Nobody should be bullied into wearing something to prove their allegiance to a country, whether it’s a bracelet or a red poppy or a saltire in face paint.
She’s referring to the ribbing Miliband got for not wearing the latest craze – bracelets to show support for a cause. She has a point.
And nor, arguably, should they be bullied out of wearing something.
And again, I’d usually agree.
This week, it emerged that a 16-year-old girl has been barred from an outstanding London state school because she insists on wearing the niqab, or full-face covering. Camden School for Girls is famous for turning out strong-minded young women but says it can’t teach this one due to an established policy of challenging “inappropriate dress which offends public decency or which does not allow teacher-student interactions”.
Except insisting on a dress code isn’t ‘bullying’. I’m pretty sure my HR department would scoff at my claim of ‘bullying’ because my boss failed to allow me to wear a bikini when seeing clients.
… just as the Sun row isn’t really about a bracelet, this isn’t purely about a scrap of fabric worn by at most a tiny minority of Muslim women. The veil is a metaphor not just for the struggle between religious faith and feminism but for deep contemporary fears of division and distance, of the shutters coming down between one culture and another.
Maybe so. That doesn’t mean the stated aim isn’t just as valid. But we have to pity the poor liberals, you see:
It’s helplessly confusing for liberals, who can’t decide which is worse: a Muslim culture where it’s accepted that men will ogle women, and that women should hide themselves for shame, or a western one where girls choosing the veil in defiance of their families, as an expression of their own identity, get lectured by grumpy white men who think they should make more effort to fit in?
Oh, poor liberals!
The unspoken fear must be that if schools surrender on veils, the next thing will be demands for girls to sit separately from boys, or to drop music and sport.
Yes. That’s exactly the point. Will that too cause a ‘dilemma’ for so-called liberals, Gaby?
Humans can, of course, learn to get by without all the non-verbal cues on which most of us unthinkingly rely in social and professional encounters. It’s a tiny thing, but I’ll never forget watching David Blunkett enter a meeting and extend his hand for a handshake at precisely the moment his sighted host did so.
So…you equate this with disability? Those born blind have no choice.
…if a girl wants to learn in a profoundly empowering school that prides itself on fostering independent thought, then it feels wrong to push her away, possibly into an establishment without half as many principles. It’s a properly liberal education that sets girls free, or they wouldn’t risk death in countries from Pakistan to Nigeria to get one. We should do nothing to exclude from it those who may one day need it most.
Because it ‘feels wrong’, Gaby – ever the good progressive – assume it must be wrong. But think about it – who is really doing the bullying here?
Isn’t it the person who runs to the press to try to force an institution into changing its admission requirements to suit her desires?