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Am I being unreasonable to confront this woman?

(582 Posts)

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

LessMissAbs Fri 20-Sep-13 10:40:28

FreudiansSlipper 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

And at the same time, some Muslim countries are oppressing women's rights to be educated, leave the home and go out without a man by their side in public. Not to mention between at war often due to religious factions clashing at attempts to impose Islamic fundamentalist regimes, which include the above and forcing women to cover their faces. What is or is not a "traditional" way of life depends heavily on what particular period of time you pick. But certainly if you deny women education and the right to mingle freely with others in public, then I suspect many women may struggle to feel at home with western and northern ways, and indeed the ways that were perfectly normal 20 or 30 years ago in their own countries.

PeppiNephrine Fri 20-Sep-13 10:43:21

I totally object to my considered posts being deleted. There were no personal attacks, and I was objecting to hateful post which has not been deleted. A poster says that wearing a veil is like wearing a swastika, I call this racist sounding (not calling them racist) and I get deleted?

SubliminalMassaging Fri 20-Sep-13 10:43:32

It's totally a semantics point Rowan. Which is a bit of a joke really. Criticism of a religion and its diktats will always be seen by its followers as a direct attack on them. No way around it, I'm afraid.

SubliminalMassaging Fri 20-Sep-13 10:59:09

The OP has barely come back to this thread since page 1....hmm

Stuff like this does make me reconsider wearing the veil. I know a girl who wore a headscarf only with her regular clothes no black dress like me. She had it yanked off her because a guy decided he didn't like it. She was strong enough to continue wearing it I'm so weak minded compared to her.

Terrible. But no more terrible than all the poor women who get abused and attacked and mistreated by Muslim men for not covering, or just not covering sufficiently in many parts of the world. And I imagine there are rather more of them, all told, than people like your friend having her headscarf yanked off by non-muslim men.

BlingBang Fri 20-Sep-13 10:59:34

I don't understand why it is up to the victim to have to engage and be nice to someone who is hassling them or abusing them on the street for no reason.

BlingBang Fri 20-Sep-13 11:01:19

My Muslim friend has had her scarf yanked off and has been shouted at. There is no excuse for this - sheer thuggery. Doesn't matter that women are treated badly for not covering up elsewhere.

FreudiansSlipper Fri 20-Sep-13 11:04:15

yes I am well aware of that LessMissAbs and i am aware that some women in this country are forced or it is expected of them to wear a veil

but for some it is empowering and that is a choice they are making for themselves

a muslim woman does not represent all muslim women, there are many different cultures within the middle east and asia and many countries are going through huge social changes and some are choosing to live a life that to us seems restrictive and alien

i am not talking about what is going on in iran or afganistan but in more progressive coutries such as turkey, tunisia and indonesia where the full face veil is been worn again by some women through choice

YouTheCat Fri 20-Sep-13 11:07:06

Subliminal, just because Muslim men may or may not abuse women they deem as not covered enough in other countries (and I am a bit hmm about that) does not mean that the OP, or anyone else, should be subjected to abuse in this country for what they choose to wear.

I am not surprised the OP hasn't been back to the thread. She was asking for advice on how to deal with a rather unpleasant woman harassing her, not for a debate about what she chooses to wear.

PeppiNephrine Fri 20-Sep-13 11:10:49

Women getting abuse for not wearing the veil is not a free pass for you to give abuse to women who do.
OP has no doubt been scared off by all the posters defending the people who attack her choices and telling her that its all her own fault anyway.

Don't you see any irony by trying to champion freedom by stopping women making choices they want to make?

SubliminalMassaging Fri 20-Sep-13 11:11:54

In the middle east white/western expats are told constantly to be mindful of not offending local culture and local sensibilities, in terms of how they dress and how they behave and conduct themselves in public. Apart from in Saudi it is not actually illegal for women to show their knees and elbows, for example, but it is frowned upon by many and they are often upset or offended by some of the things that western visitors/expats do. They reserve the right to tell people (or ask them politely but forcefully) to stop, or cover up, or not be seen to be under the influence of alcohol in public, that sort of thing.

I am not sure why we feel that we cannot do the same. Trying to interact on any level with someone whose face you cannot see is unsettling and at times intimidating. It's not something we understand or enjoy or feel comfortable with AT ALL in our culture. So why should we have to endure it?

We do endure it, as a wider society, of course, because we are tolerant and polite and grudgingly accepting of these things on the whole. But it but it doesn't mean that on an individual level we have to like it, or that we do not have the right to express that it offends our cultural sensibilities.

FreudiansSlipper Fri 20-Sep-13 11:15:47

either we live in a country where we are free and not restricted to what we can or can not wear or we are not

i personally prefer to live in a country where i have that freedom i value it greatly having been bought up here and having lived in a country where i did not have the same freedoms

in many muslim countries women would have been hassled by the morality police for totally covering up (unless in remote villages) until the recent revolutions now hopefully they shall have the choice like we do here

MurderOfGoths Fri 20-Sep-13 11:16:52

sub But what people find intimidating varies, personally I find people in "chav" wear kind of unsettling. But I'd be being ridiculous if I thought they shouldn't wear it on that basis. And I'd be being a horrible person if I thought they should put up with abuse because of it, and a grade A twat if I justified it with "well people dressed like that are more often the ones attacking others".

