What is it about our society that says wearing tiny hot pants that just barely cover your buttocks is not scandalous for women? Women exposing themselves is all part of their freedom and expression while those who might chose not to show their legs and other parts of their anatomy are repressed and not living in our modern times? Why is it considered scandalous for women to cover themselves? Western society seems to be fairly at home and comfortable with women in bikinis and g-strings compared to a woman who covers her face and head, a thing I find incredibly similar to Catholic nuns habits.
Recently two twenty something french students made a short film as their response to the French Government’s ban of the ‘niqab’ and the ‘burkha’. Nikolas Sarkozy says that it has nothing to do with religion and finds the Islamic garment in opposition to French ideals of secularism and freedom. The ‘Niqabitches’ as they call themselves walk around in Paris parading in a ‘niqab’ and hot pants to the delight of the public. This tongue and cheek act is brilliant in its subversion. Orthodox radicals would of course consider the outfit obnoxious but it’s delicious to see how the public responds to this outfit. I’m guessing probably with a lot of shock and surprise and also a lot of titillation as seen when the construction workers want to have their pictures taken with the women. Are we truly being liberal when we impose a ban on women wearing the burkha or niqab? Or is it a sign of our being incapable of accepting a religion and it’s people as they wish to be?
And lastly I’d say that many who chose to wear this garment are not even the Islamic fundamentalists that many would like to consider them. They are free thinking, independent, individual women who make an informed choice to wear them. Sadly many of these moderate Muslim voices fail to be heard amongst the sharp political cacophony of the liberals and conservatives. Frankly the right to chose what to wear getting chewed into rhetoric in the mouths of the political elite leaves a bad taste in my mouth.