Badtux the Snarky Penguin

In a time of chimpanzees, I was a penguin.

Religious fundamentalists are motivated by the sneaking suspicion that someone, somewhere, is having fun -- and that this must be stopped.

Monday, October 23, 2006

The arrogance of "Islamic" garb

This may seem a bit insensitive, given that an Afghan refugee was recently murdered in Fremont in what appears to be a hate crime, but here goes. One reason I have little respect for those who come into America and insist upon wearing their traditional garb from home is because they are in turn exhibiting little respect for America.

Look. This is America. If you want to be an American, dress like one. If you don't, stay home. And whatever you do, don't try to tell me that your religion requires you to dress like this:

Because, frankly, my dear, that dog don't hunt. Islam requires that women "dress modestly", not that they dress in a specific type of garb. Modest dress is a culturally dependent thing, not something fixed in stone. What counts as modest dress in Yemen is not what counts as modest dress here in the United States. Here in the good ole' USA, here is what modest dress looks like for women: See the difference?

Now, there's the notion that "hey, I'm a woman, I can dress any way I want to dress, and if I want to wear an abiyah, that's my right!" Yes dear. And if I want to wear the following garb, that's my right too:

But y'know, if I do that, people might just look at me as if I'm some kind of freak. If I walked into my office looking like that, I might get fired. Hell, I *know* I'd be fired, since I live in a multi-cultural office with co-workers from four different continents.

Point being that if you want to be arrogant and dress like a freak, yeah, you have a right to do that. But don't be surprised if you get fired if you insist on doing it in a professional setting... because you are demonstrating, by doing so, that you are not a professional, that you place your religious or cultural beliefs ahead of your professional responsibilities. So while you have a right to dress like a freak, well, fine. Just don't expect a job in my office, where we all dress like conservative professionals.

-- Badtux the Conservative Penguin

Cross-posted at the Mockingbird's Medley

Posted by: BadTux / 10/23/2006 12:31:00 PM  


It's just a new, more extreme example of what we've seen before for religious purposes, Amish dress, a Mennonite woman's cap, Orthodox Jewish men's caps and women's hats.

In fact, the picture you show looks like a pre-Vatican II nun.

We've got some women dressed like that in the neighborhood, only in white and with another inch of face showing, but guess what? Their daughters tear around in blue jeans. Relax. Give them time.
# posted by dubious : 23/10/06 3:37 PM  

Oh, I'm not saying they don't have the right to dress any way they wish. I'm just sayin' that if you do decide to dress in such a way, don't expect to get a job outside of your own little ghetto, and don't expect to be treated like other Americans.

You bring up the Amish, which is an interesting point. The Amish reject American culture and all its trappings. But they don't go filing lawsuits because gas station owners don't stock hay for their wagons and school boards don't hire their women to teach high school English classes. They keep to themselves and do what they've been doing for the past 200 years. And when they do go out into the world to interact with "the English" on equal terms (as vs. have "the English" force themselves upon the Amish), they do dress accordingly, because they acknowledge that dressing in their normal dress to do so would be arrogance that conflicts with their religious beliefs.

Furthermore, the Amish were born in America and have been here for generations. They didn't choose to become Americans, it was basically forced upon them based upon where they were born. Note that I'm most critical of those who have chosen to become permenant residents of the United States yet refuse to adopt the dress and general culture of the United States. If you didn't want to be an American, why are you here?

- Badtux the Ugly American Penguin
# posted by BadTux : 23/10/06 4:07 PM  

You tell'em Tux.
# posted by BBC : 23/10/06 5:21 PM  

I think I've seen that picture before.

# posted by NewsBlog 5000 : 23/10/06 5:35 PM  

Y'know, Newsy, I was thinking the same thing. But I wanted the nearest thing to a male abiyah, and the first thing I thought about was a KKK hood, so I went to and typed in 'kkk'. The first two Klansmen pictures I saw didn't have the hoods on. That one was the third one I found. It looked familiar, but it had the hood (which is what I wanted), so...

Hold it -- you used the same picture on your own blog?!

- Badtux the Stunned Penguin
# posted by BadTux : 23/10/06 11:17 PM  

You know badtux, I wanted to lash out, but I really can't. I begrudgingly agree with you.

I just wish society could accept people solely for their talents with no regard to appearance.
# posted by Evil Spock : 24/10/06 7:41 PM  

How is Islamic garb any more arrogant than Sihk turbans? Or the skullcaps worn by Orthodox Jews? Or Indian saris? I live in NYC, in a neighborhood with a lot of Middle Eastern and South Asian immigrants. I've seen Muslim women wearing head scarves with Western dress (jeans, sweaters, etc.). I've seen Muslim women without scarves. I've seen them wearing scarves and long robes, usually when they're going to a mosque. I've seldom seen any face veils, however, which I think is telling.

As far as I'm concerned, is someone wants to wear a headscarf or a turban, that's their business and theirs alone. I've never had a Muslim woman yell at me for wearing shorts while jogging. Likewise, I'm not going to tell them how to dress. They may be immigrants, but their children are American citizens and will no doubt have different cultural opinions.

I'm also confused as to how a headscarf is in any way equivalent to Klan robes. Would you say the same of a Hasidic Jew or a Sikh?
# posted by The Truffle : 25/10/06 8:29 PM  

If you want to wear some religious stuff, fine and dandy. Wear a cross, wear a mamaluke, wear a hijab, whatever. But don't whine because you're not allowed to wear it at work, and don't file a lawsuit because you were fired for wearing some weird-ass religious crap after being told not to. Religion belongs at home, not in the work place. Your job at a place of employment is to represent your employer, not your religion.

I think I made myself clear -- that you're free to wear whatever bizarre crap you want to wear -- but apparently not clear enough. You're free to wear that crap. And I'm free to not hire you. I want my customers focusing upon my product, not upon whatever bizarre crap you're wearing, whether it's a hijab, or ripped jeans and purple hair and piercings. You dress professionally as is proper for our culture, or you get out of my office. Insisting otherwise is insufferable arrogance and will get you sent home even faster. Is that clearer???

- Badtux the Conservative Penguin
# posted by BadTux : 25/10/06 11:00 PM  

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