Often I find that I accept a moral principle or an idea intellectually before I take it into my heart, and I think this is true for many people. It is possible intellectually to accept the value of human diversity while still having homophobic thoughts. Diversity helps to create a world where everyone wins; acceptance of others means acceptance of yourself, in all your strangeness inconsistency and shadow. People may understand this first, which then gives the incentive to internalise it.
There remain acceptable targets. I think some women do freely choose to cover their faces with a niqab, in so far as anyone makes a free choice between the options presented by our societies,
and others say, sententiously, that human beings communicate with our faces, and wearing a niqab prevents communication. If good communication is your aim, why not ban sunglasses? We communicate with our eyes, or the angle of our head, far more than the shape of our mouths, and with the nose hardly at all. If you want a poker face, a niqab is a brilliant short cut.
Many women are oppressed, and much can be done to relieve this oppression. One useful thing would be to remove restrictions on housing benefit payments to women with restricted leave to remain in the UK, when they need to enter a women’s refuge. So I will challenge any speech against the niqab, unless I am certain that it arises from a genuine love of diversity and freedom, without the slightest tincture of Islamophobia.
I am a woman, however strange I might appear to anyone else. The masculine parts of me are no greater than in any other woman.
Mmm. Yes. That is what this post is about, the niqab is merely a distraction, a circumlocutory way of approaching the point. I am a woman. Anyone thinking that I am not is not OK with me. Even if I can live with them because nobody’s perfect.