14 July 2008

Political Correctness vs. A Sense of Humour

As I am prone to do in the wee hours of the morning I have been surfing the Internet and amusing myself with the myriad of sites that are there to be seen. I came across the cartoon that I have posted here. My first reaction was to smile.

Nevertheless, the PC radar clicks in and my mind wanders to heated debates about whether a burqa can be worn for a photo on some one's driver's licence or in some one's passport. Then it wanders to whether the State can regulate whether a Muslim child or girl can where the hijab at school.

This all happens from a single cartoon that is designed to challenge our politically correct biases while making us laugh at ourselves.

I wonder what is your view on this cartoon.


Silverlines said...

As funny at it may seem, that sort of event seems to be real in some other part of the world. Even some schools here in Indonesia do regulate their girl students to wear hijab to school (not to an extent of a burqa, to my knowledge, though). Not that I am in agreement, but who am I to judge what's for other people's convenience?

On another note since you have no shoutbox where I can ask any irrelevant-to-the-post question, is there any plan that you'd write about the Pope's visit to Australia vis a vis the sexual abuse of minors by the members of the Catholic Church in Australia?

Katadia said...

Rob... I didn't laugh when I saw the pic. Just smiled. :)

On the driving licence thing, can you even drive while wearing a burqa? Not in Jakarta LOL.

By the way, Ive tagged yu to do that post 'age that i wish to go back to'. Cheers

Anonymous said...

I still don't get it.

I still want to kick any men's balls (oops) who force his wife (wives/women) to wear burqa and I still don't get how (some) women claim that they wear it with their own will.

Rob Baiton said...


It is funny because it is real. I am not judging one's right to wear the hijab or the burqa. Probable for similar reasons as yours, who am I to judge?

I know some women who tell me that wearing the hijab is empowering for them!

On the shoutbox thing. Funnily enough I was thinking of writing such a piece today -- seeing there has been alleged cover ups and now an apology.

Rob Baiton said...

Well, I think I smiled at first too!

Thanks to the invention of AC it probably is not as steamy as it would be for anyone else driving a non-AC car!

Not sure about the tag thing... What about an age I want to go forward to?

Rob Baiton said...

Writer One...

I am not into the forcing of anything, generally! :D

I am particularly not into the idea that men have the right to force women to wear particular clothing.

You might not understand why some women choose to wear it of their own free will. However, I think that there are plenty of women who do choose to wear the hijab for their own reasons.

One of the reasons I have heard is that they feel it empowers them. If we are against men forcing women to wear the hijab then we should also be against the State forcing Muslim women to take it off, shouldn't we?

Silverlines said...

Haven't heard of anyone feel empowered myself, but I know that some did say they feel safer. Whatever the reason behind, I could only respect their decision.

If we are against men forcing women to wear the hijab then we should also be against the State forcing Muslim women to take it off, shouldn't we?

Can't agree more.
It's just like letting someone wearing bikini, or a kimono, or a piece of kebaya.
When it is voluntarily, why should it matter at all?

Rob Baiton said...


Maybe the empowerment comes from feeeling safer, I don't know. It is just that I have had a couple of people say it to me personally and I have read something on it somewhere that was saying essentially the same thing.

But, in any event my point is the same as what you have said, if it is voluntary then who am I to say that it should be taken off.

Brett said...

I don't think its funny. I put it in the category of cartoons you used to see in the Australian Post: a pretty average attempt at humour.

I WOULD like to know what a veil-wearing woman does at passport control though. Does she drop the veil? I would assume so.

In terms on the comments about choice: I have a staff of 70+, about 3/4 of which are women. Not one wears a scarf. But I do know women who wear scarves by "choice", i.e. for religious reasons, perceived modesty and not because a man tells them too.

I think we have to be careful when we start talking about the oppression of women: it doesn't take a scarf/veil to oppress a women. We run the risk of being hyporcrits.

I suspect that if we (Westerners) stopped making such an issue of it, trying to ban it, etc, then the veil/scarf would cease to be an issue. We are not going to get anywhere by banning veils/scarfs. This just creates a conflict situation - the same conflict that's been going on for centuries.

Rob Baiton said...


Horses for courses or as some might say, different strikes for different folks.

Once again this is the beauty of opinion and is also indicative of what makes us human. Two people can look at the same thing and have a completely different response.

I thought it was funny. Funny in the way that the only difference between each of the women in the photo was their eyes.

There are plenty of ways that this could be discussed including some kind of philosophical tangent of the eyes being the mirror to our soul.

In terms of immigration, this is an interesting issue. I do not know if a burqa wearing women in Afghanistan seeking to obtain a passport is required to shed the burqa or at least the head covering for a photograph. Maybe burqa-wearing women do not travel internationally, I haven't done the research and simply do not know.

Herein lies the problem though. If the State regulates that a drivers license or passport photo has to be sans the veil then aren't we making an issue of it?

Silverlines said...


to my knowledge, their passports show their faces -- for burqa-wearing ladies that is --, but their veils still cover their heads.
And yes they do travel internationally, Rob. Especially those who are under persecution, some do have wishes to get out of the country and seek for peace, even if it is their lives they are risking.

Rob Baiton said...


I would have thought that to be the case on passport photos and driver's licenses. However, I have had no personal experience in that regard so I would have only been guessing.

I figured that burqa wearing women travelled internationally. I was more wondering about the passport photos.

The last time I went back to Sydney (2003) I was wearing a croqueted white peci and the female immigration officer made me take my hat off!

In a similar vein, Sikhs do not have to remove their turbans do they for a passport or driver's license photo do they?

Silverlines said...

I would think that since the passport (for some) is produced in their Country of Origin where veils or burqa (and turbans, for that matter) are respected as part of their national dress(es), they would not have to take them off.
However, I have never seen the passport of any burqa wearing ladies or turban wearing Sikhs who are holding the citizenship of other country then their country of origin. It would be interesting to know, after learning that you were asked to take off your croqueted white peci in Australia by an immigration officer!

By the way, the bit of international travel was actually a response to your Maybe burqa-wearing women do not travel internationally question.

Rob Baiton said...


A little bit of devil's advocate. Common sense tells me that the answers you have provided sound most likely to be true.

These are things that I have not spent a whole lot of time thinking about.

But once again, I am guessing that common sense would prevail in matters such as these.

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