Take It Off, Or We’ll Make You: On Sarkozy’s Proposed Burqa Ban

For far too long—well, for at least a decade or so—we in the West have been biting our lip to let you Muslim women take care of yourselves. Well, at least some of us have. Or we feel like we have. At this historical moment, it seems that we have no choice but to enter the fray on your behalf.

We’ve been getting increasingly anxious about you allowing your men to control, dominate and subjugate you. As your allies, though we do not understand why you choose to remain in this state, we intend to assist you in getting out of this unfortunate situation, and to enable, empower, and emancipate you.

Since you have not been out in the world long enough to know what is best for you, we are going to spell out for you what is in your own best interest.

First, you need to stop obeying men. Those men. Fathers, brothers, husbands, uncles, burly sons, imams, mullahs. You need to have a mind of your own. We understand that the peculiarly Muslim pathology is hard to overcome, but we urge you to struggle.

Be bold. Make your own decisions. How do you know when you are making your own decisions? Your decisions can be recognized as peculiarly yours when they are strikingly different from the will of those other guys. At that point, they will also be strikingly similar to ours.

If you would only choose to step out of the mold that your little community enclaves create for you, and step into the mold that the greater community of the state creates for everyone, you’d be in a safe place. A free place. Your own place.

Henceforth, you shall carry yourselves differently. Downcast eyes are no longer acceptable unless you are in accounting. Raise your eyes and chin, and look straight up at people. Note also that you must carry yourselves in a different way. Your limbs should swing freely. Your hips should have a little swing in them. These are the signs of a woman who is comfortable with her body. High-heeled shoes can help you develop the strut that is the mark of a free woman—and reach cabin baggage more easily. It is also, needless to say, a gait pleasing to the eye.

And of course, most importantly, your clothing. When you dress in loose, dark-colored clothing that covers you like a potato sack, drenching you in fabric from top to toe, you are revealed to every eye as a woman who is enslaved, and are publicly humiliated. When you step out in clothing that boldly states your womanhood, you are a free woman. You are no longer a slave to old rules and notions. Modernity is inherently free.

Therefore, burqas, veils, and headscarves are now off-limits. Women who appear in public wearing such clothing may be fined, arrested, and/or imprisoned. They may be prevented from attending schools and colleges, and from going to work. (We may make allowances for shoppers, though, especially if they’re from the Gulf).

Burqas and veils are foreign and alien. They are morally despicable. They are derogatory to women. Instead check out the latest Abercrombie catalogue, or the Victoria’s Secret fashion catalogue. (We understand if you can’t get to the swim special yet. We don’t want to be pushy.)

It is now essential to check women in bandannas that are suspiciously like headscarves for racial background. White girls can wear bandannas because it is currently fashionable. Arab chicks have to take off the bandannas at the gate—the immigration gate at the airport. White girls with dark hair and eyes may wish to carry proof of racial background to be on the safe side. Women who have had chemo should wear wigs instead of do-rags henceforth.

If you are seen in scuba gear that looks suspiciously like an attempt to wear a burqini, we may need to strip search you to establish whether you are indeed emancipated or still a slave to medieval clothing practices. Note: Your unwillingness to be strip-searched may reveal you as an Islamic extremist.

Winter-wear should avoid excesses of weather-protection. An Arab woman dressed in a thick coat, a fur hat and a large scarf may be interrogated. Temperatures should be well below freezing for such clothing to be permissible. (The same goes for white girls with dark features).

Allergy-masks are to be avoided by Muslim women. (We urge you to get the shots.) Scarves to protect your coiffure from the wind should be small (no more than 4 square inches) and transparent so that the purpose is clearly identifiable, and cannot be mistaken for a hijab.

Halloween masks should be similarly avoided by Muslims. Select costumes that use make-up rather than masks. Select costumes that do not use any forms of head-covering (e.g. wigs, scarves, nun’s habit, pirate hat). Dressing up as, say, Whoopi Goldberg may be impermissible because it necessitates dreadlocks. Dressing up as, say, Queen Elizabeth also involves head-wear, and should be avoided. The Muslim-Catholic comparison has already become a sore point, so Muslim women should avoid dressing up as nuns.

All scarves, hats, caps, bandannas, robes, jackets (in summer), and suspiciously long modest tunics must be removed by all Muslim and/or Arab women prior to deplaning at Charles De Gaulle. As fluids and hair-sprays are tossed before boarding, so now must women’s unnecessary articles of clothing be removed and destroyed on entry into the fatherland.

We want to see you free.

Otherwise, we would rather not see you at all.