In which Sadie Smith complains about being told to check her privilege

Fascinating and legitimate criticism!

“When you tell women to stop saying “check your privilege”; when you bemoan “call out culture” and complain that calling people out for their failings is just about showing off or being a troll, then you’re silencing women. You’re telling them to shut up about racism in the feminist movement; shut up about how the movement excludes them; shut up and sit down and stop talking about things that affect them as women. And when you do that you’re implicitly asking women to throw their weight behind a movement that is repeatedly failing to represent them – and is sometimes overtly harming them. When you parse “raising legitimate concerns about feminism’s failings” or “calling out troublesome behaviour because it’s hurtful” as “attacking other women, boo hoo”, then that’s a move calculated to shut down debate and dissent.”

Here’s what’s wrong with hijab tourism and your cutesy “modesty experiments”

“That it is deemed necessary to have a non-Muslim woman experience the veil and make a judgement on it is also problematic. It’s not just that this approach silences Muslim women and relegates our narratives about our own experience to a back seat. The entire premise of having a non-Muslim woman go on a ‘tour’ of the veil relies on a fundamental difference in the way Muslim women are perceived compared to their non-Muslim counterparts. Muslim women are viewed as inherently passive, submissive and obedient – nameless, faceless, voiceless ciphers to be endlessly discussed, dissected and judged but never actually listened to.“–OP

This blogger reminds us all that merely “putting on the face” of the other does not qualify a primary source knowledge. She also explains that conclusions drawn from this experience are extremely superficial and have a money-making agenda in the West (which often enjoys the idea that Muslim women need saving from their own culture). I would also add that the various approaches to “modesty” in public among Muslim women all over the world can reveal a varied culture and its powerful impact on Islam). It is important to expose the plurality of Islam, rather than fit it into a box that can then be put with all the “other” cultures.

Ms. Muslamic

Hijab: sometimes, it feels like everyone’s giving it a try. Lauren Shields is just the latest feminist to embark on a ‘modesty experiment’ based on the veiling traditions of Islam, Christianity and Judaism. Last year, a teenager on Tumblr wore hijab to the mall and ended up with 200,000 reblogs. In 2010, a young journalist went ‘undercover’ in hijab for a month to find out what it was like. Liz Jones wore the burka in 2009; Danielle Crittenden over at HuffPo wore it all the way back in 2007, like some kind of Cultural Appropriation Hipster. Over at Vice, Annette Lamothe-Ramos wandered around New York in a burka and then wrote a really insensitive article about the experience. Apparently if you’re stuck for ideas for content, a reliable fall-back is to dress like a Muslim woman for a day or so and then bang out…

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