Monday, February 04, 2008

Yo, Respect: Women's Rights

A current political clash in Turkey attempts to balance the possibly conflicting issues of women's rights and civil liberties. According to Spiegel (on-line) "Turkey's parliament is likely to vote next week to allow women to wear head scarves at universities." The Turkish Constitution banned this practice in 1989, fearing the practice of wearing head scarves would threaten the secular (non-theocratic) state of modern Turkey.

But Turkey's current ruling party, the Justice and Development Party (AKP), which has its root in an Islamist religious movement, reached an agreement with an opposition nationalist party on Thursday to cooperate on legislation to lift the two decade-old ban.

How do you feel about the ban? To what extent would such a ban limit women's freedom? Consider how this issue relates to our Civil Liberties unit last semester and our current Women and Children unit. In light of the accompanying cartoon (appearing only on our blog through the generosity of the author, Khalil Bendib), how accurate are our perceptions of "so-called Islam"? To what extent are women in the U.S. "respected" by men, by other women, by themselves? When does "respect" lead to inequality?

8 comments:

Sara D said...

I disagree with this headscarf ban in Turkey. I think this ban symbolizes the other limited freedoms that women of Turkey may have. I believe a women, or any perosn in general, should be able to choose what they wear for their own personal reasons and/or values.

I think this cartoon sheds a very important light on the similarities that women in America do have to Islamic women. Although I am not educated much in respect to the Islamic religion, form what I have gathered, women's rights seem to be limited. In Western countries, in regards the the cartoon, women seem to be exploited and seen as objects by men. On the "so-called Islam" side, it seems to be more inequality then simple exploitation of women.

Brandon said...

About the cartoon: I do feel that it is hypocritical for people to blast a religion for supposedly suppressing women when women are objectified in their own homes.

I think a reason that some people feel that the Islamic world represent women "worse" because of the different amount of freedom they may have. (for example women are forced to wear head scarves in some countries like Saudi Arabia and Iran, while some may argue that the women being objectified in the Western world are "asking for it" by working in strip clubs or brothels, etc.)

Maseeh M said...

Isn't such a ban taking rights away as well, which is just as bad? I think that we look at the west(prostitutes, objectification) in the cartoon and say "thats generalizing and stereotypical", but maybe how we view their rights is generalizing and being stereotypical. I think it is a very interesting cartoon and expresses views that Muslims probably have about the West, and how their women think they have more rights than western women, a thought that is ludicrous to most Americans.

Mas

Lars said...

I disagree with the ban. There is no reason that women cannot choose what to wear on their own. As for comparing rights of women in "so called Islam" and in America, Americans seem to point out fault in other places without looking at themselves. Most Americans see that women cannot choose what they wear in "so called Islam" and decide women in America are treated better because we treat women with "respect". But this respect that is generated through the idea of women and children being less capable than men and requiring special treatment. So while women in "so called Islam" cannot choose what to wear, women in America are praised, but only as objects instead of equal individuals. It is surprising to see how similar the west is to "so called Islam".

Sam B. said...

Just like most people who have already commented on this post, i too disagree with the head-scarf ban in Turkey. By not allowing a woman or any person for that matter to wear what they want, clearly abridges their civil liberties. Everyone should be able to wear what they want in order to satisfy their own values and reasons. In regard to how people "respect" women in the USA, Im not sure we do. Although we never tell people what not to wear, we sort of guide them into what is acceptable through society and the media. If we truly "respected" everyone, then we would be able to wear whatever we want without being judged by it.

unfGuido said...

As previosly said by many, I am against the ban because I feel that women deserve respect and should be able to wear whatever they want. And about the cartoon I feel that we, the west, and the so-called Islam have many similarities. I know that not all of Islam is like that at all, but that is what we perseive and looking at the west I find it true that some women are just seen as objects and their "respect" to allow them to do what they want turns into inequality that women are seen as such objects.

sarah said...

I personally disagree with women not having the choice to wear or not to wear a head scarf. I think it should be completely up to the individual and what they want for themselves. No one should be forced to do anything they don't want and the women shouldn't feel pressured to think this is their only way to demonstrate respect. The women should be respected for who they are, not by what they wear or what they look like. Life is all about making choices, and women should be able to have that freedom and be able to make that choice on what they believe.

Anonymous said...

I disagree the ban is important. Turkish secular society has the very real threat of a gender biased form of islam taking control. I'm sure the ban will drop when there is no longer a fear of this. It's easy for us westerners to say let the women choose when we take our freedoms for granted. Another thing the comic is bs, it represents american pop culture. In america women are women not objects. American men don't walk around thinking that every women is jenna jameson this is absurd. The true american tradition of women is one of throwing off stereotypes and blazing new paths into all fields.