Rights and Freedom of Choice

I’ve been following pretty aggressively campaigns on Twitter that have surprisingly very little to do with me: specifically, the question on Burqa/Niqab Banning and (unrelated with each other, let me stress that) Sex Workers Rights.

I’m reserved and prudish – my Husband and my mother could vouch for that – though I am becoming more confident and accepting of my body as I have aged, my personal choice is usually to swath myself in baggy clothing. That is my right and my choice. Just as it is any woman’s choice to decide for herself how little or how much clothing she wants.

No one, absolutely NO ONE (yes, caps are necessary), has the right to tell a woman what to wear or how to wear it.

My credo in life is: So long as all parties are consenting adults and it harms none, then it is fine by me.

A woman who chooses to wear facial covering of her own free will should be allowed to do so without discrimination or abuse. The presumption that a woman who makes such a decision does not know her own mind is offensive, sexist and is utterly wrong in this day and age.

Now, I’ll be fair, wearing Niqab is a scary thing right now – lack of regulation or protections for women has left them victimised, harassed, abused and in danger. Children and adults alike are forced and coerced into it in this day and age, and that is not okay. Women need to be made safe by, in my opinion, an active campaign promoting places women can go to report such instances where they are being forced to wear it, hotline phone numbers they can call to get help and safe places they can go to escape from the abuse. Because being forced to wear something against your will IS abuse. There is no mistake in that.

The same goes for Sex Work/Prostitution. It wouldn’t be my choice, personally, but I will say it again in case you missed it:

A woman who chooses to work in any industry of her own free will should be allowed to do so without discrimination or abuse. The presumption that a woman who makes such a decision does not know her own mind is offensive, sexist and is utterly wrong in this day and age.

So long as it is not forced or coerced, a woman should be allowed to do or wear whatever she wants – that is her right; it is a human right and it is extended to us ALL, not just a select few.

Now, I’ll be fair, Sex Work is a scary thing right now – lack of regulation or protections for workers has left them victimised, harassed, abused and in danger. Children and adults alike are forced and coerced into it in this day and age, and that is not okay. Sex Workers (not just women, but men and transgender individuals as well) need a safety network, they need access to medical care, they need to know that they will be protected if they report rape and abuse to the police.  They need safe places to go, they need a whistle-blower hotline to report cases of forced prostitution and pedophilia. They need laws and policies that protect people who cannot give consent from being brought into the Sex Work industry to ensure that they are not exploited.

There is a lot of work that needs to be done. However, Banning or Outlawing either of these polices is a disservice to everyone and a violation of our basic human right to make their own choices.

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