go thusfar is to say the burqa makes them “feel uncomfortable” and they would prefer “women don’t wear it”, even that it is “alien to our culture”. That is to say, a culture that is invented. We are incredibly multicultural here. We are built on immigration. Australia is not a nation merely of beer-swilling hard-working farmers, tradies and surfers, nor of blonde bikini-clad ladies jumping into the surf. We are hundreds of nationalities, religions and persuasions. It’s a ridiculous argument, made more ridiculous by the people who claim to be scared and intimidated by women they have never met wearing extra layers of clothes.
I’m sure there are some women out there who are instructed to wear the burqa by their husbands or families and do not have the freedom to choose. By fining and ostracising them, we are relagating them to their homes, imprisoning them. There are also many, many women who wear the burqa as an expression of their faith, of their devotion, of their religion. Their choice. They prefer to cover up. So what? We are similarly isolating them, exposing them to violence, ridicule and isolation. This is a no-win sitatuation.
It’s a bit of a bridge too far when western society, which places so much emphasis on the female body and the sexualisation of women, tells women they are wearing too many clothes and would be happier if they strutted around in bikinis. Proponents of the ban say they are releasing women from oppressive practives – by telling them what they can and cannot wear. Oh the irony.
The arguments “it’s alien to our culture”, “it scares children” and “it’s a terrorist threat” are ridiculous. Sure, there are difficulties to be navigated, such as passport photographs and giving evidence in court behind the veil, but can’t we sit down and figure them out without fear-mongering and demonising? What about nuns? They could be hiding an entire arsenal under those clothes. Women wearing saris? Christ.
Imagine you were from a conservative background and prided yourself on your modesty and the country which was your home decreed you had to wear a g-string and nipple tassels in public. I’d rather wear the burqa that any outfit worn by 14-21 year old girls at the Galleria on a Saturday afternoon. Leggings are not trousers ladies, and that skirt shows your chuff.
In conclusion I’m just so bloody angry that countries and politicians can makes laws telling us what we are allowed to cover our bodies with. This is a massive step back for women, for people and for democracy. In short, it’s fucked. So get the hell out of our bloody wardrobes and concentrate on other stuff please.