Friday, April 1, 2016

A Muslim woman, Donald Trump and dress codes.

A poster in a drug store in London
Richard Mellor
Afscme Local 444, retired

I have wondered about this and was not completely sure if I'm right but we'll see. I spent a couple weeks in Britain last month and had an occasion to go to Boots the chemists or what we would call a drug store. I suppose it's the equivalent to CVS that we have here on the West Coast.  I was looking for one of those small tubes of toothpaste for traveling and as I approached the aisle I looked up and noticed this picture of a Muslim woman.

It caught my eye not so much her being a Muslim as there are lots of Muslims in London from all over the world, but because my first thought was I couldn't see a Muslim woman being used in an advertising campaign here in the US or in a CVS pharmacy in my area. I figure the powers that be would consider it would not be a good sales marketing decision. 

I talked about the situation in the US with two Muslim women I met on the street, both dressed in black,  one wearing a Hijab and one completely covered; they both had strong London accents a bit like Adele or Amy Winehouse.  It was a nice friendly discussion although I wish they had more time to talk with me. I explained a little about the situation in the US and the one that was completely covered, except for her eyes of course, made a point of telling me that she chooses to cover her face. 

On parting I had to laugh as most of the Muslims I know and have known are Arabs.  Those who read this blog regularly know that I traveled from Istanbul to Basra by train and bus many years ago. So as I left I said very confidently, ma'a as-salaama. I could see that didn't go down to well as these women were Bengalis.

Donald Trump is......

Donald Trump is a lot of things. We know he has never worked or done any productive labor. His father was, according to reports I've read, a KKK member. He was certainly a slumlord. People that don't earn a living through wage labor have a certain view of the world.  But apart from that, what interests me is that we hear Trump described in many colorful terms, some quite lovingly, by the flunkies in the mainstream media.

Trump is a "bully".
Trump is "provocative".
Trump is "inflammatory".
Trump is "brash".
Trump is "rude".

What we do not hear from the mouthpieces of capitalism on CNN, CNBC or other US state department outlets is that Trump is a racist. He is also a misogynist and sexist but I have heard that more frequently than racist. He is also anti-worker and believes US workers earn too much money despite our living standards being savaged over the past half century. He would decimate the public sector.

First of all, Trump, the idiot that he is, uses the term "Mexico sends us" when talking about immigrants from our southern border.  Not all immigrants are Mexicans of course, many are from other countries, small countries that US capitalism has imperialised, has imposed many dictators on in the interests of the giant US corporations like the United Fruit co. and others.  The US government supported the fascists in El Salvador and Nicaragua much like it does in the Ukraine. The immigrants that come north are economic refugees, NAFTA alone threw millions of Mexican subsistence farmers off the land in to poverty, many fled north in search of jobs and a means of feeding their children.

Calling for the banning of all Muslims from entering the US is one small step from rounding up those already living here and putting them in concentration camps. Perhaps this is technically religious discrimination but in the US, Muslim and Arab are pretty much synonymous despite many Arabs being Christian and many nationalities being Muslim. The most populous Muslim country is Indonesia, in Asia.

It is an example of the racist nature of our society and its mass media that Trump is handled with kid gloves.

Women again

Back to women in advertising, the picture to the right advertising the Wall Street Journal's April issue of its magazine has a special flare to it. The WSJ is a serious journal of US capitalism but one wonders what part of economic science is being advertised here.

Perhaps the Wall Street Journal thinks women in business are driven more by their dress code than any desire for profits, money or entrepreneurship. This is the actor Cherize Theron who apparently is "starting Fresh" according to the Journal.  Well, she's got the clothes for it I guess. One has to admit that those Muslim women that defend their dress codes have a point when they suggest the power of advertising and the objectivity of women in western capitalist culture, forces a certain dress code on them. We only have to watch advertising to see clearly that women and young girls are being told how to dress through corporate advertising.

I commented some time ago of sleeping on the floor of a rail compartment in the train from Istanbul to Baghdad many years ago before the US freed the country and travel was safe. I woke up out of my sleeping bag one morning and the first thing I saw was a Muslim woman (a Syrian I think) breastfeeding her child. No one paid the slightest attention to it. In some parts of the world a women's breast is not a sex organ 100% of the time. 

Just some thoughts.

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