It has long been a mystery to me as to why everyday chauvinistic men who exhibit commonly expected patriarchal prejudices suddenly become feminists over the issue of veil wearing Muslim women. This strange behaviour carries a pattern of commonality. The men, mainly White, transform instantly before your eyes whenever the topic of the Muslim world or Islam comes up. Their eyes narrow, their voices become more gruff and they come up with the same line, ‘look at how they make their women cover up or look at how they treat their women’.
It does not matter if the topic is something totally unrelated to Muslim feminism, it can even be about Assad’s chemical warfare domestic policy, but the mere mention of anything linked to the Muslims world causes these men to revert to the manly behavior of ‘chivalry’. They take up imaginary cudgels of pro-feminist weaponry and aim fire but with their mouths. These are men, I must tell you, who would not hesitate to judge any woman who is wearing a short skirt, tight trousers or a low cut top or any form of clothing really that they consider to be an invitation of some sort.
After reading Laurie Penny’s article the dark clouds of confusion above my head have disappeared. Men always opt for the easy route. It is in their nature. By using the veil situation to exalt themselves it also allows them to vent their prejudice. Killing two birds with one stone is an easy feat if you don’t have to actually sling a stone. Why get physical when you only need to be verbal, it is much easier?
This thesis can be extrapolated into the issue of domestic violence. Many men will tell you that they will not stand for it if they witness a man hitting a woman. However, many of these same men would look away or be complicit over domestic violence which involves pushing, shoving or mental abuse. By defining domestic violence to mean beating or kicking or slapping absolves men of any further responsibility.
If these men were really aghast over veiled women would they not do something about it? Taking umbrage over veiled women is the perfect low hanging fruit strategy of the patriarchy. To climb the tree to pick the higher hanging fruit which represents everyday sexism would be too much work and would take them out of their comfort zone.