Rushdie soon to be on the run, can hide out at my house

The Evening Standard's entertainment guide has a great story about Salman Rushdie joining in the veil fray. He's quoted making the very astute observation that "the veil is a way of taking power away from women."

This is exactly the way to say it. Depending on your starting assumptions, you can say it is either degrading or dignifying. But both sides agree it takes power away from women.

One side of the debate (in terms of preference, not necessarily of policy) holds that taking power away from women is a bad thing because women are rational autonomous moral agents who can and should interact with society as such. The other side believes that taking power away from women is beneficial because of how naturally sexual (i.e., non-rational) it is to be in a woman's company. The veil protects women from being lusted over—as if that would damage their moral status anyway—and men from being tempted. There is no room for rational autonomous moral agency here: the veil is necessary because primal emotions are paramount.

It's easy for me to pick a side.

Hat tip to Nick Gillespie.

Share this