IT’S GREAT TO BE A WOMAN IN CANADA!

IN CANADA WOMEN ARE AFFORDED THE SAME EQUAL RIGHTS AS MEN, HERE WOMEN CAN VOTE, DRIVE, LEAVE THE HOUSE WITHOUT A MALE RELATIVE, WALK IN PUBLIC WITHOUT COVERING OUR FACES, IT IS AGAINST THE LAW TO BEAT US, IT IS AGAINST THE LAW TO STONE US, IN CANADA WE DON’T PROSECUTE RAPE VICTIMS, WE JAIL THE RAPIST. OUR LAWS PROTECT OUR RIGHTS AS FELLOW HUMAN BEINGS, WHICH INCLUDES PROTECTION FROM IDEOLOGIES THAT SPREAD THE VICIOUS LIE THAT WOMEN ARE INTELLECTUALLY INFERIOR TO MEN. ANY WOMAN WHO COMES TO CANADA WHO DISAGREES WITH THESE IDEALS, NEEDS TO LEAVE, TAKING THEIR MENFOLK WITH THEM.

Gender equality trumps apparel

By Janice Kennedy, The Ottawa  CitizenDecember 17, 2011

I keep pinching myself, but it’s no mere nightmare. I am living with the  traumatizing truth that, for the moment, I am on the same side as  ultra-Conservative cabinet minister Jason Kenney and the rightest of right-wing  columnists.

Following Immigration Minister Kenney’s announcement that veiled faces will  be banned at citizenship ceremonies, pundits have been weighing in all over the  place. And, with a few sporadic exceptions, the response has been neatly  divided: the ban is an outrage (the left), and the ban is good (the right).

Personally, I’m all for it.

There is not a single positive thing to be said for the niqab, burka or any  other visible sign of one gender’s submission to another. Notwithstanding  liberal hand-wringing about diversity and tolerance, it should have no place — none — on any official Canadian stage, especially one that formally and solemnly  admits its wearer to full Canadian citizenship.

This is not mere clothing we’re talking about, some colourful expression of  ethnic background. No, the face veil is a powerful symbol of subjugation or, at  best, second-class status. It is an aggressive, overt denial of full  personhood.

It really doesn’t matter how its wearers feel about it. Some Muslim women,  including Canadian-born converts and young women who have grown up here, have  adopted the niqab in an earnest embrace of traditionalism. They like how they  feel in it, they say.

So what? Their misguided attachment doesn’t redeem what is essentially  irredeemable: a tangible public statement that women are less than men. Which is  why the resignedly complacent acceptance of it by Canadian feminists and  liberals is so dismaying. Especially to those of us who identify as both.

In their rush to defend women’s right to wear whatever the heck they want,  including niqabs and burkas, some feminists are suggesting that apparel choices  trump gender equality. Some liberals, meanwhile, have piously spouted the  religious-tolerance line in defending the face veil. Mutual respect, apparently,  demands the unconditional tolerance of … well, anything.

The trouble is, the veiling of women is not even true Islam, strict or  otherwise. As Tarek Fatah, liberal Muslim commentator, noted this week, it is  really nothing more than tribal statement.

And if it were religious, it would still be indefensible. Even religious  observance has to play by the rules of law and democratic equality. If your  creed happens to involve rituals of bloodletting and human sacrifice, even the  most liberal of western liberals won’t be telling you, “Go right ahead. Just  don’t leave a mess.”

Canada doesn’t (knowingly) permit the barbarism that is female genital  mutilation. We try not to turn a blind eye when fathers and brothers invoke the “honour” of the family — with a complete absence of irony — to abuse, beat and  sometimes kill daughters and sisters.

And no Canadian, Muslim or otherwise, should be defending the potent public  symbolism that promulgates a belief in the inferiority of women.

Yes, principles are routinely denied, especially by pragmatists in office. In  2005, there were some memorable pictures of George W. Bush holding hands with  King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia, country of origin for nearly all the 9/11  hijackers. There was the president, who had speechified repeatedly about  America’s love of freedom, holding hands (one can only imagine his discomfort)  with a man who represented so much of what the United States was fighting.  Shocking, isn’t it, the price of oil?

Nor is it just the conservative right that conveniently forgets its  principles when politics demand. With an Obama-led U.S. still holding hands with  Saudi Arabia, we have not exactly been deafened by outcries from the left,  either. This is the friend and ally, incidentally, that maintains an appalling  human-rights record, bans women from driving, forbids religious freedom, and  this week beheaded a woman for “witchcraft and sorcery.”

And yet we have no difficulty throwing our beliefs overboard as needed. The  problem is, that doesn’t change the nature of those beliefs — or the  discomforting prickle we feel when we find ourselves alone in front of the  mirror.

That’s the trouble with core principles: they remain core. Stubborn and  unyielding, they don’t bend with prevailing cultural winds to become relative  and therefore meaningless. So if we toss these values aside, we pay a heavy  price — spiritually, psychologically, socially.

When Canadian feminists and liberals (for whom an absolute belief in human  equality should be a core principle) tolerate the intolerable, they encourage  the notion that this society doesn’t really believe in its own values. Their  effective message to newcomers? Bring along all your old habits of oppression  and injustice. Fine and dandy.

In so doing, they foster toxic growth. They also betray the heartbeat of  their own convictions.

Janice Kennedy writes here Saturdays. Email: 4janicekennedy@gmail.com

© Copyright (c) The Ottawa  Citizen

Read more: http://www.ottawacitizen.com/news/Gender+equality+trumps+apparel/5873702/story.html#ixzz1h5PCvgRq

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4 thoughts on “IT’S GREAT TO BE A WOMAN IN CANADA!

  1. I could care less how muslim women dress, that is their freedom, but the swearing of the oath to become a Canadian citizen to have that freedom must be done in full disclosure of their identity. No covering while taking the oath but once a citizen they can dress how they like. In fact anything to do with having to show your identity must be without covering ie: drivers license, passport, OHIP etc.

  2. If they want to wear the shroud at home that’s their business , but if they want to wear the shroud in public, that’ s my business. The law does not allow anyone to walk around with their identity concealed in public and that should apply to these muslimas as well.

    Canadian women did not fight for equal rights just so some immigrants could flaunt their middle fingers at us via their slave sacks.

    If you haven’t written a letter to your MP and Kenney about these abominations then I suggest you do, I already have.

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