What we will have to do

The Austrian president had an idea.

Austrian President Alexander Van der Bellen has ignited debate in Europe after video appeared to show him supporting a woman’s right to wear an Islamic headscarf — and suggesting that all women should wear a headscarf to battle prejudice against Muslims.

Speaking to students at the House of the European Union in Vienna on March 24, Van der Bellen said that it is his opinion that women have a right to dress however they want. “If Islamophobia continues to spread . . . the day will come when we will have to ask all women to wear headscarves,” Van der Bellen said, according to video footage of the event. “All of them, in solidarity with those who [wear them] for religious reasons.”

Oh really. “We” will have to do that, will we? “We” will have to ask women to wear a hair, ears and neck concealing piece of cloth that women in Iran, Afghanistan, and Saudi Arabia are beaten or whipped or imprisoned or killed for refusing to wear? A garment that only women are forced to wear? A garment that is explicitly for the purpose of protecting women’s “modesty”? A garment that its fans compare to a wrapper on candy or refrigeration of meat? A garment that women have been rebelling against for generations? A garment that fathers and brothers bully daughters and sisters into wearing? A garment that stands for women’s inferior status among other things?

And “we” will have to ask women to do that while “we” don’t ask men to do anything? And “we” don’t even pause to notice that that just might be a tad unfair, not to mention theocratic?

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