ModernityBlog

“Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man’s character, give him power.” Abraham Lincoln

Posts Tagged ‘dress

France, Nativism And A Piece Of Cloth.

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I am not a fan of the Niqab or Burka, but then again I am against enforcing specific dress codes, to wear something or not to wear something.

I argued some time ago on this very topic at Zword, but reconsidering some of those arguments I think there is a better way of looking at it, a simpler way. In the grand scheme of things, how important is it, really? In my view, not much.

When you think of France, with all its numerous social problems, economic ills and political difficulties, would you think that a piece of cloth is the biggest problem that they face?

And does it become a bigger issue when worn by women, in strategic places ?

I suspect most intelligent readers will say, no.

Clearly, there is plenty of historical material on secularism in France, and anyone familiar with the French Revolution would know why, but the contemporary debate in France owes more to the political manoeuvrings of politicians and the influence of the Far Right.

Xenophobia has long been a problem in Europe with its major manifestations in the 1930s and 40s.

More recently we can see increased racial attacks and violence again Roma across European countries, including France and then the spectre of nativism raises its ugly head, where those wearing unapproved fashions are now attacked.

The Far Right’s influence can be seen all over these measures, along with Nicolas Sarkozy’s fingerprints as he panders to French nativism in the hope of electoral success.

Enforced dress codes must be rejected, whether in Saudi Arabia, the Taliban’s old Afghanistan or France.

France has many serious problems and they do not come down to bits of cloth worn by women.

The real problems and social ills in France should be dealt with, and it does not help women in anyway to fine them for not wearing the approved range of clothes.

So in Europe let us be serious, deal with the real problems, infrastructure, social inequalities, decent wages, good pension, a solid welfare state and the stark divisions between rich and poor, and not these panicky measure which only increase racial tension and help the Far Right.

Update 1: Previous posts on the topic, Stigmatising Dress Codes.

Pandering To Prejudice In France.

Written by modernityblog

11/04/2011 at 17:23

Pandering To Prejudice In France.

with 21 comments

Anyone following the debate concerning the Burka or Niqab in France might imagine that there are tens of thousands of people sauntering around, committing nefarious acts, hidden by these pieces of cloth.

But in fact according to a BBC correspondent, there are only about 1900 wearers in the whole of France.

Even taking account of French history and anticlericalism it strikes me that this debate is taking on the form of a moral panic in France.

Personally, I think it is regrettable when people wear these particular forms of dress, I think they are demeaning and sexually regressive, but it is their choice.

However, as I argued previously at Z-blog, implementing a ban is in many ways implementing a dress code. It is telling people what they can or can’t wear, even if it’s just in a negative sense.

Why ban the Burka and Niqab? What other forms of dress are socially unacceptable? Should we legislate on those too? And if not, why not ?

My view is, that if someone consciously decides to wear the Burka or a Niqab, for their own reasons, who are you or I to say no? Would you like someone telling you what you can or can’t wear? Of course not, then why apply that to others.

State implemented dress codes are wrong, either in the form of enforcing what you can wear or what you can’t.

The problem is, I think it is the wrong type of debate and in the end it panders to prejudice.

Written by modernityblog

22/01/2010 at 00:40

A Guest Post at Z Word.

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Whilst I was looking around for more news on Iran, Ben allowed me to do a guest post at the Z Word, and as it is one of my favourite blogs, I duly obliged, The State and the Burqa.

More news from Iran shortly.

Written by modernityblog

23/06/2009 at 21:14

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