sarasvati: A white lotus flower floating on water. (Default)
I've signed up for both [community profile] kinked and [community profile] 36_stratagems, as a way of getting back into fandoms that I've lurked in for years but never really participated in. I've had fic ideas lurking in the back of my mind for a long time, but never really did much with them except for wistfully wishing that I could do something with them.

Unemployment has been good for increasing my fandom interest, if nothing else. I've spent more time reading and watching things that I would have passed on previously, using the excuse that I didn't have much time. I envied people who could hold down a full-time job and stay still active in fandom as well as enjoy other hobbies. It was all I could do to hold down a full-time job and finish some knitting projects. Fandom was a luxury I didn't feel I could allow myself.

But having the majority of my days free has changed that. I've had the time to read through book series or watch the entirety of shows, so I'm not playing catch-up as much as I used to.

Changing the tone from light to serious, Quebec is trying to pass a bill to ban burqa and niqab. I am strongly against this bill, personally. There are some disadvantages to wearing niqab is Western society, but most of the women who wear them understand that sometimes they'll have to remove them (eg. for hospital visits, having ID taken, etc.), and deal with it accordingly, prefering to remove the veil in private if they have to. Banning them from wearing them if they want things like health care and legal justice just disgusts me.

Supporters of the bill say that the niqab is a symbol of "backwards oppression of women" and "anachronistic subjugation", and all sorts of other things that sound convincing if you ignore the fact that banning that style of garment is just as restrictive as forcing them to wear one in the first place. Some Christian and Judaic sects believe that women should be subservient to men and thus cover their hair and wear skirts. Shall we ban women from wearing skirts in public, and ban all head covers (including bandanas, baseball caps, and winter hats), in the name of freedom and equality for all?

Most Muslim women in the West wear the hijab, burqa, or niqab because they choose to. They wear it as a sign of respect to their husbands and to their religion. (See the title of this post for an example of why banning religious clothing is just rididulous.) One can say that these women have been brainwashed by the culture of origin, and to some extent that may be true, but one must therefor also look at how we've also been brainwashed by our own culture, to believe that women must conform to our standards or else not be considered women at all.

Denying choice does not promote freedom.
sarasvati: Greyscale picture of Kido Jou, studying at his desk (study)
Although I'm tired, I'm still not asleep, and at this point I don't think I will be until mid-afternoon. An hour's nap ought to sort me out, once I've come back from lunch and from returning a movie. It will make for a long day out in cold temperatures, but even if I could skip lunch, I can't delay on returning the movie.

I came across some issues of National Geographic magazine on a torrent site, which date all the way back to the late 1800s. The majority of what's contained in those magazines will be no longer relevent to modern times, possibly even all of the magazines, but from a historical point of view, they're fascinating. I love to get my hands on very old books describing issues of the day, since then not only do I get to study the events and issues themselves, but also how they were viewed at the time.

That's why I was positively gleeful when I found a Canadian history textbook from the 1860s (or possibly 1880s, I can't remember which) in a used-book-store-slash-antique-shop last year. Learning about what people of the past learned has been a source of fascination to me for years now, in the same way that learning what people in other countries and of other cultures learn. It isn't enough for me to learn about that country or culture, since I'm learning it from the perspective of my own culture, with all the biases intact. I want to see other biases and viewpoints. Learning, for example, that it's not uncommon for young Japanese children to be taught that Japan is the only country in the world with four distinct seasons gave me a nerdy little thrill. That sort of thing gives me a glimpse of their culture from the inside, lets me see a little more how they view themselves and the world around them.

I enjoy trying to step outside my cultural limitations and to see things from a stranger's perspective. I've seen many Americans state that America is the best country in the world because of democracy and capitalism, ignoring, of course, the fact that many other countries have those things too. There seems to be a running theme among Canadians that says that Canadians are better than Americans simply by virtue of not being American.

Cultural biases tell more about the culture in question than most people think.


sarasvati: A white lotus flower floating on water. (Default)

August 2011

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