Warning: THIS ARTICLE CONTAINS HIGH LEVELS OF SARCASM
If you are allergic please refrain from reading this. If sarcasm makes direct contact with your eyes please see a doctor or terrorist as soon as possible.
Australia your news last week was haaaard reading. Every time I thought I’d surely read the most awful thing I could, something of a more horrific nature popped up in my feed. I had to watch Lea Salonga (the original voice of Jasmine from Aladdin) sing “A Whole New World” to break up the tone of the afternoon. There was also an animated picture of Jasmine next to her, so at least I saw one positive portrayal of someone of Middle Eastern appearance.
Because according to our government, and some very unbiased media outlets, most Muslims are not to be trusted. If they’re not all out there beheading someone, those pesky Muslim women are making our Prime Minister feel uncomfortable by not showing their faces. He finds Burqas “confronting.” HE’S MINISTER FOR WOMEN! HE SHOULD BE ABLE TO SEE AS MANY WOMEN’S FACES AS HE LIKES, WHENEVER HE LIKES!
This is the Prime Minister who said:
“What the housewives of Australia need to understand-
(Housewives of Australia is not a TV show by the way)
“-as they do the ironing-“
(Oh hey 1952, I didn’t see you come in. Take a seat. I’ll just get my wife to iron you a cup of tea)
“-is that if they get it done commercially, it’s going to go up in price.”
He also said:
“While I think men and women are equal-“
(Whoah! From the makers of “I’m not racist but…”)
“-they’re also different. I don’t think it’s a bad thing that we have, say, an enormous number of women simply doing housework.”
Of course he finds the Burqa confronting. I mean, how are they going to find the iron wearing one of those things? And when they do, how are they going to be able to iron with all that excess material getting in the way of the ironing? Man, I’m surprised women have time to be an Islam with all that ironing to attend to.
You know what I find confronting? Crushed velvet. Capes. Goatees. Especially goatees. I don’t like Goatees. I don’t like what they represent (Heavy Metal) and I don’t like how they look (like a predatory 90s afterschool music teacher) The Goatee has spawned other more damaging facial hairstyles such as the “tickler” and the charmingly named “flavour saver.” Excuse me, I just have to dry wretch into an open lagoon.
So I’m sorry if you wear a goatee; I’m not into it. BUT! I have to deal with looking at a goatee because it’s not my business to tell other people what to wear. At the most I should have a conversation with goatee bearers about how they feel about wearing them. What it means to them. How can I be more tolerant of their choices, and if it’s any of my goddamned business asking in the first place.
Am I trying to draw comparison between a religious garment and a fashion statement, you ask? I don’t know if you’ve ever spoken to someone who listens to metal music, but it is definitely a religion. You’re always a metalhead, whether practicing or not.
This is dog whistle politics to silently condone a slide into outright national bigotry/racism. It’s amazing that Tone has been able to hide so much hatred under one little comment. He’s made his own Liberal Burqa, except he’s actually concealing something that is a matter of national safety. I’m sure that would make him proud and nauseated at the same time.
Somehow we have gone to war in Iraq, swept privacy laws away, raided innocent people’s houses and heard allegations of sexual abuse of asylum seekers in detention IN THE SPACE OF A WEEK and yet there is a national discussion about where Burqa wearers should sit in parliament house. The Coalition Government are turning into Today Tonight (Australian tabloid current affairs program). Every time they’d like you to ignore something quite important they run the “HOW SUPERMARKETS ARE RIPPING YOU OFF” story, but in the guise of “HEY REMEMBER TO BE SCARED OF MUSLIMS, ‘KAY?”
And let’s be real about two things:
- There hasn’t been a recorded entry of someone wearing a burqa into the Australian parliament house yet.
- They’re probably talking about a niqab.
When questioned about his decision to move the very dangerous women to behind a glass shield (where the visiting children are kept) Prime Minister Abbott then to had the gall to say “It’s hardly the most important issue facing our country right now.” Yes, Mr Prime Minister. It is hardly the most important thing so why make it a conversation in the first place? What you are doing is called Gaslighting. My sister used to do it. She’d get into an argument with me about something and then when I’d prove her wrong she’d say, “See, I told you. That’s what I was saying all along.” It would drive me insane. But I forgive her. You know why? Because she was six.
Where is our anger, Australia? Not outrage, but bloody anger! The only thing that gives me a skerrick of hope is how the NRL crowd reacted to a certain someone’s name being announced at the Grand Final (Youtube it – worth it).
Because while I sit here writing about Aladdin and Today Tonight, we are being stripped: Of rights and information and the ability to see each other as fellow human beings, rather than “others” who need to be policed by white people in the community. Maybe if we stand up and refuse to be stripped, they’ll put us behind a glass shield. And if that glass shield doesn’t provide protection, at least we will know what it feels like to be silenced together.