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The Difference Between Respecting Culture and Rejecting Oppression

The German defence minister Ursula von der Leyen has received criticism after refusing to adhere to Saudi Arabia’s strict dress code for women during a recent visit.

Credit: Reuters


She reportedly said, ‘The right to choose your own clothing is a right shared by men and women alike.’ Despite this many comments on various web articles covering the story disagree with her. Some, from female commenters, state that she should respect the culture of the country she is visiting. 

Why should she? If the culture of the country does not respect the people within it, why should the culture be respected?

Many people feel they are on some kind of moral pedestal by throwing ‘respect’ and ‘culture’ into the same sentence, completely unaware of the suffering that supposed ‘respect’ will preserve.

4 replies »

  1. Respect? Why do I have to change my cloths to pretend that I respect beliefs that I strongly disagree with? We have forced our military women to wear a head scarf while there. Wearing that scarf in uniform would be a punishable uniform violation in this country. That is not respect, that is forced homage. I notice that the only males in the photo with covered heads are Saudis.

    Liked by 1 person

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