"I feel very fortunate to be in this position, and I know that it means more to people because I am an African and I am dark-skinned. In many ways me being on the scene is doing for little girls everywhere what Oprah Winfrey and Whoopi Goldberg did for me. My world exploded by them being on screen. Hopefully I will inspire and be meaningful to other people."
Does your brand of feminism remove barriers for women, or simply move them around? Does is expand options for women, or does it just shift them? You don’t liberate women by forcing them to choose option B instead of option A. What is comfortable for you might not be comfortable for someone else, and it’s entirely possible that what you see as oppressive, other women find comfortable or even downright liberating.
Before you think the girl in the middle is a strawman, let me tell you I used to be her, back in my misguided youth. I considered myself the standard to which other people should adhere. But that was stupid. It’s not up to me to tell people how to dress, and it’s much nicer to let everyone choose for themselves.
Some women would feel naked without a veil. Some women would find it restrictive. Some women would feel restricted by a bra. Some women would feel naked without one. Some women would feel restricted by a tight corset. Others love them. Some wear lots of clothes with a corset. Some only wear the corset and nothing else. What makes any article of clothing oppressive is someone forcing you to wear it. And it’s just as oppressive to force someone not to wear something that they want to wear.
Can we not address that n>1 women that wear the veil do so not out of their own choice, but because the consequences for not doing so can be horrendous?
You know, don’t rip the veil off women in the street, and if someone is happily advocating for wearing it, whilst wearing it, then yeah, whatever floats their boat. But some women DO wear the veil solely because they’re oppressed, just like some sex workers are only sex workers because they’re forced (I’m using that as an example because I AM a sex worker, and I will draw the distinction between SSWs and sex-workers-by-choice and people-involved-in-sex-related-human-trafficking).
So many people seem to pretend that *everyone* who wears the veil does it because they’re more comfortable in it and it’s all a beautiful spiritual choice, rather than (anonymised example from someone I used to know) because their uncle will stop paying their tuition fees and kick them shitless if they don’t.
Obviously there are tons of women out there who have to dress and act a certain way because they’re forced to. I’m not saying every woman gets to choose. But 1: for those that do, it’s not for anyone to criticize their choice, and 2: for those that don’t get to choose, yelling at them soooooooo doesn’t solve any problems. I would argue that the weight of the patriarchy forcing them to do something, plus feminism guilting them for doing it, is going to be twice as heavy.
If you think the patriarchy is forcing women to act/dress a certain way, take it up with the patriarchy, not with individual women.
"If you think the patriarchy is forcing women to act/dress a certain way, take it up with the patriarchy, not with individual women.”