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Am I being unreasonable to confront this woman?

(582 Posts)

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justanuthermanicmumsday Thu 19-Sep-13 01:33:00

for those of you who don't know I wear a face veil usually a patterned scarf to avoid sticking out so much lol. point is I expect the odd comments maybe groans as I work past in my honour of course.

But two times now this senior lady I'd say in her 60s or more unprovoked loudly made comments at me. The first time she said" why are you wearing that" I was walking past with my twin buggy to supermarket, I thght she was incredibly rude. Had she said excuse me and proceeded to ask me a question in a normal tone I wouldn't have been miffed. Still I kept my cool said religious reasons as I walked away. I didn't want a conversation I don't see why I should explain when she was so rude.

yet today I see her again shouting across the road at me this time." No need to wear that take it off". Today I would say she looked aggressive or perhaps it was my eyes deceiving me. My toddler was with me she looked distressed said" mummy whys that lady shouting". I said "she's prob ill like your gran never mind her."

Should I confront her if this happens again? I'm not an aggressive person quite a walkover and not much confidence but I think it can't be ignored its like harassment.

I dread to think ill pass her again if I pop out she's always on the same route as me, yet why should I dread her.

Granted she doesn't like my dress neither does my brother, I'm not harming her in anyway. one sibling said I shouldn't confront her in case she goes to the police. But that's insane what reason would she have to go to the police i would simply tell her to get off my case. How would she like it if I told her to change her dress for something more acceptable to me. She's not the fashion police or the law.

Please remember this is not a conversation on whether you approve of my dress rather this woman's behaviour

pianodoodle Thu 19-Sep-13 08:45:28

You don't owe her an explanation but if she is harassing you like this every day I agree with whoever else said the police would take it seriously.

I find it dreadful that you have to expect groans as well why can't people just be about their own business?!

CairngormsClydesdale Thu 19-Sep-13 08:46:42

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nancy it seems you missed my point

I said nothing about whether or not I 'approve' of the clothing

what I said was, wearing something which sends an aggressively hostile message will provoke hostile reactions

people are frightened and disturbed by those who choose to conceal their identity under veils, hoodies and helmets

if you upset and frighten people, you will get reactions. for every mad woman who shouts, there are 50 who are quietly unsettled

I once met a man who had stupidly when very young got facial and hand tattoos of swastikas and the word NAZI

I wonder if he posted here, people would think it legitimate to exclude 'approval' or consideration of how his choices were likely to affect his interactions with the world

it is silly to expect you can send an openly hostile message to the world and get no reaction

KittensoftPuppydog Thu 19-Sep-13 08:48:32

She is rude, but you have to realise that you choice of outfit is upsetting to some people and they don't know how to handle it.
I personally don't agree with women wearing the face veil and find it very upsetting to see. I think it is insulting to women, to men and to the culture that you live in. It is extreme in the way that public nudity would be.
I would also hate to explain to a little girl why some people think women should wear it. I see it as a very bad example.
I wouldn't shout at you, but I think you are being rude, and insulting to all women who have fought for women's rights in the past.
I'm about to get flamed really badly now, so I'm going to bow out, but I thought you should understand the woman's reaction even though she's not dealing with her feelings well.
Btw, if I saw someone walking around naked I probably would shout 'put it away love'.
I would love it if all of the people who spend so much energy defending a woman's right to wear a face veil spent ANY TIME AT ALL in fighting for the rights of women who are forced to wear it.

pianodoodle Thu 19-Sep-13 08:49:23

I actually wouldn't confront someone like that. I wouldn't even speak to her. Just stand calmly and take your mobile out and make a call to the police. If she has any sense she'll disappear and not bother you again when she realises what you're doing.

NeoMaxiZoomDweebie Thu 19-Sep-13 08:50:08

Well...the law currently says you can wear what you want. But...I'm interested in why you think it won't make you "stick out"...it obviously DOES make you stick out.

NeoMaxiZoomDweebie Thu 19-Sep-13 08:51:26

Kittens I wouldn't even know HOW to explain a woman who was hiding her face to my daughters. Can anyone tell me what to say if we ever come across this and they ask? They are 9 and 5.

