Perhaps you have already let out a long woebegone sigh re the news of the two Obama volunteers who barred headscarf-wearing Muslim women from sitting near him at a rally in Detroit on Monday so as not to generate any more photographic fodder for the insane wing conspiracy. I would say this was a low point, but that would be to pretend the French ban on the things or the senseless murder of Alia Ansari — or for that matter, Monday's other headscarf debacle, the judge who ordered a London beauty salon owner to pay £4,000 to a Muslim woman she'd denied a job on account of her headscarf — hadn't happened. So here's the thing: can we drop this subject? And if not, can I somehow blame society's irritating insistence that the way a person dresses is the purest expression of a woman's identity for this fucking mess? Because back in Catholic school, I associated headscarves with Jesus' mom, and nuns. I didn't really get it with the nuns. No one was forcing them to don sixty pounds of black polyester in August. But guess what?
They called the thing a "habit" for a reason. We all have them: I buy all my clothes at American Apparel despite a general unease with the institution's values; if I could I'd go back to wearing a Catholic school uniform despite unease with the institution's values. The biggest community of hijab-wearers I ever met worked with me at the phone sex call center, where I would regularly watch one habitually fiddle with her scarves as she regaled clients with detailed descriptions of her denim miniskirt and red lace thong and horny San Fernando Valley cheerleading squad's locker room antics.
Obviously, one cannot bear witness to such a spectacle and emerge without entertaining thought: "God I love this country." Which is, seven years on in this dumb Terror War, what makes this headscarf thing so infuriating: where K-Mart is free to peddle track pants that advertise abstinence from sex on their asses and the Secretary of State can don boots that look swiped from an S&M dungeon and pop culture celebrates bearded cross dressers…what does anyone give a shit about headscarves for? Where the perpetuation of conformity and envy is still the primary role of fashion, a lot more civilians will die at the hands of those who covet their Nikes than those who hate their "freedom" to wear them.