Saturday, April 08, 2006

Angry young women

Right now, there's a debate going on in Denmark on whether or not it's ok that public service channel DR2 has hired a scarf-wearing Muslim woman called Asmaa Abdol-Hamid to be one of the two hosts on a debate programme about the divide between the Islamic and the Western world recently revealed (or made more evident) by the cartoon crisis.
Now, I will readily admit that I have yet to see the show, so some of you might think that I should just keep quiet, however I'm right now really, really annoyed with a doctor called Vibeke Manniche who's leading an initiative ironically called Kvinder for Frihed (Women for Freedom). Most of all she reminds me of when I read The Handmaid's Tale in high school. There's an episode where one of the figures, called a martha, if I remember it correctly, who's sort of a mixture between a chaperone and a policewoman, talks about the freedom from and freedom to. In the fictional future society described in The Handmaid's Tale, women are free from a lot of things, like pornography and worrying about decision making, while they are no longer free to do other things, like going out to bars or choosing the man they want to be with.
While I don't actually think that Vibeke Manniche want to deny women the right to go out to a bar, it just gets me angry when she wants Asmaa Abdol-Hamid fired because she wears a scarf. Wearing a head scarf is supposedly a practice that is oppressive of women and hosts on a publically owned channel should not be allowed to propagandate this oppression.
Now, I agree with the last part. I just have a really hard time seeing how a thing can be oppressive by default? Just like I don't understand how bras, make-up, stilettos or even porn and prostitution (yes, a bit of a leap there) can be oppressive by default. Do I think that it's wrong if women (or men) are forced to do porn or be prostitutes? Well, obviously. Any sane person would. Do I think it's wrong if women are forced to wear a scarf? Yes, I do, but not any more wrong than if they're forced to wear bras or any other piece of clothes or whatever. But the key word here is force. I think force (be it force as in holding a gun to someone's head or force of economic deprevation) is oppressive, not things.
And I just get terribly annoyed when women like Vibeke Manniche are taking someone's oppression as given, just because she doesn't agree with what they do or wear. And I get especially annoyed when she wants sanctions against this person because of this disagreement and then calls it freedom. Or feminism. Because it's f***ing not.
Oppression of women is wrong, dead wrong, but it doesn't get any more right or any less oppressive just because middle class bitches like Vibeke Manniche dictates its terms or chooses to disregard what other women see as choice. Choice to wear whatever you want, shake hands with whomever you want and blow whomever you want in front of as many cameras as you see fit.
If you made to here, I salute you. In short, I just wanted to say that people who pass judgement (actual judgement, not the kind of "Oh come on, there must be a law against those freaks from the Black Eyed Peas!"-kind of judgement of which I myself am very guilty) against other people legitimate, self-concerning choices piss me off. Rant over.