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Friday, March 22, 2013

Look at you, all flaunting your autonomy

Women are not entitled to respect when they walk around without a [hijab]. They are to blame for it when they are attacked.
said an imam from Denmark, Shahid Mehdi, who was arrested in Malmo, Sweden for reportedly exposing himself to a woman in a park. When I read about this, I sarcastically asked if the Steubenville rape victim would have been protected if only she'd been wearing a hijab, or if she would still have been sexually assaulted and then blamed for her own attack.

Not raping someone-- not exposing yourself to her, not threatening her-- seems like an odd concept of "respect." There many people I don't respect at all, but to whom I somehow manage to avoid doing any of these things. It actually seems like instead, if conforming to your desires for how a "proper" woman, a lady, should dress and behave herself are conditions for you not attacking her, not harassing her, not slinging sexual epithets like "cunt" or "whore" in her direction, that's not exactly respect. That's more like forbearance. Congratulations, you look and behave how I'd like you to, so I'll hold off on the physical assault and slut-shaming. Don't you feel valued?

Because demanding such things in order for you to behave like a decent human being is the opposite of respect, isn't it? If you actually respected women, you wouldn't try to control them. You wouldn't make such demands. You would support, embrace, exult in their ability to dress, behave, and conduct their sex lives as they choose. When they are attacked, you would condemn the attackers, and you would never be the attacker. You would extend this empathy toward women in general, and reserve loss of respect for individuals as you would in any other case-- when that individual behaves in ways which are actually immoral, and not just "unladylike" or "slutty" or whatever term you prefer to tell women how to be women.

That's what respect is. And it's not that hard...really.

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