PeppiNephrine Fri 20-Sep-13 11:17:47

You do not have the right to shout at them in the street for offending your cultural sensibilities.

Why are you comparing us to the middle east when your opinion is that we are better than them? seems confused, you can't be superior to them and then argue that we should be more like them.

SubliminalMassaging Fri 20-Sep-13 11:25:18

Of course we can't start dictating what normal clothes people wear in our western culture, but if loads of people started walking around in masks, wouldn't we be freaked out by it? Wouldn't it rattle us to the core and deeply unsettle us? Of course it would. It doesn't matter why - it just would.

Any 'chav' going into a shopping centre with his hood up and his anorak zipped up to his eyes, or a scarf covering his lower face would be viewed with deep suspicion because he cannot be indentified and it gives off an aggressive, furtive and secretive vibe. He would almost certainly (quite rightly) be told to remove it or leave, and would probably be trailed by security! We are programmed in our culture to feel a sense of disquiet about this sort of secrecy. It makes us feel vulnerable and that there is an unfair balance of power (communicatively speaking) going on, between us and the other person.

MurderOfGoths Fri 20-Sep-13 11:28:32

Somehow we al manage in Winter when people have hoods and scarves (often pulled up over their mouths) without running around in sheer terror.

In Summer we manage to cope with people wearing dark sunglasses that stop us making eye contact.

I agree that it can make it awkward, sunglasses especially are one of my pet peeves, but people can wear them, and should be able to.

PeppiNephrine Fri 20-Sep-13 11:28:47

Yes, but your discomfort is not my problem, its yours. The veil is not normal to you, but you are not in charge of what is normal for me.
Its a small minority of people, who do not affect you in anyway. Why are you making such a big deal out of it when it does not make the slightest bit of difference to your life?

FreudiansSlipper Fri 20-Sep-13 11:29:13

but we are not all going to go round wearing masks are we

someone covering their face with a hood and scarf is for some reasons wanting to hide themselves or pose themselves as a threat

that is not the same as dressing for your religious beliefs

and really would you feel more threatened by 5 fully covered arab women or a group of 5 young men covering themselves with hoods and scarves

AdventureTed Fri 20-Sep-13 11:31:38

Murderofgoths - Mumsnet felt able to use the example of Jedis because members of their movement are not likely to take offence at being used as examples.

AdventureTed Fri 20-Sep-13 11:37:48

Murder - and no, I'm not implying that members of other religions are quicker to take offence than Jedis.

MurderOfGoths Fri 20-Sep-13 11:39:39

adventure That is MNHQ's choice, what do you want me to say?

YouTheCat Fri 20-Sep-13 11:39:47

That bloke going round Northampton dressed as a clown is a whole lot more scary than anyone wearing a veil. grin

I think I'll stick to judging people on their actions and not what they choose to wear. And not being scared of people who choose to cover their face for reasons of religion.

SubliminalMassaging Fri 20-Sep-13 11:40:29

Where did I say we were 'better' than them? And who is 'them' anyway? All muslims? All middle east countries? What?

Or is it just your assumption that I should think 'we' are better than all muslim countries, on account of my dislike of the full veil?

And actually I am not sure that there is any law against shouting at someone in the street if they do something that offends you. Unless you threaten them, or it can be proven that you are motivated by racism or religious hatred. I don't think that feeling uncomfortable with the full face veil is necessarily evidence of either of these things - although I accept that it often will be.

I think I probably could mutter angrily (or even shout) at someone in public for not picking up dog mess, or for shooting rabbits or for wearing fur, or for parking inconsiderately or for wearing a 'Young Conservatives' badge, for going around Tescos in a tiny bikini, or any number of things that may not be illegal, they may have a perfect right to do them, but they might offend my cultural or moral sensibilities. I could not, and would not be arrested for it unless I did a bit more than just make the odd indignant comment in the street.

SubliminalMassaging Fri 20-Sep-13 11:44:01

*Yes, but your discomfort is not my problem, its yours. The veil is not normal to you, but you are not in charge of what is normal for me.
Its a small minority of people, who do not affect you in anyway. Why are you making such a big deal out of it when it does not make the slightest bit of difference to your life?*

And the same could be said of all the countries wear women are fully expected to cover and are treated with deep loathing if they don't.

Succubi Fri 20-Sep-13 11:45:00

One my posts was deleted and I am at an absolute loss as to why. I have asked Mumsnet to clarify.

For the avoidance of doubt I am Muslim and I find the veil/chadoor/headscarf deeply offensive.

YouTheCat Fri 20-Sep-13 11:45:19

Yes there is a law against shouting abuse in the street. Ffs! It's a public order offence.

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