Tolerance vs Civilization

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Tolerance vs Civilization

Postby Sixter » Thu Aug 13, 2009 4:39 pm

After reading an article about a woman in France that was told she couldn't use the public swimming pool because she wore a loose head to toe Muslim friendly bathing suit, it got me thinking. If civilization is moving forward, shouldn't it get more tolerant of other people's ideas and traditions? Is a tolerant society a more enlightened society? Having open discussion to discover other people's feelings without the need to force your ideas upon them because you think you are right should be the hallmark of enlightenment. Civilization should be about broadened horizons, not narrowed ones.

I for one don't like the idea of civilization moving forward means we all need to conform to the same ideals, thoughts and beliefs. Free will still needs to be part of the equation. Conversely, is there a point where other cultural ideas and traditions should be outmoded and abandoned? For sake of example, the practice of honor killings. I remember when those were in the forefront on the news as US Government officials struggled to deal with parents that killed their own children to protect the honor of their family.

http://www.npr.org/templates/story/stor ... =111844523

Officials insisted Wednesday they banned the woman's use of the Islam-friendly suit at a local pool because of France's pool hygiene standards — not out of hostility to overtly Muslim garb.

Under the policy, swimmers are not allowed in pools with baggy clothing, including surfer-style shorts. Only figure-hugging suits are permitted.


Yet the official government stance is the religious feelings of the Muslim French are invalid because civilization has moved beyond those outmoded traditions.

A 2004 law banning the wearing of Muslim head scarves at public schools sparked fierce debate. That legislation also banned Jewish skullcaps and large Christian crosses in public classrooms.

French lawmakers recently revived the issue of Muslim dress with a proposal that the burqa and other voluminous Muslim attire be banned.


Emerainville Mayor Alan Kelyor said he could not understand why the woman would want to swim in head-to-toe clothes.

"We are going back in civilization," he said by telephone. Women have fought for decades for equal rights with men, he said. "Now we are putting them back in burqas and veils."
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Re: Tolerance vs Civilization

Postby Winterbourne » Thu Aug 13, 2009 9:16 pm

I don't think it's necessarily a statement about the progress of civilization. I think this is more an example of two rigid ideologies coming into conflict, with generous amounts of xenophobia all around, and laying the problem at women's feet. Every nation likes to tell stories about itself, and the French myth is about its liberty, brotherhood, and equality. And it is, as such stories are, a large percent bullshit.

Yes, there is a point that many women are forced by family or other people in their community into covering themselves. Plenty of women cover themselves because they will be harassed on the street if they live in a conservative immigrant neighbourhood.

Legislating that they cannot legally wear that garb in certain places is not going to stop the harassment. Why would it? If someone is a sufficient asshole that they think it's okay to harass a woman not dressed to their own arbitrary specifications, the fact that the woman will be barred from certain places isn't going to magically engender the kind of self-awareness in said asshole that, hey, maybe they should dial back the douchebaggery because it's not their place to comment on how a woman dresses.

This move excludes women who observe the veiling, further marginalizing them. Now they are not accepted in French society and have to sit in the backseat in their immigrant community. This law makes veiling wrong and women who do genuinely want to wear the veil wrong. Yeah, equality and brotherhood right there.

But there is a point. Veiling is often associated with misogynist attitudes that are oppressive to women. It associated with isolated, ghettoized communities where women frequently remain trapped by discriminatory social mores.

So... how about working on the ghettoization and the misogynist attitudes? Nah, it's much easier to offload all responsibility onto the women. It's them banned from public places, it's them getting harassed. Now it's them running the gauntlet, forced to choose between their safety, their family, and their country. Yeah. There's some protective legislation.

Reminds me of these signs all over my old college grounds. "Be safe, walk with a buddy." Yeah. So it's your fault when some tweaking meth addict robs you in the poorly-lit isolated parking lot, because... security is expensive? That's some ol' bullshit.

I do think the pool's rule about baggy clothing is legitimate, but let's not forget: France has a long tradition of racism especially to Muslims. French Foreign Legion pensions from World War II--these are the guys who liberated France from the Nazis--weren't properly settled until THIS DECADE. So this crap? Doesn't surprise me.
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Re: Tolerance vs Civilization

Postby John Rauch » Fri Aug 14, 2009 7:18 am

I think if a woman *wants* to wear a burqa, that's absolutely her right and not an issue of equal rights if it is her choice to do so. However, she also needs to recognize the rules that apply to a public place. If they require a certain kind of swim suits for health code reasons (and this is always the reason), then she needs to accept that she either has to swim somewhere else, or follow their rules. I find the scarves/skullcap/cross thing to be silly. I don't really understand the reason behind rules against them and think people should be allowed to wear what they want, as long as it isn't vulgar.
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Re: Tolerance vs Civilization

Postby Zombie Dave McCaig » Fri Aug 14, 2009 8:35 am

I have no problem with it, for the reasons listed by Winterbourne and John.

I will add though that I stray from John's tolerance of large religious identifiers in public spaces. I'm not a big fan of them if only because it promotes segregation.

