France is just one of a growing number of European countries which have been passing laws which forbid wearing veils that cover one’s face in public.
While I loath all forms of this apparel, I loath this law even more – and have said so often and loudly.
Here is my take on it:
OK – I’m not a fan…
For many reasons.
The origin of veiling women’s faces is in the practice of owning wives as a class of slaves. This is the history. Not good – and nothing rooted in this tradition will likely meet with my approval.
Today, some women are forced to veil their faces in public, either through physical or emotional coercion. This, of course, is unacceptable.
In many instances, the facial veil is being used as a means of isolating a woman from the greater culture: this form of isolation prevents her from forming social bonds of her own among the greater community – and prevents her from building a support mechanism which would help her escape from any potentially abusive situation. I’m going to be repeating myself: this, of course, is unacceptable.
Yes, many women today do wear the full facial veil of their own free will, as a symbol of their ‘identity’. This, I find even more offensive! Setting aside the whole psychoanalytical thing of women choosing to self-identify with cattle, this is an act of haughty contempt for everyone else individually and the society as a whole. It is an aggressive assertion that they are better, worthier, more holy, than the rest of us… It is, in no uncertain terms, an outward expression of self-aggrandization and bigotry.
At the same time, it is often worn by some women as a not very subtle method of intimidation and aggression towards the greater society. These women are themselves Islamists who understand perfectly well the fear many have of having Sharia forced upon them by the Islamits: they wear the veil as an arrogant reminder of the threat they are posing to us all.
So, a woman wearing the ‘Islamic veil’ can either be a victim or an aggressor – either way, I don’t like it! And that does not even touch on the whole ‘security’ issue, where criminals use the face-veil to disguise their identity…
In other words, I would be very happy never to see anyone hiding their true face!
The ends never justify the means.
In fact, the means often undermine and invalidate the end.
I got into a somewhat heated discussion about this with Trupeers over in the comment section of BCF‘s post on this. I think I was not very clear about it and confused the issue by poorly expressing what I mean. Still, it helped me ‘distill’ the essence of what I mean better.
My ‘first law of human dynamics’ states that eventually, every law will be abused and stretched into unforeseen ridiculousness. Therefore, whenever we pass laws, we must consider more than their immediate effect. It is our responsibility to examine the not-so-obvious implications of any law and to really really foresee any potential ways in which the law could be abused.
THAT is my problem with a law that bans ‘wearing a face-covering veil in public’.
It is always easier to give some power to a government than it is to take it back. Once we legitimize the practice of governments legislating and enforcing dress codes, that aspect of our existence will be at the mercy of some future government’s whims!