Or are we free in neither? Lots of layers to ponder with this one, will come back to it but wanted to share.
I wonder if there’s any books out there comparing hypersexualization and societies which promote the use of the burka…
“A third argument, very prominent today, is that the burqa is a symbol of male domination that symbolizes the objectification of women (that they are being seen as mere objects). A Catalonian legislator recently called the burqa a “degrading prison.” The first thing we should say about this argument is that the people who make it typically don’t know much about Islam and would have a hard time saying what symbolizes what in that religion. But the more glaring flaw in the argument is that society is suffused with symbols of male supremacy that treat women as objects. Sex magazines, nude photos, tight jeans — all of these products, arguably, treat women as objects, as do so many aspects of our media culture. And what about the “degrading prison” of plastic surgery? Every time I undress in the locker room of my gym, I see women bearing the scars of liposuction, tummy tucks, breast implants. Isn’t much of this done in order to conform to a male norm of female beauty that casts women as sex objects? Proponents of the burqa ban do not propose to ban all these objectifying practices. Indeed, they often participate in them. And banning all such practices on a basis of equality would be an intolerable invasion of liberty. Once again, then, the opponents of the burqa are utterly inconsistent, betraying a fear of the different that is discriminatory and unworthy of a liberal democracy. The way to deal with sexism, in this case as in all, is by persuasion and example, not by removing liberty.” ~philosopher Martha Nussbaum (NYT op-ed)
mmmm…didn’t take too long to find that googling ‘hypersexualization’ + ‘burka’
I don’t really agree with her implied “everyone’s guilty so no one’s to blame” argument, even though it’s very well written. Personally, it’s easy to give examples of what i don’t agree with (like Dakota Fannings ‘racy’ ad and burkas) but very difficult to put into words exactly WHY i feel they both offend my delicate sensibilities.
Am i a moral person? I think so…I wouldn’t be able to cast the first stone though. Am I educated enough about feminism to voice an opinion? probably not. As a layman i can only tentatively speculate that bigotry forces assumptions and destroys social skills from cradle to grave. For example, should i be offended by a bikini-clad woman wearing extremely large sunglasses? Perhaps she gets migraines…how will i know if i don’t ask. Sure i’m offended because i believe basic skills involve being able to recognize someone at a reasonable distance, regardless of culture and era. But, really, it comes down to personal choice: does it really matter that i feel a certain way towards a total stranger for their appearance?
In the final analysis, i’m ashamed of western society when men and women alike avoid glancing at one another at a reasonable distance merely because bigots might think that simple act is a come-on, ipso facto. It’s even scarier to realize that to be ‘normal’ in society is to conform and the only way to do that is to be voyeuristic. So why is eye contact such a taboo?…We are fighting a bigoted civilization that is eons old which is in deep denial. I am a moral person so i must.
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