What women wear is their business

Samah Hadid & Rayann Bekdache; 8/5/10

A woman gets arrested for wearing a controversial item of clothing that the state deems out of line and is convicted of public indecency. We are not talking about Belgium, Italy or France but, rather, Sudan. However, these days it’s easy to get the countries mixed up. It’s hard not to compare the recent cases of a French woman who was fined while wearing a niqab and driving, a fully veiled Italian woman who was issued with a fine of 500 euros ($A712) while walking in the street and the absurd arrest of a woman for wearing trousers in Sudan last September. The issue came closer to home yesterday when Opposition Leader Tony Abbott responded to calls by Liberal senator Cory Bernardi for a ban on the burqa by saying there is ”understandable community concern” about the attire. The common thread in these cases is the attempt at state intervention in the personal spheres of women’s clothing and expression.

See: http://www.theage.com.au/opinion/society-and-culture/what-women-wear-is-their-business-20100507-ujlz.html

Equality will ban more than burqas
8/5/10: Letters: http://www.smh.com.au/national/letters/nothing-super-about-a-tax-that-hinders-investment-20100507-ujg2.html
Cory Bernardi proposes banning the burqa because it is a ”repressive domination of men over women” (”Bernardi backing for burqa ban reflects right-wing influence”, May 7).
Using that reasoning, we should ban Orthodox Jewish women from shaving their heads and wearing wigs and covering their flesh in long, dark dresses or skirts, as demanded by their repressive, male-dominating religion.
We should require men and women to walk alongside each other rather than women following the proverbial ”10 paces behind”, as demanded by several repressive, male-dominating cultures. We should ban prostitution – the clearest example of repressive domination of men over women.
And we should legislate that men contribute equally to rearing their children and performing household chores, breaking our own culture of male repression and domination of women. Judy Bamberger O’Connor (ACT)