Ordered to cover their hair

French flight attendants are saying no to Air France’s order to wear Air France hijab in Iran.

Air France stewardesses, furious at being ordered to wear headscarves in Tehran, say they will refuse to fly to the Iranian capital when the airline resumes the service later this month.

Female members of flight crews have been ordered to cover their hair once they disembark in Tehran and unions are demanding that the flights be made voluntary for women.

French women see Islamic headscarves and veils as an affront to their dignity. Headscarves are banned in French state schools and offices, and it is illegal to wear the full-face Muslim veil in public.

You know…that’s not just some funny quirk of French women. Hijab is an affront to the dignity of all women. It treats women as a special case, and men as the only Real Humans and the ones who get to tell women what to wear. It treats women as subordinate and men as dominant. It treats women as dirty, a contaminant, a thing that has to be wrapped up and concealed. It treats women as an inferior class of people who can’t even consult their own comfort and freedom of movement when they decide what clothes to wear.

The financially ailing French airline, which sees the resumption of Tehran flights as an “excellent” business development, pointed out that other airline staff were obliged to comply with Iranian rules. “Tolerance and respect for the customs of the countries we serve are part of the values of our company,” a spokesman said.

Fuck that, and fuck them. What if the customs of the countries they serve required Jews to wear yellow stars? What if the customs of the countries they serve required people from Africa to wear some special garment or mark? What if the customs of the countries they serve required dalits from India to wear badges of Untouchability? Would they “respect” those customs?

Also, tolerating and respecting other people’s customs in the sense of not interfering with them is one thing, and doing so in the sense of following the customs yourself is quite another. I don’t expect Air France to go to Iran and campaign against the law requiring women to wear hijab, but that doesn’t mean they have to order their employees who have the bad taste to be women to wear it.

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