Sunday, October 15, 2006

Feminists in Veils

The writing on Feministing is usually really good, but I don't quite get why they're arguing that "Salman Rushdie can be really stupid sometimes." Maybe in regards to appearing with Bono during his Joker phase, but is he really "stupid" for saying that he believes the veil worn in Muslim countries is "a way of taking power away from women", and therefore that it "sucks"? I don't know... I just expect feminists to see the argument that a culturally-imposed veiling of women so as to limit their contact with men who aren't their husbands is, in fact, rather repressive as something other than "really stupid". Of course, a free society should allow its citizens to choose practices that are restrictive. But, why aren't people justified in criticizing said practices? The writer argues: "Agree with it or not, it is not really yo biness."

But, where would feminism be today if feminists had decided that culturally-mandated practices that restrict the freedom of women, and only of women, shouldn't be criticized because, after all, it's not our business? Maybe I'm wrong, but this seems really weak.

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