Sick on a Sunday

Sarkozy confused about “submission”, “freedom”

Posted in isms, Politics, Things That Don't Own by jamiemarie on June 22, 2009

French President Nicholas Sarkozy’s a progressive guy, you know?  He’s all into respecting women and shit, which is why he addressed the French Parliament – for the first time since Napoleon did it in the 19th Century (and we all know how down-to-earth that guy was) – to tell them that this Muslim burqa shit is totally lame.  And they should start forcing women to stop being so submissive.

According to Sarkozy, the burqa is a symbol of women’s oppression.  Which, in a sense, it is…  if you’re in Iran or Saudi Arabia, where women are required by law to wear it.  The fact that it is mandated is what makes it oppressive, not the garment itself.  In France, Muslim women can wear whatever the fuck they want, as can all its citizens.  It’s France, for fucks sake.

From what I understand, in and of itself, the burqa is a traditional Muslim garment symbolizing something religious – not necessarily female submission.  Sarkozy disagrees with me:

“The issue of the burqa is not a religious issue; it is a question of freedom and of women’s dignity,” Mr. Sarkozy said. “The burqa is not a religious sign; it is a sign of the subjugation, of the submission of women.”

Regardless of whether I’m correct of Mr. Sarkozy is, it’s not up to the President of France or some secular American chick to make that distinction.  As with any religion or religious act, what it symbolizes should ultimately be up to the individual who practices it.

Restricting the burqa’s presence is taking away a Muslim woman’s right to choose how she expresses herself and her religion.  One way or another, requiring that a burqa is worn or requiring that it’s not, the government is dictating what she can or cannot wear – giving her no choice but to submit.  If, as Sarkozy says, it’s a question of “freedom” – restricting the presence of the burqa is inhibiting Muslim women’s freedom, not promoting it.  

So STFU, Mr. Sarkozy, mind your own business, and focus on something that does promote women’s rights and freedoms.

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