The regressive left, or Lupus Liberals as I like to call them, are heroically confused about the Hijab.
The source of the confusion seems to be that there are western people, especially men, who don’t like the Hijab for various reasons. Some are good, some are bad. Good reasons include not liking the fact that this is a religious practice that outright limits the rights of women. Bad reasons include bigots associating the hijab with everything else they hate in their xenophobic little brains.
But either way, because the Hijab is countered by many in the west, it’s now become impossible for these far-left types to see the issue clearly.
Basically, it almost doesn’t matter what the practice is—it simply becomes legitimate if it’s 1) ethnic or religious, and 2) opposed by people in the west.
The concept of the Hijab is unbelievably anti-liberal, and anti-feminist. That’s why it was protested by so many women in Iran when the law went into place. They didn’t want the Hijab. They saw it for what it was—a suppressive and oppressive force that affected only one gender.
And its source is equally non-liberal. The argument is that women need to cover their hair because it’s overtly sexual, and that men shouldn’t be expected to restrain themselves around women who are showing their hair openly. It’s basically a veiled form of, “If you dress like that you deserve to get raped.” It’s quite sickening.
And that’s the origin. That’s the religious and cultural backing for the practice. And, crucially, in many countries it’s required. Women who don’t wear it are looked down upon as whores and/or arrested in many countries that believe such things.
The counter argument goes something like this.
You don’t understand Islam. Islam loves its women, and it wants to protect and cherish them. That’s why you’re not supposed to show your hair, or talk to or shake hands with men who aren’t in your family. It’s because Islam loves women. And since I love Islam, and you’re attacking its practices, then that means you’re anti-Muslim, and anti-me. And I will protest your oppression.
So many American feminists are accepting and defending this line. The concept can be simplified as this: we already know white westerners are bad, so if white westerners dislike the Hijab then it must be worth defending.
The problem, of course, is that this also applies to other, extremely common practices in countries that embrace Islamic law. Honor beatings, honor killings, genital mutilation. These all spring from the exact same well as the Hijab. And in any normal light the feminist would oppose them outright. But since the west dislikes them, they must be worth defending.
As I said in the Lupus Liberalism piece, there’s a way out of this labyrinth.
Simply keep in mind that intolerance of the oppression of women and the intolerance of female equality are not the same. They’re both intolerance—and that’s what’s confusing the far-left—but one is being intolerant of attacks of womens’ rights, while the other is actually limiting those rights.
Those are not the same.
Don’t allow the labels and shapes of the debate participants to confuse this point.