Reader letter of the day

Alarajrogers: "The veil is a terrible metaphor for women's submission."

Published July 23, 2008 10:50PM (EDT)

For some time, we've tossed around the idea of highlighting stand-out reader letters, and the debate in the letters thread for today's post on veiling and French values demanded that we finally kick-start this feature. So, I bring you our first reader letter of the day:

I can't help but think

If there were a country where the prevailing practice was for women to run around naked, and a woman from America tried to become a citizen, and was denied on the grounds that she insists on covering up her breasts and genitals, we would be outraged.

The veil is a *terrible* metaphor for women's submission, because if you were raised in Muslim culture, you may literally feel as if you're naked without it. I would not want to wear a micro-bikini to the grocery store or bicycle down the street in the nude; why do we expect a Muslim woman to be necessarily comfortable with exposing her face to strangers when she's been raised to feel that that is nakedness?

If she doesn't know what voting is, then France may have a point; no one should become a citizen of a democracy without being able to pass a citizenship test proving they understand how democracy works. But the veil shouldn't have anything to do with it.

-- alarajrogers

By Tracy Clark-Flory

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