I know what you’re thinking. Summers a comin’, what’s really gonna show off my…personality? Well, look no further. Behold, the absolute pinnacle of oppression through women’s wear, the Taliban Beekeeper. They call it a Burqa.
This thing is pretty scary. It’s hot, it’s uncomfortable, you can’t breathe. Everything about it is stifling in both the literal, and figurative sense. I’m not at all claustrophobic, but when I tried it on, I instantly felt like I couldn’t breathe. I had no awareness of my surroundings except for a tiny little veiled window that wasn’t really a whole lot of help. I’ve never had a panic attack, but the instant I put this on, I actually had a feeling like I understood what one might be like. I showed it off to some friends, and they all had the same reaction I did. The first thing nearly everyone who put it on said was “My god, I can’t breathe!” or some variation of it. Almost everyone who saw someone put it on said, “Wow, that’s scary lookin’. ” It really is. A picture just doesn’t describe what it feels like to wear it. It feels about a gallon short of a waterboarding kit.
It’s pretty bad in Afghanistan, where women have it *really* rough, but everyone has it pretty shitty over there. When yer trying to claw yer way out of the middle ages, I guess it’s kind of understandable that attitudes would still be a little fucked up. Still, time to come out of the dark ages, we have electricity now. But Afghanistan isn’t the only example of shit like this. In Saudi Arabia, they wear the Niqab, which is slightly less obnoxious than the Burqa in that it’s acceptable to show eyes. If you polled Saudi women, a goodly percentage would speak in favor of it. Of course, they don’t actually have the right to formulate/express their own opinions. I’ve heard Saudi women interviewed who describe it as “protective” like a favorite blanket that keeps them from being ogled by unruly men. Of course, in Saudi Arabia, they’d be put to death if they dared object. God forbid someone actually go outside without putting one on. Yeah, that’s right. They let them BURN TO DEATH rather than let them come outside without wearing a bag over their head to protect their modesty. Nay, they BEAT THEM WITH STICKS, and then watched them burn to death. I guess it was kinda convenient in a way. Isn’t a beating and a bonfire kinda the traditional way of dealing with harlots? I guess that was God’s way of saying “Shit, I’m running out of virgins.” But hey, I’m sure God will reward them in heaven with skin grafts, and abusive husbands. Little known fact: Male martyrs get virgins in heaven, females get makeovers. There’s no goddamned way there are *that* many virgins up there.
It’s argued that women to wear these to “protect” them. Protect them from what? Dignity? Self-expression? Humanity? No, it’s to protect them from the prying eyes of men. Riiiight. Men are apparently so incapable of controlling their own baser impulses that women must be subjugated, and turned into a piece of chattel to protect them from a glance. A “precious” treasure/baby factory to be jealously hoarded in secrecy. Property. In Saudi Arabia, Afghanistan, and a shitload of other places, women are property. In a real sense, they’re slaves. They are raised by their families to be fattened up for later sale to a “suitable” husband who can provide the necessary dowry/payment. The girls being married off, sometimes as young as 8, have no choice in the matter.
Anyway, every little stitch of this baby is pure, 100% unadulterated oppression. There is nothing comfortable, understanding, protective, or any of those other warm fuzzy sounding words, about this. It’s sick, it’s wrong, and it’s an absolute travesty that there are entire regions of the world where 50% of the population is treated like this. But, *I’M* the asshole for not respecting their “religious” “sensibilities”.
Sorry, but fuck that. Unlike the pieces of property that are forced to wear these things, I am allowed to have an opinion. Unlike the kowed masses who think it’s inappropriate to call bullshit when the word “religion” is involved, I have no such qualms. The real truth is that these things have *NOTHING* to do with religion. The word “religion” is merely a barrier erected to shield the otherwise indefensible from righteous indignation, and criticism. Do something too fucked up to justify? No problem, just call it your “religion” and render yourself immune to criticism. Anyone who dares object, you can just pout, and call them “bigots” or “intolerant”, right?
Methinks not! Intolerance is refusing to allow 50% of your population to have an identity, or an opinion. Intolerance is refusing to allow 50% of your population to go out in public without a male chaperone. Intolerance is throwing acid in the face of a young woman because she didn’t have the good sense to wear a bag over her head before she went out in public. Intolerance is refusing to allow women to attend a school, or receive an education. Intolerance is watching her burn to death, because she didn’t grab her headscarf before she fled the burning building. There is one word that continually comes to mind when I think of these things. That word is evil. I defy you to find a better word. This piece of “clothing” is representative of the evil that is behind all of that.
The Burqa, and the brutality towards women that goes along with it aren’t about religion. They’re about destroying a persons identity, and their individuality. They are about power, and control. Religion is about those things too, so maybe it’s easy to get them tangled up. Still, Islam isn’t the atrocity here, it’s just the shield being used to deflect criticism. The truth is, Islam doesn’t dictate that you treat women like this, at least not any more so than any of the other major world religions do. Even if it did, that still wouldn’t make it defensible. It’s ok not to follow the stupid shit. For example, it’s perfectly acceptable to not murder your disobedient children by throwing rocks at their heads nowadays. It’s considered quite tacky to sacrifice them at an altar, not a badass demonstration of faith like it once may have been. Personally, I can’t even remember the last time I executed someone for failing to honor the Sabbath. Can you?
Fucked up people cherry pick and/or selectively misinterpret Islam, and other religions, in order to achieve their evil ends. The same people who vomit forth nonsense about the infallibility of their religious texts, in misguided attempts to justify their own failings as human beings, are the people who tell you it’s all about tolerance, love and respect, while conveniently “forgetting”, or denying all those things that are the exact opposite of tolerance, love and respect. Unless, of course, they feel the urge to club someone else upside the head with their prejudices. Wanna hate on the gays, while still pretending that you’re not a bigot? No problem, just whip out a quote from the Bible. It’s not your fault, God ordered you to be an asshole, right?
Is the subjugation of women in that part of the world any less of a human rights issue than Apartheid in South Africa? Is it materially different? Why is there not the same level of indignation throughout the world when the same practices are directed towards a gender rather than a race? Is there really a difference? I say “Heck no!”
Seriously, Fuck those guys. Can we just get on with the fusion thing already so we can stop being beholden to the motherfuckers holding all the delicious, delicious oil? Ooh, I just had a brilliant idea. I’m going to invent the Naked Body Burqa. It’ll be just like one of those t-shirts with the bikini-clad body on front, but silkscreened onto a Burqa. I’m gonna be so fucking rich.