Tag Archives: geteducated

The “Burka Ban”

22 Sep

Hello everyone! This is Lilipop here. I wanted to talk about banning the niqab and burka because a college in Birmingham (read more here) did just that and it seems to have kicked off a national debate and most recently the far right party UKIP making a policy vowing to “ban the burka”.

Straight off there are the recurring problems that seem to happen when any marginalised group’s rights are “debated”. I am seeing and awful lot of white male politians opinions but not a whole lot of Muslim women’s opinions  even though they are the only people this is really going to affect! Sigh, sigh, sigh. This reminds me so much of when abortion is “debated” by white male politians; your opinions do not really matter unless you are a member of the group who’s rights are being restricted. Of course it would be massively hypocritical of me to say that and not have the opinion of a muslim women here and also my opinion doesn’t really matter so my friend Anisha very kindly wrote a bit for this blog about what she thinks of the “burka ban debate”:

Recently in the headlines there has been a consistent reappearance of political matter concerning the possible ban of the burqa.

The burqa commonly referred to as ‘chadri’ in countries located in Central Asia is a symbolic garment within the Muslim culture; it acts as a facially concealing garment allowing a less fabricated/ sheer section around the eyes to allow sight for the female.

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Anisha

Alongside the burqa there is the niqab in which the ‘veil’ us attached onto one side transforming the head scarf into a niqab, this is the okay commonly worn  version of the ‘veil’ in London, which political leaders are

mistakenly confusing for burqas which are fully fabricated garments with a sheer fabric located in the position of the eyes.

Never the less back I my opening statement, there has been a constant appearance of the burqa and the niqab in the news regarding the ban of the Islamic based garment.

As a Muslim teenager who has grown up my whole life in London I would like to say I completely disagree with the ban of the burqa/ niqab it is unnecessary, disrespectful and without a doubt degrading to the people of the Islamic community. I am in a state of disbelief with the MP’s and hope they take into account the possible effects this ban could have on the Islamic community alongside the people of Britain who are supporting Muslims through this terribly distressing period of time.

2 hours later  after the decision of the Muslim ‘veil’ ban being reversed:

After hearing the news I have decided to write up on this morally degrading issue which I was previously frantically ranting about.

Following the news of UKIP reversing the ban I am thrilled with the fact that they have had a change of mind set and have decided to completely scrap the ridiculous ban 3 years after proposing the total ban of ‘covering faces in both public places and buildings ‘.

I wish to believe that future MP’s will not make any drastic bans related to the publics religions and beliefs, such as the disgusting ban on burqas / niqabs.

-Anisha Namuli, 15.

Here is a list of other piece by Muslim women on the “burka ban”:

http://talatyaq.wordpress.com/2013/09/13/burkha-banning-an-insult-to-freedom-and-feminism/

http://www.thefword.org.uk/blog/2013/09/the_veil_debate

http://www.scotsman.com/news/uk/dani-garavelli-niqabs-in-the-public-eye-1-3105790

http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2013/sep/21/dont-ban-veil-in-uk

I also just wanted to point out some very disturbing arguments that are being made for banning the burka and niqab which I have seen a few white non-muslim women who call themselves feminists using. One of these arguments is that the burka and niqab is a symbol of female oppression and that many women are forced to wear them, this is despite the many women speaking out against the banning saying they want to wear them. This is a huge and ignorant case of taking agency away from Muslim women. These people are ignoring the voices of the Muslim women, the people who will be effected by the ban, and instead imposing upon them their own theories on what these women are experiencing. They are ignoring lived experience! They are also refusing to acknowledge the fact that Muslim women, and here’s a crazy idea, MAY ACTUALLY BE ABLE TO MAKE THEIR OWN DESISIONS *gasp*.  Another argument that is so so so so so WRONG is that people “want to be able to see their beautiful faces” and so should not be able to wear burka’s or niqabs OH MY JAM LIKE SERIOUSLY! I have heard this from women as well as men. I wonder if they realise they are saying that they think their perceived right to see and essentially turn women into objects is more important than these women’s right to wear whatever the fuck they want. This is usually called the Male Gaze I think and it is hugely sexist as it is basically dehumanising the women on the receiving end of the Gaze. It is also quite ironic as one of the points of wearing a hijab, burka or niqab is to control what other people can see and stop people judging and objectifying women based on their appearance.

I am, of course, talking from a position of privilege here so please, please point out to me the things I have said wrong in this. If you have anything else to add or another link to pieces by Muslim women feel free to share.

#Campaign4Consent

21 Aug

Hello! This is Lilipop and today I wanted to tell you all about an exciting new TYFA campaign called #Campaign4Consent. This campaign is all about having sexual consent taught in the UK National Curriculum. At the moment the curriculum in sorely lacking and what teens are actually receiving in schools is even worse.

I just got my sex ed last term and I could have learned more typing “Sex Education” into google. I was so disappointed. We had two twenty-minute sessions in our PSHE lessons. Before the first session I was quite hopeful because some sixth formers had been talking to the Headmaster about improving sex ed at school so I thought it would probably be quite up to date with all however that was not the case. My sex ed was wholly contraception based. If nothing else it did give some quite good comprehensive information about contraception and how to get it but in every other area it was lacking. In fact I don’t think it even went into detail how conception works. We didn’t discuss relationships, consent, oral sex, abuse, kinks, LGBT+ sex or relationships didn’t even get a word in and it was generally just not informative enough. I know that most teens these days normally get most of their sex education through the internet and way before the age of 15 when most of us get our sex ed at school and some others get “the talk” from their parents however information from the internet is not always right and can often be exaggerated or very biased and parents may be selective with the things they talk about or more often wont talk about sex with their children at all. Sex ed at school is meant to give comprehensive and accurate information to kids so that they don’t have to rely on ropy information from the internet.

