I have no problem with headscarves. There are many reasons to wear a headscarf, for example, as weather protection. It’s not so important what is on the head as what is in the head. But if a woman veils herself because an invisible friend told a male military commander how women one and a half millennia later are supposed to dress, then I’d say there’s quite a bit of space in that head.
The dumbest justification for a woman to veil herself is and remains the will of a man. No woman should be told by a man what she has to wear, and certainly not if she has to hide her hair! Apparently, the Swedish government sees it differently!
The Swedish government claims to be the „first feminist government in the world“. Twelve of the twenty-four members of the Swedish government are women. During a recent official visit to Iran, all the Swedish women wore headscarves to cover their hair. Only the men didn’t.
By the way, men generally do not wear a niqab for the same reason that they don’t wear uncomfortable shoes. They’re not so stupid as to wear clothes that are uncomfortable and restrict freedom of movement.
The Swedish Minister of Trade, Ann Linde, sees „no conflict“ between compulsory dress codes and feminism. She didn’t want to break Iranian law by not wearing a headscarf. She preferred to conform along with all the other female ministers of the „feminist government“ during the signing of bilateral trade agreements with Iran.
I am afraid it’s time for a little mansplaining. Homosexuals are regularly executed in Iran. Being gay breaks Iranian law. This did not, however, prevent former German foreign minister Guido Westerwelle from traveling to Iran. He simply remained gay. And he didn’t put on a headscarf.
Women are persecuted in Iran. „Insufficiently veiled“ women are arrested daily by the “virtue police”. In early February 2017, a 14-year-old girl uploaded photos on the Internet which showed bruises in her face caused by policemen. Iranian women are whipped if they don’t dress or behave according to Islamic mandates. Masih Alinejad, founder of the Facebook platform „My Stealthy Freedom“ naturally criticized the Swedish government:
„If Western women obey the headscarf ruling without challenging it, it justifies the Iranian regime in increasing the pressure on Iranian women. Western women legitimize the discriminatory headscarf laws if they submit and don’t resist. Can’t we instead stand up against this together?“
Trade Minister Linde sees it differently. She told the Swedish Aftonbladet that the alternative would have been to send an exclusively male delegation, so she decided for the headscarf.
Wrong, dear Minister!
The Swedish government could have demanded that women don’t have to cover their hair, and if the Iranians had objected, the treaties could have been signed either in Sweden or in a third country, or not at all. At the very least, the male Swedish ministers could have worn headscarves as a sign of solidarity and as an expression of gender equality. But as I said, men aren’t that stupid!
So, dear ministers,
From mansplaning to manasking: What deal can be so important that the dignity and freedom of woman can be so compromised? Donald Trump gets criticized, quite rightly, because he wants to cuts funds for feminist organizations. But then why bow down submissively and veiled to Hassan Rohani, the president of a country where feminists are whipped!?
It doesn’t require much courage to protest against Donald Trump, but to subordinate oneself to a patriarchal and misogynic regime requires complete submission. Hedwig Dohm said in 1902:
„More pride, women! Pride may cause displeasure, but not contempt. Only on the bowed neck is the foot of the suppressor!“
At that time Swedish women didn’t even have the right to vote! One hundred and eleven years later, female Swedish ministers bowed their shrouded necks in Iran so deeply that Rohani could have done what Trump talked about on a bus.
Dear female ministers of Sweden,
You’re not feminists. For my part, you’re a word that begins with c. You are cowards!