Sunday, March 14, 2010

Why Veiled Women Cannot Participate in Society...

The only limitations on women who wear Niqab are set by their society, not by the piece of fabric on their face. Veiled women are very capable of studying (yes, even in language classes!), working, socializing, travelling, voting, driving, expressing their opinions, etc. In fact, the concern about Niqabis voting is laughable. If I am going to vote, or register at a university, or write an exam, or travel (to name a few examples), I am expecting that I will need to show my face to someone, in order to be identified. It is preferable that there be female employees present in all cases, so that I only have to show my face to a woman, but in a worst case scenario, I will show my face to a man in order to be identified. I do not need (or expect) to vote without my identity being checked!

There is an interesting side note about Muslim society in which most people think women are forbidden from working: since it is preferable to most women that their doctors, pharmacists, hair dressers, tailors, teachers, and customs agents (and the list goes on) are women too, well that seems like a pretty good way to ensure employment opportunities to women now doesn’t it? 

The veil is certainly not about hiding my identity. It is only about hiding my beauty, which I don’t think my boss, co-worker, governmental representative, traffic policeman - or even the guy who sells me my groceries - needs to see. People who deal with me on a regular basis can still recognize me, by my voice, my eyes, my posture, gestures and clothing etc. We are not all anonymous blobs of black, but we will only be that if you blur your own vision to see us that way. For those men who feel offended that I choose not to show you my face, sorry but tough luck. There are enough scantily clad women in the streets of Toronto in summer that one less woman to look at should not faze you too much. And if it’s actually because you want to “communicate with me properly”, please just give it a try and you will see that the only person limited by my veil is you, and all the other ethnocentric, closed minded people. If you actually listen to what I have to say, you will hear me speaking. Please stop telling me that I’m oppressed... you shouldn’t have to forcibly undress women in order to “liberate” them from their own choice in clothing, whether it’s their blouse, head scarf or face veil.