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Choice is no longer an alternative

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Response to the post ‘nudity, niqab and illusion of ‘free choice’ on express tribune blogs dated November 28, 2011

Women’s exclusive politics is a subject oriented gimmickry, searching justification of ‘free will or free choice’. In a world like ours, conservatives have for long believed in a pre-destiny. But exceptionally so, the free woman of a free choice ceases to exist in a meta-narrative of religious world view,

By Inshah Malik

Women’s exclusive politics is a subject oriented gimmickry, searching justification of ‘free will or free choice’. In a world like ours, conservatives have for long believed in a pre-destiny. But exceptionally so, the free woman of a free choice ceases to exist in a meta-narrative of religious world view, Women’s exclusive politics is a subject oriented gimmickry, searching justification of ‘free will or free choice’. In a world like ours, conservatives have for long believed in a pre-destiny. But exceptionally so, the free woman of a free choice ceases to exist in a meta-narrative of religious world view,Reactionism- for sure is one such phenomenon that has dawned on the political scene in the twentieth century. Spearheaded by the most volatile conservative forces however, reactionistic politics is not an exclusivist feature of conservatives alone. When we resist, we conjure up imagery in our mental picture completely opposite to our enemy. This feature of resistance is uniform in all resistance movements. With ever growing exposure to a particular pattern of thinking imported to us through a distinctive language, we resist what our language does.

This intrinsic commonality of what we read and what we feel, encroached by the need to constantly evade this paradox by constant self denial. We become what opposing forces want us to become. If the language calls us conservative, we become so to a greater extent. Our fascination with marking protest by merely importing characteristics of no useful meaning but mere steam off has reduced us to illusionary objects in constant self denial.

Politics is henceforth mere reductionist reaction-ism for a purported gain. Women’s exclusive politics is a subject oriented gimmickry, searching justification of ‘free will or free choice’. In a world like ours, conservatives have for long believed in a pre-destiny. But exceptionally so, the free woman of a free choice ceases to exist in a meta-narrative of religious world view, since by choosing a world view woman tends to have exercised a free will [that perhaps may not be considered a choice at all]. How do we for example see a catholic women turning to Islam? or a Buddhist woman turning to Christianity [See any free will here?] Let us than see where do women of free choice exist? In a pre-determined shrinking world, robbed by the capitalists and full of smoky socialist promises? In a world dominated by curious interference that has converted women’s subjugation into women subject. Mind you, there is no emancipation in [education and economy alone]. In this modern world which has sort different levels of enhanced forms of human slavery converting men into machines of no emotional resolve what is but the idea of ‘choice’. If you don’t study, you don’t have job, you don’t have money, you don’t have respect and you can’t live, by this formula what is then remaining in the idea of choice?  All choice is predetermined or subject to the law of probability. From A or B, you may choose either. It is as simple as that when we say do women wear the veil by choice or force or do women get naked by choice or force? Either or situation exits. In case of patriarchy it roots straight at men to force women to veil but what about capitalism? We trace it back to modernity women’s choice to wear otherwise which is compelled by hyper sexualized imagery and advertisement of what is beautiful; that is economic profit. In fact the impact of capitalism can permeate the veil. For example women in Saudi who are forced to wear veils are also the biggest consumers of western out fits. Consumption is so bizarre that the most priced things are for the women in Saudi Arabia. So it is okay for her to do whatever and wear whatever at home or private sphere. Women do not one fine morning wake up and say ‘O I want to exercise my choice’. Women like men are conditioned into all sort of social reality. Question of choice is therefore intrinsic to other ideals of higher form not mere clothing -and for women grass is always greener on the other side. As can be seen this sort of choice is not benefitting.

Ideally men facing any sort of oppression have never resorted to getting naked? So what purpose does it serve? Is men’s sense of shame in place and women are reactionaries? Interestingly men want to be known as honorable, respected while women do not care of things like these? Why it is that a woman has for a quarter century in Muslim societies particularly fought only for dressing? Colonialism has infused this sort of quarrel mongering as sole purpose of ‘emancipation’ of women? Why can’t Muslim women fight so fiercely for knowledge, wisdom and economic prowess in their societies which are staggering due to several sorts of internal menaces [not to say women question is not intrinsic to that] but is that fought by just being naked?

At least we may agree, modern world has taught us ‘how to disagree’ and there are more civil ways of doing so. If Taliban’s attack on women is considered as reactionism by modernists why woman’s getting naked against those who value ‘body’, honour and piety in Egypt is no reactionism? In this irresolvable mockery played on in the name of free choice ‘women’ are the loosers of all sorts. Trapped between two extreme ideals wearing clothes is no longer easy for Muslim women, it is detrimental and decisive of what sort of politics they would face. It is not as difficult for a man to wear what he wants because the ‘commonality’ of all men dress is ‘modesty’. To choose between a ‘khan suit’ and a ‘western suit’ is not like choosing between a ‘veil’ and ‘mini-skirt’. So for Muslim women especially choice is predetermined.  So if we emphasize on choice we are likely to get trapped in an ever so cyclic oppression which benefits none but a spectator.

Likewise if a woman exercises her choice by not wearing her veil, believing that it is not taking her to heaven etc. She exercises such a choice by informed hyper-sexualized environment and capitalist incentives which claims that “NOT WEARING BURKA, NIQAB or ABAYA” is modern and luring. 

Choice is no longer an alternative, our world needs concrete solutions, and we can’t afford a share to a dog when our children are hungry.

Warning:  I to the fullest condemn the act of beating women whosoever is responsible must be regretful and punished. Do not purport words like misogynist, chauvinist and patriarchal for me. Besides having a voice I am a woman too. I share my sentiments about women’s subjugation as much with the writer but I disagree greatly with the form she/he takes for retorting to change.

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