Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Charter of Québec values - Racist or pro-feminist?

There's a bit of a divide in this Québec household, my wife and I disagree over Québec's proposed values charter.  Given that you're reading this I'll assume you know about the proposed law, so I'll refrain from rehashing it.  

My view is that this law is an ass and unenforceable, besides which it is inconsistent en tabernac. It allows the wearing of a "small" crucifix and does not include the removal of the very large crucifix hanging in Québec's National Assembly.  So a huge crucifix remains in a public government place, and I guess we'll have public employees going around with rulers to measure the size of crosses worn like jewelry. 

My wife views the wearing of a head scarf as another attempt by men to dominate women by forcing them to cover their heads.  I don't disagree with her, yet I know there are Muslim women who wear the hijab of their own volition.  My issue is with enforcement.

What if a woman working in the public service wears a head scarf because of hair loss due to something like chemotherapy?  Is that head scarf okay because it doesn't have any religious significance? Could a Muslim woman claim that the head covering she is wearing is about fashion and has nothing to do her faith?

Banning kippas and turbans?  I guess that was a requirement to avoid being totally inconsistent with this law. One couldn't very well ban head scarves on women without the same type of measure being applied to men.

My view is it takes time, that legislation of this type won't work. Women have been fighting an uphill battle to be treated equally for centuries.  Heck Québec women didn't get the right to vote until 1940.  Muslim women suffering from a male dominated culture need to take up the battle themselves, as women did here with the suffrage movement.  Having the government telling citizens what they can and can't wear on their heads is as bad as men doing the same thing with their wives and daughters.  

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