.Open Mic, Week of Dec. 7

Men and Hijabs

Another case for equality 

By Dr. Martin Blinder

Like most everyone fortunate to live in a free society (and doubtless a goodly number of people who don’t), I am astonished and proud of the extraordinary bravery of the women of Iran, risking their lives to protest a cruel and bizarre dictum by Iranian men apparently so insecure about their manhood that they force their women to shroud themselves from head to toe like lepers. 

But there may be another different strategy that I believe is not only supremely effective, but less likely to place these women in such peril.

Specifically, in that the Iranian government seems convinced that the wearing of this piece of black cloth is absolutely essential to the peace, tranquility, safety and moral fiber of the nation, I would suggest that rather than fighting to do away with this mandate, women should instead insist that men be afforded the same constitutional right to serve the nation that only women presently enjoy. Henceforth, men should be expected to appear in public wearing the hijab. It would be most interesting to hear Iranian men explain why they should be denied the opportunity to add to this priceless and righteous contribution to their nation’s well-being.

Presently, a policy where only women get to wear a hijab in public is manifestly discriminatory against men who are thus left bereft of their right to publicly demonstrate their deeply felt righteous morality. Furthermore, while women can rely on a hijab’s protection year-round against the harsh Iranian climate, burning hot in summer, freezing cold in winter, men have only scraggly beards to protect their faces.

Presently, should a courageous Iranian man protest this injustice by appearing on a public street wearing a hijab, the morality police would be on him in one jihad second. Doubtless they would not wait to haul him back to pious headquarters to beat him to death, but would stone him right there on the spot. This is blatantly unfair. Time for Iranian men to rise up and join their women-folk in the demand to be treated equally.

Dr. Martin Blinder lives in San Anselmo.

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