Saturday, June 11, 2011

Why Fifa's ban of the Iranian soccer team is anti-feminist

I haven't blogged in ages, because I had a bit of a computer crash in March, and have been struggling to catch up ever since. But I finally seem to be back on track.
So first post now that I'm back is this analysis on Fifa's decision to ban the Iranian women's national soccer team from competing because their uniforms include hijabs and full-body tracksuits. As the author pointed out, Sep Blatter, who enacted this ban, recently suggested that the solution to promoting women's soccer would be having the players wear tight hot pants rather than the conventional shorts. Not giving them more air-time, better promotions deals and increased visibility. Hot pants. I think the solution would be replacing the idiot president of Fifa, but what do I know.
I believe fervently that modesty legislation or even just recommendations construct women as victims and men as perpetrators, and thus perpetuate sexual violence and discrimination. But when I was in high school, having to wear a skirt that left a good amount of my leg exposed, and was capable of blowing or flipping up an inopportune moment was a real source of anxiety to me, and a hindrance to free movement. Under some circumstances, choosing to cover up our bodies is as much a matter of comfort and practicality as choosing to uncover them at other times, and attempting to legislate uncovering when their really is no justifiable practical reason, like this, is sexual harassment.


PvdG said...

Don't forget that Blatter is a conservative Swiss from the Valais, one of over 57% of voters there who banned the building of any further minarets in Switzerland as they are a 'sign of islamisation'. There are and will remain only 4 minarets amongst 400,000 muslims. That for me is a starting point for this and, aside from his misogynist tendencies, Blatter is probably just jingoistic.

The more ironic bit of it is that the match official who instigated the ban of the Iranian team was a Sunny from Bahrain and Iran is a vocal critic of the Bahraini monarchy's crackdown on the Shia majority.

If I were a lady soccer player though, which I hasten to add I am not, I too would support a ban on wearing the full hijab. This not because of any particular prejudice or desire to promote hot pants and low cut tops in the sport, but rather out of concern for an altogether more practical concern being that of the identification of the players.

Imagine the scene; " Hey, Lamya, pass the ball!"
"For the last time, I am not your bloody Lamya, this is Fareeda you bow-legged ignoramus".

choirgirl said...

Yes, there is definitely more at play here than just misogyny, and it's important to note how intimately jingoism and misogyny are connected.
I must respectfully disagree on the point about recognizing players. I think there are more effective ways than banning the hijab to do that. Large visible numbers, different colours or other identifying marks....