There are so many issues with the sex ed curriculum I can’t think about them all at once but a simple and universally relevant one that is missed out is consent. Sex without consent is rape and any other sexual contact without consent is sexual assault. We are not taught this at school and I would be quite surprised if someone stumbled across lessons on consent randomly on the internet unless they were specifically looking for them which they can’t if they don’t know what consent is! This is a problem because, in some assault cases, people don’t know what they are doing is wrong or that what happened to them was wrong. It is not uncommon, particularly in younger people, for a rapist or assaulter to not know what they are doing is rape or assault and I have read stories of victims not knowing what happened to them was assault or rape for twenty years or more. Victims will be affected by this and not know why they feel so bad and often blame themselves for what happened even though it is their assaulters fault. If teens, who grow up to be adults, know more about consent, what is a crime and where to report assault it will help as victims can get help the help they need, report what happened to them and hopefully the assaulters will be arrested and taken to court. It also will educate potential rapists or assaulters that what they are doing is wrong and a crime.

As you can see consent is pretty important and I think it is important enough to be taught in schools. Almost everybody engages in some kind of sexual contact at some point in their lives and so this is relevant especially to young people as they discover and explore their sexualities. The TYFA (which you readers know I’m involved with) have launched #Campaign4Consent, asking the government to put consent in the UK National Curriculum. We have a website (it’s not quite finished yet) but there are details on how to get involved on there. We want help from everyone, regardless of age, gender or sexuality to get involved!

#Campaign4Consent www.campaign4consent.co.uk

Jelly’s Feminism

25 Nov

Jelly speaking:

I consider myself a feminist. yet I’m not a ‘traditional’ feminist. By this, I mean that I’m not a patriarchy bashing bra-burning (although of course this never actually happened and was bigged up by the sexist press) hairy lady.

Lilipop is a lot more passionate about the cause than I am, and I admire her for this and I think she is brave for really showing what she’s about, although personally I think that I am way too lazy for this whole-hearted attack. My interpretation of feminism is more toned down – I try to be funny and somehow meld it into the part of myself that wants to wear make-up and be skinny and be cool. This seems like an impossible task, as indeed it is, but it works because the other part of me cares about human rights and the LGBT movement and having hairy armpits and reading Freud in my spare time.

I’ve been a feminist for a while now, although it’s only recently that I have bceome more clued up on it, more so than just a vague ‘sexism is shit’ feeling. Twitter in general has really helped with this. The Twitter Feminist Youth Army has given me support in finding out what it means and what feminism stands for. More than a few of my hopeful tweets asking for helpful girl-power links have been answered with truly interesting stuff. Whoo! The internet is truly a blessing!

As much as I love Lilipop (Lilipop: Love you too Jelly!), we are different on this point. Despite the fact that we both go to girl’s schools, she is a lot more open about her beliefs. If I tried that in my school (as indeed I have) I would get a lot of weird looks and general ‘WTF is she doing?’ feelings, and although I know that I shouldn’t care about this, I do, and it is one of the points that I need to buck up on (Lilipop: Also, my school is a lot bigger so no one really knows who I am and therefore doesn’t care it my legs are smooth, hairy or purple. Jelly’s school is a lot smaller so she would probably get more shit than I do) . If someone says something sexist, I will shout it out though. My stance on this has created a few moments of awkwardness with some of my closest friends, and although I don’t like this for the gap it creates between us, it does let me see where we really stand. For example, I was listening to Santa Baby with a few friends as part of the whole ‘IT’S NEVER TOO EARLY FOR CHRISTMAS MEDLEYS’ mentality I like to cultivate and I remarked, casually I thought, upon the sexism of the song. I mean, come on, it’s talking about how she will exchange sex for a convertible. I softened the blow with a remark about how Santa was never meant to be thought of that way. My friend turned round, eyes blazing, and said ‘Just shut up with your feminism already! It’s really boring! Just relax!’

My view about this sort of thing is that sexism starts in little things like that, and that sexism can only be truly got rid of if we spot it in anything at all!

I was first introduced to feminism by my sister. When smaller, I asked why she had hairy armpits. She replied it was because she was a feminist and didn’t beleive hair was weird. As a hairy and unsure preteen, I was hooked. She showed me Rookie, and I learnt that feminism was for everyone and above all it was fun! She gave me long talks about how I could be, and I should be, whatever the heck I wanted to be. She offered me her expansive collection of intellectual and dusty books with names like Breast Stories and Socialism and Capitalism for the Intelligent Lady. I absorbed and read and listened to Le Tigre and to Lilipop and woke up one day and realised that sexism is absolute bullshit.

It wasn’t quite like that really. In fact, a lot more of my enlightenment was due to the devoted efforts of Lilipop upon my ignorant ears, which I’m sure she’d be delighted to tell you all about.

So. Yeah. That is my shit done. Feminism gets me angry and happy and wanting to do something, and I feel it’s got to be for real if it can do that to an unsure lazy teen who can hardly be bothered to make toast. I’m sticking to my guns here on this one.

Tell me about your feminist enlightenment stories! Tell me about cool stuff you’ve read recently about feminism! Tell me about lady news! Don’t tell me anything at all! It’s your choice, and when you get down to it, it’s your rights.
(Lilipop:If you do choose to tell us cool stuff, you can leave a comment or there is an email address to contact us with on the Contact Us page)

Jelly out.

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