TakingThePea Thu 19-Sep-13 08:58:23

Neo why can't you just say because their culture/religion believes/likes to wear them? If they say why again say I do not know because I don't know much about their religion.
It's not that hard - think you are slightly exaggerating with "I wouldn't even know HOW to explain to them"

NeoMaxiZoomDweebie Thu 19-Sep-13 09:00:09

Pea They are very curious children....your answer does not explain the why....I don't know how to explain the reasons behind it and I suspect they'd be asking questions over and over till they were satisfied.

neo my 3 year old has asked me. a person completely concealed head to toe in black (including gloves) stood next to us on the bus. I had no good answer

funny to look around that bus at the huge range of ethnicities, nationalities, hair & clothing styles, religions (inc many other Muslims undoubtedly) -

apparently the person in the most attention-seeking outfit was the only one dressed modestly

it breaks my heart to see the bravery of girls like Malala standing up to the Taliban, and then women choosing to spread it over here

apols for double post

TakingThePea Thu 19-Sep-13 09:02:51

Kittens nazi and swastika tattoos are not equal to a face veil.
If you are so concerned about women's rights and the women being forced to wear it should you not be concerned about them and give them a warm reception?
Why would you be hostile and offended by a woman who was being forced to wear something against her will?

TakingThePea Thu 19-Sep-13 09:04:54

Neo then just explain it is a part of their culture but I do not understand or know anything about their culture? I am sure there will be lots of questions they will ask that you won't know the answer to

NeoMaxiZoomDweebie Thu 19-Sep-13 09:08:21

But I want to know too Pea. I'm not in the habit of dismissing things as "just because" and don't want to teach my DC that habit. It's a dangerous one. We must question to learn.

Melonbreath Thu 19-Sep-13 09:14:25

Regardless of my opinions on the veil this country has a right to free speech, which includes wearing whatever you damned well please.

Fecklessdizzy Thu 19-Sep-13 09:16:12

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PoppettyPing Thu 19-Sep-13 09:16:26

OP specifically said in her post that she was not interested in your opinions on her dress. She is asking for suggestions on how to deal with rude people. Ironic they seem to be here on this thread! hmm

I think women in religious communities who wear veils can fight their own battles if and when they choose, and decide for themselves what they believe. They don't need some privileged person with no experience of their culture stepping in and getting all offended on their behalf. I say this as a feminist.

Shouting at someone in the street to take off their face covering is disgusting and intimidating. It smacks of white ownership of public space and shaming those who don't conform to that, under the guise of "but they're so oppressed..."

OP tell the silly cow to firmly to mind her own bloody business and walk away. Don't let her take up any headspace of yours, she's ignorant and petty.

KittensoftPuppydog Thu 19-Sep-13 09:16:58

I didnt say that re tattoos.
Yes, I don't know if someone is forced to wear it or not, so I wouldn't make assumptions, but I still hate to see it and it upsets me, whatever reason they wear it.
I have talked to women who have chosen to wear it and have told them how I feel.
I do belong to organisations that fight forced veiling.
Btw I am old enough to have worked in the edgeware rd in the early 80s and remember lots of women wearing leather face masks, sometimes with metal pieces over the nose.
How would you explain that to a child? Is that ok?

KittensoftPuppydog Thu 19-Sep-13 09:18:06

Melon breath, no it doesn't. Try going around topless.

TakingThePea Thu 19-Sep-13 09:18:15

I don't think you should dismiss them, just honestly say I don't know much about it. I wouldn't say it's dangerous to not know everything - I couldn't answer many questions about Hinduism or a remote tribals traditions (for example) - because I just don't know about them in depth.

I'm sure the OP or another muslim mumsnetter can come along and explain for you.
(I don't know the answer! Except I have been told by Muslims it does not say anywhere in the Quran to cover your face so I would imagine it's more of a cultural belief)

FrancesFarmer Thu 19-Sep-13 09:21:03

That woman is rude. I would never say anything to a woman whose face is covered, however, I do find the sight of covered up women dismaying. You might not think you are harming anyone by covering yourself but you are pretty much making yourself into a walking symbol of female oppression and sending a terrible message to your daughters and everyone else who sees you. Women have fought long and hard for the freedom we have today and you are throwing it all away. I would urge you to read more about feminism - you can start by keeping an eye on the feminist section here on mumsnet.

Fecklessdizzy Thu 19-Sep-13 09:22:14

OP It's totally up to you what you wear and no random old ladies should venture opinions at you across the road at the top of their voices.

The whole point of feminism is that we get to choose for ourselves!

I would say as calmly as possible that it is your choice and non of her business and keep walking. If she keeps hassling you I'd take a previous posters advice and involve the police.

desertgirl Thu 19-Sep-13 09:24:41

When Muslims impose dress codes on women (the TAliban, Iran, etc) we are rightly outraged. Why is it ok for us to impose dress codes on Muslim women?

takingthwpea it was me who posted about the tattoos. both are divisive and hostile ways to present yourself, with very negative associations

I also wrote at length about the hostility of choosing to cover your face and how it prevents any human interaction. I know of no equivalent practice in any religion including Islam

I feel sorry for those women who are forced into it

not for white British converts who choose it (and who are often the most extremist)

oh and melons there is no right to dress how you like, try asking the Naked Rambled who has spent most of hid adult life in prison

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