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Discussion (18)¬

  1. Susan R. says:

    No laughs here. Actually makes me want to cry.

  2. “But I’m not gay. It empowers me.” is a line of dialogue in a romantic comedy, (“Passion” 1998) spoken by a transvestite who has been caught cross dressing by his girlfriend. I recently showed that movie to a heterosexual cross dresser, who verified that the line is accurate for many transvestites. Interesting what empowers some people.
    I don’t doubt that (some) women feel empowered by the burka. Is this a variant of Stockholm syndrome? As a freedom loving tolerant culture, we are caught in the paradox of wanting to give women the freedom to wear whatever they want, while preventing intolerant people from forcing them to make a choice we don’t like. Compounding the conflict is our desire to prevent ourselves from forcing them to make a choice we DO like.
    Don’t cry, Susan R. This is a deeply funny reality, once you give up the desire to control. Oooooommmmmmm.

  3. Oozoid says:

    A well-known British politician (a witty one, but not normally given to irony) recently said of his new party: “We will be deeply intolerant of intolerance”. Has any philosopher usefully addressed this sort of dilemma?

  4. CliffB says:

    The thing is, wearing such clothing can be empowering as it sends out clear messages. When worn in the west it says:

    “Don’t approach me in the way you would a regular woman. I am different. My superstitious beliefs mean more to me than anything else. I shall not interact with those not of my religion or of my sex in the way most women do in your country. Do not even bother to think about intermarriage and integration. I wish to be apart”.

    These are not messages we reasonable secular westerners want to see being given.

  5. Anonymous says:

    yup pretty serious, and I hate seeing it on the streets of Britain

  6. M27Holts says:

    Think we have been on this particular roundabout too many times…Thats the problem with Islam, stultifyingly rigid and will never change…

  7. European says:

    @oozoid: Classical dilemma, see Karl Popper’s “The Open Society and Its Enemies” (1945)

  8. Someone says:

    The only way I could see a burka as “empowering” is that allows women to avoid getting sunburned, especially in the hotter climates. Just hope they have enough ventilation.

  9. Laripu says:

    Oozoid, the problem that presents when we say that “tolerant people are intolerant of the intolerant” goes away with different phrasing. It’s better to characterize it as a hierarchy of rights: one person’s right to live without discrimination and abuse supersedes another’s right to discriminate or abuse.

    The different phrasing substitutes a multipoint scale (hierarchy of rights) for a binary one (tolerant / not tolerant); and the hierarchy of rights is a better model of the situation.

  10. Jim Baerg says:

    Is anyone else here following the podcast ‘Secular Jihadists for a Muslim Enlightenment’ ? The hosts are some ex-muslims. In the most recent episode they talk with a woman who was convinced to wear the niqab & is now ex-muslim & part of an organization ‘Faith to Faithless’.

  11. M27Holts says:

    D.H. The Burka is repression of female identity. The implication that my wife (who accompanies me in strappy tops and mini skirt) is available as a whore is the wrong implication that Muslim men make….

  12. Troubleshooter says:

    Is it possible that these two have such a poor short-term memory that they can’t hear what they are saying? On a related note, have J&M ever discussed the issue of women-as-property which both the bible and quran support?

  13. Troubleshooter says:

    And while I think about the whole tolerance / intolerance business:

    Tolerance of intolerance is cowardice.
    — Ayaan Hirsi Ali

  14. Laripu says:

    Troubleshooter, as I wrote above the “tolerance of intolerance” nonsense is a linguistic mis-modeling. A binary model where there should be a hierarchy of rights.

    A racist has the right to not invite a hated member of a hated race into his home. However, his right to not associate with someone is superseded by the right of the person to go to public places. The racist cannot bar the hated individual from the local Wal-Mart.

    We do not need to be tolerant of his racist attitude. We need to be tolerant of the normal rights if people above the rights of racists to be racist. A hierarchy, not a dichotomy.

    The model shapes the discussion.
    If you use the wrong model, you will get an illogical result. If you use the right model, it gets clear.

  15. Deimos says:

    Happy Star Wars day.

  16. Dr John the Wipper says:

    Happy International Naked Gardening Day!

    (although the Dutch weather is REALLY unfavorable. SNOW in some parts, rain and hail, and hard to stormy winds)

  17. M27Holts says:

    I mowed my lawn this morning fully clothed and with steelies on. I rather like my toes…

  18. jveeds says:

    I’m just catching up with this thread, but allow me to offer an alternative view: Many (or some, at least) women I met in Saudi (mostly ex-pats but some natives as well) told me that wearing the abaya did have a positive aspect. Of course the American women typically did not wear the hijab but many Europeans and S. Africans did. Now, when your figure and facial features are covered, you’re less likely to get stares and propositions. Furthermore–and ironically–wearing the abaya allowed these women to just wear whatever old un-ironed housewear they had around without having to concern themselves with the usual dressing up that women often feel compelled to do. So if a woman was wearing cut-off shorts and an old t-shirt in her house and wanted to make a run to the mall for something: “mafi mooshkela” (no problem!)

    Of course the underlying problem is that Saudi men apparently have no control over their staring and importuning and rely on the covering up process so they can manage their otherwise unmanageable impulses…but that’s a separate issue.


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