Hijab

This is from the comments on the Rape and Victim-Blaming Mentality post:

"Anyone who has been exposed to both sides of debate can see that the issue of hijab is too multifaceted to be swept away by a single generalization, either in its favor or its opposition. We cannot say that veil is all good, because we know that veil is an instrument of oppression of women, and many women are suffering because of that. Nor can we say that veil is all evil, because we know that veil is a conscious and free choice of women in many instances.

The problem is not the veil itself. The fundamental problem is, as Butters very rightly pointed out, that men are judging women's 'respectability' in the first place. It is this mentality that I wish to criticize and attack, and which we must all protest against, whether we are religious or secular. A society in which women are not judged by their clothing, in which women are free to wear what they want without a moral tag attached to it, whether it is a bikini or a burqa. It is such a society that we must aim for."


[Edit: I am not talking about judgement based on clothing in general. I am talking about a specific sort of judgment; a judgment of sexual respectability status; the sort of judgement by men that classifies women into "respectable" and "unrespectable". As far as I can observe, there is no existing corresponding judgement of this sort for men by women. Its existence is only justified by a patriarchal society. I am attacking this particular judgement. European societies have approximated this ideal more than Muslim societies.]

Comments

Zest said…
A politically and socially correct thought. But if people can judge each other on the basis of social class, intellect and education etc. then why are they not entitled to judge each other on the basis of clothing and morality?
Asad said…
Give me one example - historical or present - of a society where people are not judged based on their clothing and I will be sympathetic to your argument. Practical morality is necessarily normative - it must provide guidelines for action i.e. it must provide the answer for the question "What should I do?". In the case of this ideal you seem to aspire to, there is no real world example of a society where people are not judged based on their clothes. In fact, it is hard to conceive of a society where characteristics of one's appearance are not used by the collective conscience of the society to make all sorts of judgments. These practices are observed across the whole spectrum of 'liberal' and 'conservative' societies; of historical societies an societies in the present.

You might respond that the same could be said for other kinds of moral ideals e.g. speaking the truth, etc. I agree - but this is the case of an individual not speaking truth as opposed to an entire society abandoning judgement based on one's attire.

This is not an objection to the principle of whether one ought to have this ideal. Rather, it is an objection to whether one can have such an ideal, and whether that would be useful for practical reasoning.
Awais Aftab said…
I am not talking about judgement based on clothing in general. I am talking about a specific sort of judgment; a judgment of sexual respectability status; the sort of judgement by men that classifies women into "respectable" and "unrespectable". As far as I can observe, there is no existing corresponding judgement of this sort for men by women. It's existence is only justified by a patriarchal society. I am attacking this particular judgement. European societies have approximated this ideal more than Muslim societies.