This is going to be a bit of a pot-pourri post, because today was much the same as yesterday – the only difference was that I went to my singing lesson after work, which meant actually going into the city briefly, but I’m pleased to say that I seemed to blend into the crowd about as much as I usually do.
This is not the case at work, of course.
One thing I’m finding fascinating is the different responses of men and women I work with. Don’t get me wrong, people of both genders are still being lovely. But there are definitely gender-based differences in how men and women interact with me. The women I work with who know why I’m wearing the scarf are treating it more or less like a new haircut – I’m getting the sorts of friendly, complimentary comments about colour, style and maintenance that I got when I died my hair a bright colour a few months back. And then, invariably, talk turns to the convenience of bad hair days and a scarf.
(For the record, I washed my hair last night. I re-did the colour. I made my hair beautiful. And then today? I had a Bad Scarf Day, in which my hair was continually escaping, my scarf was randomly bunching up by my ear, the folds wouldn’t sit flat, my pins persisted in attacking me, everything itched – you name it, if it was annoying, my scarf was doing it.
But underneath it, I was having a great hair day. I can tell, because I took my scarf off when I got home, and my hair looked awesome.)
Bronwyn Bishop thinks it would be a good idea to ban head scarves at public schools. She thinks they are an ‘iconic item of defiance’.
Personally, I think this is appalling, counterproductive and stupid. We don’t even have the french excuse of banning all religious icons/symbols from schools – instead, we are singling out a single group from a single religion. And nobody should have to choose between an education and their religious beliefs. Wearing a headscarf harms no-one.
Can you think of a better way to transform headscarves from a personal, religious issue into a political statement?
Of course, these girls would still be able go to Muslim schools. They just couldn’t go into the (free) public school system. I would think this would make them more likely, in the long term, to be less integrated into mainstream society. Assuming there is even an Muslim school in their area that they can go to. There aren’t that many in Australia, and we seem to be cracking down on them, too, at present. They might be unAustralian, you know…
I also find this business particularly repellant because there is probably a cultural/social element to wearing headscarves; while for some it is undoubtedly a religious issue, for others it may simply be a matter of what is expected by their family/social network, and neither particularly oppressive or something they particularly feel strongly about. A rule like this would tend to polarise these people who might otherwise exist happily in the middle, and will serve to keep the two cultures separate (and potentially at odds) for longer than they need to be.
Now all I have to find out is who to write to…