2012-12-06

Burkas vs. Topnessness


Pretty much off the topic of drug prohibition, but on the topic of consensual and victimless crimes, are "clothing laws" or "draping laws" I suppose one would call them.  We had a scandal in my town a few years back, and we were a national laughingstock because some college girls ran a topless car wash and then the local religious fanatics got on the city council and passed an ordinance prohibiting toplessness/underdressedness for both woman and men.  The police chief said he refused to enforce it.  Of course, it's still on the books and could be enforced any time.

Anyway, this is true over much of America, with the possible exception of New York, and it pertains usually only to women.  A man can take his shirt off anywhere, but a woman cannot do it most places, even if she's nursing a baby.  Obviously sexist and unfair.

So, Americans decry the fact that many Muslim countries make their womenfolk wear burkas and whatnot, under penalty of law, presumably, but how is that any different to what America does to her womenfolk?  Women are required to wear a certain amount of clothing or the police will literally come and physically (and often violently) drag them off.  It's not like it's just frowned upon, the police will come and either insist she cover up, or drag her off.

Is there any logical or rhetorical problem with comparing these two, i.e., Arabian burkas and American toplessness laws?  Are they expressions of the same kind of social imprint, and does that even  matter?  They both seem to have the same basic ostensible justification, and I suspect that the underlying purpose of both is the same, i.e., to disempower women.

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