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Am I being unreasonable to confront this woman?

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MNHQ have commented on this thread.

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

FreudiansSlipper Fri 20-Sep-13 00:00:02

see you have made the assumption because she was muslim I guess she was wearing a headscarf or had a name badge on that you recognise being a Muslim name that her judgement was based on religion and she tried to enforce that on you but it may not have been at all

As much as I rather medical professionals ignored their religious beliefs when at work I would not want to force someone who was devout catholic to be involved with procedure of a termination, as much as I do not want them to be offering their advice against termination

BlueSkySunnyDay Fri 20-Sep-13 00:06:37

Freudian with respect, she told me it was against her religious beliefs - I made no assumptions about her beliefs I was way too busy fighting with mil about unimportant wedding shite at the time.

I don't believe you should accept a job if you are unable to perform all aspects of it, unless due to disability.

Stunt there were only 2 pharmacies available, i'm quite private and was pretty embarrassed by the whole experience - still stresses me to think about it now.

FreudiansSlipper Fri 20-Sep-13 00:19:41

Regardless it was unprofessional for her to discuss with you in public about your medication

Religion is such a part of some people lives that it's not possible for them to leave it at home as long as it does not impact on their work I do not have a problem with it

SleepOhHowIMissYou Fri 20-Sep-13 00:36:07

I have skipped to the end but I would agree with those who advise the OP to tell her abuser that what she wears is her own personal choice and is none of her business.

However, I felt compelled to clarify exactly what a 'feminist' is as there seems to be a lot of 'I'm not a feminist, but' and 'I won't be told what to wear by a man or a woman' on here.

In a nutshell, feminism is the belief in the social, political and economic equality of the sexes. That's all!

So, "I'm not a feminist" directly translates to "I am of lesser value than a man".......just saying!!!


DropYourSword Fri 20-Sep-13 04:13:09

Until you read the FWR threads sleep. Many of which seem to promote female superiority.

festered Fri 20-Sep-13 05:48:18

Ask her why she dresses like she does. If she says 'because I want to ' then say 'well I want to dress like this'.

If she says 'None of your business' say 'well how I dress is none of your business either'.

I am pretty sure that in a lot of places it is regarded as hate crime to abuse people in a public place because of their appearance, and or/religion (this is kind of both!) so definitely tell the police. Even if they can't do anything, they can record it and the police are powerless if they do not know about things that go on. Just call and tell them what's happened.

To be honest , I doubt you're in any danger. Perhaps you could be diplomatic and ask her to explain why exactly she has a problem with how you dress, be nice, listen to her and answer her questions, as you said before-she might mellow and be somebody whose questions you can answer. If she remains hostile, just walk away as the bigger person here.

I am not religious, but I do dress unconventionally and not 'normal' and have had several instances which are akin to this in a lot of ways, and the above approach has served me good results eg, 'Why do you dye your hair pink?!'
'Why do you have your hair cut like that?'
'I like my hair cut like this!'
'I like my hair pink'
Conversation over.

exoticfruits Fri 20-Sep-13 07:07:25

People under estimate the power of ignoring. I used to have it with my children- they knew exactly how to wind each other up and it worked every single time- what would have upset them was it not working and them being ignored.
The woman did it specifically to be noticed and get a reaction- the most annoying thing is being denied one. As soon as you respond you give her a way in to go further- ignoring blocks her.

exoticfruits Fri 20-Sep-13 07:08:11

People under estimate the power of ignoring. I used to have it with my children- they knew exactly how to wind each other up and it worked every single time- what would have upset them was it not working and them being ignored.
The woman did it specifically to be noticed and get a reaction- the most annoying thing is being denied one. As soon as you respond you give her a way in to go further- ignoring blocks her.

exoticfruits Fri 20-Sep-13 07:08:42

Sorry - don't know why it went twice.

FreudiansSlipper Fri 20-Sep-13 09:22:30

i am a feminist

i do not see why a woman wearing a veil can not be a feminist

feminism is about choice. i wear high heels, heavy eye make up in other words i like to present a look to the world and that is my choice like many who wear the veil

i hate women being forced to wear the veil but accept not all are

AdventureTed Fri 20-Sep-13 09:30:13

Serious question - do any muslim men ever choose to wear a veil? If they did, would they be accepted by other muslims?

heartisaspade Fri 20-Sep-13 09:37:03

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

FreudiansSlipper Fri 20-Sep-13 09:38:25

no but in many countries men cover their heads, arms and legs

LessMissAbs Fri 20-Sep-13 09:47:58

I think we have slipped into a dangerous trap by normalising and ignoring concerns about wearing full face burkas/hijabs. And its not very pc to say so, but as I said before, religious discrimination is afforded far more protection than sex discrimination.

I worry that by normalising the covering up of women, it promotes the notion that men cannot resist female flesh unless it is contained, hidden and controlled, and that some men (and even one or two is enough) will change their way of thinking to conclude that that justifies sexual assault or rape on women who aren't covered up. So that I, as a woman, and half of the population, will be more at risk of violent assault because of it.

I worry also that covering the face is increasing, and that it represents backward, totalitarian thinking, even in Muslim countries. The fact that Sharia law is so open to widely differing interpretations is a problem of Sharia law, which is quite frankly a dreadful system of law which does not encompass change, updating and legal training properly, is a problem which should be addressed in the interests of humanity, not encouraged in the interests of political groups who use it to promote their own interests. It would be ridiculous for us in the west to follow the Bible as our main legal code, with few updates since then, and limited proper legislation to interpret it for modern times.