It's one thing to wear religious garb to your place of worship, it's another to wear such apparel and icons during your daily routine. From a secular governmental point of view (like France's famously is) such cult identifiers place the role of religion higher in some circles than the role of citizenry.

I don't think France is trying to homogenize its populous, I think they're trying to unify it and create a cultural baseline.

As for burqas and similar garb, let's face it- burqas are pretty shitty, and women should not wear them or be taught that they are respectful- mainly because men do not need to follow the same rules. If Muslim men covered their shameful lust-inducing bodies too, I'd be more tolerant of the practice. Beards don't count. ;)
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Re: Tolerance vs Civilization

Postby Sweeney » Fri Aug 14, 2009 8:59 am

The bathing suit issue is purely a safety issue, as shown by banning of men's baggy shorts swimsuits.

CNN had an interview with a young muslim girl, and some interesting info about the origins of the hajib which predates Islam, and was originally a sign of prestige and status.

http://www.cnn.com/2009/US/08/12/genera ... index.html

I agree with France on their take in religious garb in grade/middle/high school, but not university/college at that point you're an adult, and you're in a place of higher learning and should be exposed to other ideas/religions and cultures.

Obviously, in many middle eastern countries, the hajib, or burka is not an issue of choice, but law or social/peer pressure, with deadly consequences for disregarding it. In those places, it's a form of control over women, but it's not like women have much in the way of any rights in those countries in the first place. There's far bigger, more important priorities of women's rights than what they wear that need to come first.

Outside of those countries, it's a personal choice, much like Abdelaziz's in the article above.

Other than safety issues, I don't see any problem with people wearing their religion 'on their sleeves' so to speak.
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Re: Tolerance vs Civilization

Postby Fatboy73 » Fri Aug 14, 2009 11:42 am

"A 2004 law banning the wearing of Muslim head scarves at public schools sparked fierce debate. That legislation also banned Jewish skullcaps and large Christian crosses in public classrooms."

I really don't see a problem with this as long as they do it across the board with ALL religious paraphernalia.Religion is a hot button topic for most people and some can get bloody violent about it,and at places of higher learning I think it's just a headache they would rather do with out.
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Re: Tolerance vs Civilization

Postby Marc Lewis » Fri Aug 14, 2009 7:14 pm

I say they ban religion entirely. It's a waste of time because we go to nothing when we die and it only serves to separate humanity more.


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Re: Tolerance vs Civilization

Postby Brian Frey ~ halfmoth » Fri Aug 14, 2009 8:29 pm

I'm also saddened by American intolerance of European females' beachwear (the lack thereof). Really, the tiniest bikini is allowed but Y'all furriners cain't come over here and not wear clothes! Them nipples shood be kuvverd! ?

Men have exposeable nipples, so it can't really be nipples. And some guys have moobs, so it can't be nipples on bouncy fatbags. I'm confused and really should be out on a Friday night... :|
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Re: Tolerance vs Civilization

Postby Zombie Dave McCaig » Fri Aug 14, 2009 8:37 pm

Meh. You're starting to see boobs on the beach here in Vancouver more often. It's not such a big deal. Taking away the stigma takes away the dirty, and makes women into people instead of objects. I mean, hot is hot and not is not, but that's irrelevant and is not really dependent on what is or is not being worn.
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Re: Tolerance vs Civilization

Postby Winterbourne » Fri Aug 14, 2009 9:48 pm

I just don't get the boob fear. It mystifies me.

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Re: Tolerance vs Civilization

Postby Fatboy73 » Sat Aug 15, 2009 3:26 am

Winterbourne wrote:I just don't get the boob fear. It mystifies me.

Also: <3 to Dave.


Because this country was founded on puritanical beliefs and imho and according to history the church is scared shitless by sex and nudity...violence not so much.I would actually say they embraced violence,you know killing in the name of and all.
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Re: Tolerance vs Civilization

Postby Eagle » Sat Aug 15, 2009 3:31 am

Fatboy73 wrote:the church is scared shitless by sex and nudity...

Unless it's little--... Never mind.
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Re: Tolerance vs Civilization

Postby Laura » Sat Aug 15, 2009 7:16 am

Fatboy73 wrote:
Winterbourne wrote:I just don't get the boob fear. It mystifies me.

Also: <3 to Dave.


Because this country was founded on puritanical beliefs and imho and according to history the church is scared shitless by sex and nudity...violence not so much.I would actually say they embraced violence,you know killing in the name of and all.


Sounds like you could be describing Islam as well. Conservative religion expects the worst out of its adherents, apparently.

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Re: Tolerance vs Civilization

Postby Stephanie » Sat Aug 15, 2009 8:39 am

Winterbourne wrote:I just don't get the boob fear. It mystifies me.

Also: <3 to Dave.


I also <3 Dave's boobs.

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Is this still too loose for their laws? It could be the kind of Burkini that has an underlaying, tight swimsuit that is snug to the body (think of the swimsuits you can buy here that look like little dresses but still has that panty underneath).

If her outfit is looser (as pictured in the article), I wonder if they would let her swim if she wore a regular bikini under it like those people that wear t-shirts ontop of their swimsuits. I mean, it's hygiene reasons, right? So it would fit the code.
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