portland independent media center  
images audio video
newswire article commentary global

gender & sexuality

Burkini Is a Feminist Issue Too

Since several weeks now, the controversy surrounding the burkini ignites the country to such an extent that we could believe this is the latest attack to have taken place. Witnesses of the swirl this matter induced, we observe that Islamists have collectively confined us in a perverted device that takes place in 4 ways.
The most important reversion in this debate is the concealing of the feminist issue.

The biggest skill of Islamists is to clear out from the debate the ideological dimension and the sexist signification of the burkini, the message it is delivering regarding impurity and shame put on the female body, reducing it to a simple racist issue. An anti-Muslim racism can certainly occur in some of the views expressed against the Islamic veil. However, this is not a command of truth incompatible with the irreducibly feminist dimension of the story. One does not invalidate the other and the huge difficulty we're facing here requires that we look at the entirety of the phenomenon in a dialectic way. A similar rhetorical 'tour de force' is at work in the reduction of the problem to an issue of civil liberties.

Read more:  http://sisyphe.org/spip.php?article5299

Except not REALLY Islam (but SOME Islamic CULTURES) 31.Aug.2016 10:38

Mike Novack

Neither the Koran nor Hadiths specify WHAT "modest dress" means. That is purely a cultural matter. This isn't easy to see, since people tend to internalize the rules of their own culture with regard to things like dress. We rarely question them. Thus in our own Western secular culture, "proper dress" isn't just a matter of age and gender but WHERE* one happens to be at the moment, so reasonably complex rules.

Add to this the possibility that a religion (and/or culture) might have rules regarding technical compliance that appears not to be compliant is also forbidden (because might lead others astray). An example of this might be "full covering of hair". Now hair shaved or cut close and a WIG over would be a method of technical compliance with a rule requiring that. And I chose that example precisely because of differences whether that means of complying is allowed << thus for "frumm" Jewish women, allowed; but AFAIK not for any of the strict Muslim communities ---- but BOTH have that "not if deceptive" requirement. It isn't considered deceptive in the Jewish case because ASSUMED she is wearing a wig, its the USUAL method of compliance >>


* Consider dress for the beach. OK on the beach, and maybe walking down the street in close proximity to a beach. But compare with the response somebody dressed like that would receive walking down a street many miles from the nearest beach. Or reverse it. Take the sort of dress normal for a different place, like a formal dinner party. Show up on the beach like that and would certainly be stared at. Unless perhaps nearby clearly a wedding party going on, etc. That is what I mean by our rules having a very strong "where" component.