Women in New Zealand are donning a sign of oppression in solidarity with Muslims in their country. The headscarf or hijab is described in the Koran as a barrier or curtain. It is not fashion nor is it a choice. It is required. What professor and former journalist, Asra Nomani calls “a symbol of purity culture antithetical to feminist values.”
“Why am I wearing a headscarf today? Well, my primary reason was that if anybody else turns up waving a gun, I want to stand between him and anybody he might be pointing it at. And I don’t want him to be able to tell the difference, because there is no difference,” said Bell Sibly, in Christchurch.
Of course, there is a difference. Tomorrow you can leave the house, head uncovered, in cut-off denim shorts and a bikini top if you choose. Or are you forsaking all of those things for life in solidarity with Muslim women? Because more than a few Muslims, especially those that require Hijab, would very much like that to the be the way of things.
In the eight times the word hijab, or a derivative, appears in the Koran, it means a “barrier” or “curtain,” with spiritual, not sartorial, meaning.
Hijab represents everything progressive women decry about the patriarchy. The #MeToo movement is a rejection of women as sex objects. But Hijab, all the various forms of body covering are required because you are a sex object.
Morality police patrol neighborhoods and arrest women who are not wearing it. Jail and flogging are not unusual punishments for violating dress codes. Some women have acid thrown in their face. Violence against these women may be considered a service to the community.
If you refuse to wear Hijab and are sexually assaulted, this is not rape. Not only did “you ask for it” but by refusing to comply you could be imprisoned for disrupting public order.
Was that the solidarity you wanted? The statement you are trying to make?
There’s nothing wrong with choosing modesty as long as you can decide for yourself without fear of sexual assault, injury, or even death.
It is also an excellent thing to want to aid those in mourning. To demonstrate a desire to defend or protect human life – to show sympathy and support. But women in New Zealand wearing hijab are doing much worse than causal virtue signaling. They are normalizing the systemic oppression of women. And I don’t think that was the message they were after.