Monday, March 14, 2005

I wish I had a Burqa

Read this first. (Why reinvent the wheel. I've already explained my situation.)

This is as blunt as I get folks: I want to wear a burqa. Yeah, just like these. (And this is worth peeking at too).Yet I say this with hesitation. In the "West", it's an object of oppression and mysogyny and regarded as the absolute pinnacle of patriarchy and backwardness.

Ladies, we have it made in "the west": we have choice. We have equal rights, we have democracy. Indeed, these are ideologies (not to be confused with "freedoms") that I take for granted. The very fact that I sit here, typing on this computer, having devoured a McDonald's Happy Meal, in my grey twill pants, as my dishwasher hums in the background is testament to the feminist movement's success. I have an education and a drivers licence. I can fuck any man I want, and the only consequence would be a divorce after exausting months of couples therapy.

How lucky I am to be born a woman. How fortunate I am to live in Canada in the 21st Century. I could pound the keyboard inexaustibly and mourn the treatment of my sisters in Iraq and Afghanistan, weep for all single mothers who live in povery, and grieve for every child bride and prostitute. I am blessed.

So when I say I want to wear a burqa, I won't forget that it weilds more control and power than the pill or a diaphragm ever could. However, if I could choose, I'd choose the burqa. The veil is a mysogynistic item of oppression infsofar as woman are forced to wear it. If they are not forced directly, there is an ever present and systemic fear that leaves no other option ...that my sisters is a travesty. Equally, it is just as horrible to feel forced to run around half naked, to feel so much systemic pressure and fear that there is little choice but to run around half naked.

Lets back up here a little. This all refers back to me remember. Recall yesterday's preamble:

  • I have a cold and a bad allergic reaction to some make-up I bought this week. My face is puffy, red, hot and bumpy. Yay me.

My face is a travesty of modern pharmacology and cosmetology. I started an acne regimine 2 months ago - finally sick of the shame and humiliation of having perpetual prepubescent skin, I decided to try something drastic. Anyway, read my Accutane journal - it says it all. Last week I could look in the mirror and not want to smash it into shards. So, as a treat, I splurged on a new expensive brand of liquid foundation.

Boy, I regret that little act of self gratification. Maybe its because my skin is vulnerable (although nothing bothered it before) but I had the mother of all allergic reactions- swollen, red even hives. That was the first day. On the second, it burned, and on the third, today, it was tight and scaly and tons of breakouts and painful. I don't know where they came from. Apparently the bacteria seen my experiment gone awry and decided it was time to party. This morning I had to get in front of a classroom of students with some semblance of togetherness and authority...yeah....right. Thats when the burqa would have come in real handy.

Do you know what cover-up looks like on freaked out skin like mine? Really bad. Its like Donald Trump's hair. No matter how hard he tries...the problem becomes all the more obvious. I felt like a walking exclaimation point. Now, I am not so naive as to think that if I dawned the burqa that all would be dandy and fine. But collectively...if we chose the burqa...we could start a whole new revolution.

First, if the middle east realized that this was a growing American fashion trend, it may not be so desireable. This might be a real suck-ass answer. Maybe its really condescending. I don't mean it. Okay, if we chose the burqa there would be no more bad hair days, or bad skin days, or feeling fat 'cos I am having my period days, or I couldn't decide what to wear days. If we could chose the burqa no one could tell if you were too fat or too thin, if you had a tan or too many freckles. You wouldnt even need to shave your legs! Think about all the potential benefits!!!
Here's a radical thought - burqa's for men. No more avoiding the lustful glance of a sweaty asshole with a scuzzstache. Or no more pretty boy with the perfect little tight ass in those faded Tommy's. Imagine a society making the choice to wear their burqa or not - a colourful parade down summer streets of freeflowing silk prints or a heavy woolen tartans in the winter...what UTOPIA. I want that choice godamit. I want a green one and a black one, one made of indian cotton and another of polar fleece when its extra chilly. And I want someone to ask "What's up Heather, why the Burqa today?" and I could answer "because I just didnt feel like getting out of my jammies."

I hope I did not insult the plight of the afghan women in one bad literary swoop. Not my intention. I'm lustily dreaming of curling up in my burqa and not having to wonder what people are thinking about my scary science experiment of a face.

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