I also worry that it will affect thoughts towards what women should wear, and make them more judgemental.

I gave the example that I sometimes get abuse when I am out running in shorts and a vest, in the UK. I won't say who it comes from, out of respect for being inflammatory, but the OP is not the only person that suffers from being attacked because of her choice of clothing. I wear mine because I am doing a function which requires it, the OP does it for other reasons. Yet if I went to the police every time it happened, I would be laughed at.

But because it happens to the OP, and she fits into a particular demographic, she is afforded more protection than me. But yes, wear what you want, I won't say anything, I won't think much of you, but I won't stop you. And why ask permission off an internet forum if you can speak out for yourself? Similar things happen to women all the time (and some men).

LessMissAbs Fri 20-Sep-13 10:03:40

blingBangThe more severe covering up does seem to be more recent and on the increase. i'd think some women are experimenting with their faith and trying it out, some are saying a big fuck you to the west and the islamophobia (sp?)

Yes, I get that impression too. Or wanting to stand out, to be different, but using the womens' appearance to do so... I was at university with plenty of Muslim women, all of them wore western clothing even if they were quite strict about observing other tenets of their faith. Seeing the full face covering so frequently is quite a new thing.

am I the only one that thanks it might actually be quite liberating to be a woman in public and not be judged for your beauty, your hair, your make-up, your fashion sense, your age. Maybe we should all try it

But if no-one else is wearing it, would it not be falling into the trap into wanting to be noticed for being different, as opposed to being attractive?

*Freudian's Slipper I haven't assumed the OP is Muslim at all. I'm trying hard not to think this isn't more about attention seeking than a devotion to faith, or the desire to create conflict.

no but in many countries men cover their heads, arms and legs

In Algeria, I was certainly told this was to provide protection from the sun, and that loose fitting clothing which covered these areas was the most comfortable for the conditions. The climate is somewhat different here, and I don't see many men wearing the clothes they wore in North Africa here, even when they are from North Africa.

Hasn't Cherie Booth's sister converted to Islam and adopted the hijab? And now she constantly writes about it, for want of any other subject matter or anything to keep her in the spotlight.

AdventureTed Fri 20-Sep-13 10:08:03

I felt like the odd one out in the clothing section of my local superstore because all of the other women (if they were women) had their faces covered with black masks. Not just one - lots of them.

It was weird knowing they thought I was being rude for showing my face - like I was running around in the nip or something.

SirChenjin Fri 20-Sep-13 10:15:04

LittleMissAbs - excellent post at 09.47

SunshineMMum Fri 20-Sep-13 10:18:09

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

FreudiansSlipper Fri 20-Sep-13 10:18:37

maybe it is a religious and political statement for some women but if they are making that choice what is the problem

many muslim countries are turning their back of the more western way of life and embracing a more traditional life i am guessing in 50 years this may settle down not all muslim woman see the western way as the right way

i do not think any woman should have to think what she is wearing the impact if may have on others unless she is in a country that people abide by a stricter dress code. we do not live in such a country we are lucky enough to have our freedom of choice

MurderOfGoths Fri 20-Sep-13 10:21:01

"It was weird knowing they thought I was being rude for showing my face"

How did you know that's what they thought?

iWantChampagneOnColaBudget Fri 20-Sep-13 10:26:46

how about saying hello before she has a chance to say something about your dress, then when she says 'why are you wearing this.....' just explain your reason and that its your choice.

i was walking behind a lady who was wearing her veil to collect her kids from school, when a group of mums stopped talking and one said to the others, 'i honestly think its because there so ugly they have to cover themselves'
now, i kick myself whenever i remember that because i didnt say anything, and i later spoke to the veiled lady, who was so lovely

< the one who made the comment could have given pennywise a run for his money, but thats a start of a whole other thread >

LessMissAbs Fri 20-Sep-13 10:33:41

Iwantchampagne how about saying hello before she has a chance to say something about your dress, then when she says 'why are you wearing this.....' just explain your reason and that its your choice

Or why don't you simply engage her in friendly conversation, perhaps about the weather? I bet that solves the "problem" more easily than any other "tactics".

AdventureTed Fri 20-Sep-13 10:34:16

Murder - you are quite right. They may not have even been muslims. They could have been a bunch of shoplifters, or reporters trying it out for the day.

MurderOfGoths Fri 20-Sep-13 10:37:26

Or you know, normal people who've made a choice of what's right for them with no real care about what you choice you've made?

RowanMumsnet (MNHQ) Fri 20-Sep-13 10:37:58


We've had quite a few reports about this thread and we've deleted a few posts. This is (understandably) a hot-button topic at the moment so we thought we'd explain our thinking, in terms of what we do and don't delete on these sorts of threads.

Generally speaking, posts that express strong feelings about items of clothing (ie the veil, head coverings, hijab and so on) are fine - so long as the opinion is confined to the clothing, not to the wearer.

Similarly, when it comes to religion, we're fine with criticism of the religion itself, but we're not fine with generalised pejorative statements about any religion's followers.

So, to use a made-up example: 'The Jedi religion has always struck me as misogynist' - fine. 'Jedis are misogynists', or 'Jedis collude in the abuse of women and children' - not fine.

We know that some of you may see this as a semantic point, but in the particular context of this debate - and at a time when the police believe that attacks on Muslims are on the rise - we'd really like to keep this debate constructive.

It's can be a fine judgement, though, and I'm sure we'll make the wrong call now and then, do forgive us for that. As ever we welcome your thoughts.


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