Thursday, June 21, 2018

Who decides whether a woman is "free" or "oppressed"?

I read a fascinating New York Times article
The College Student Who Has France’s Secularists Fulminating,
which describes how Maryam Pougetoux, a student leader has caused offense because she wore a traditional head scarf when interviewed on TV about student protests.
Some secularists considered it inconsistent with her being president of a student union and with advocacy of the progressive and feminist values she stands for.
Critics seem focused on her clothes rather than what she said.

In such discussions I wonder about whether some women in the Western world are really free?
There is incredible social pressure (from both men and women) for women wear make up, high heels, revealing clothing, and adopt certain poses. Some women freely choose such options, others do so out of compulsion, whether consciously or sub-consciously.

The article about the french controversy is interesting to juxtapose with a recent article in The Australian newspaper, Race, gender politics swamp great debate, Controversy has arisen because the Sydney University Debating Society has introduced gender-based quotas for their teams.
The article features the photograph below of a student who supported the quotas. 

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