Burkas have recently received a lot of controversial attention in the press, with France even proposing to ban them.
In the non-Muslim world, the term Burka is used to refer to the full body outfit that covers the wearer from head to toe, only leaving the eyes and hands exposed. However, when Muslims use the term, they are generally referring to the part that covers the hair in replacement of the headscarf.
This article shall use the popular non-Muslim definition of burka.
The Advantages of Burkas
- Wearing a burka can command more seriousness, respect and authority. My friend's wife always wears one when attending important meetings, such as parents' evenings or when meeting her landlord. In their culture, wearing a burka in a meeting will gain better results and more respect, than donning normal western dress. I guess similar to the way male city workers all have to wear suit and ties, even though ties have been show to hinder blood flow to the brain.
- Historically, the burka style of dress originated in desert tribes, where it functioned as a sand mask. Also, the style of dress was worn by both men and women, making them hard to tell apart. This was useful during tribal raids, as it made it harder for raiders to take women of child bearing age. While raids are not really a part of modern life, wearing a mask is useful in many situations. Many people dislike the smell of the London Underground, so a burka could help mask the smell from their delicate nostrils. In a similar way, a burka could help mask the smell of unhygienic fellow passengers.
- Non muslims can wear burkas to experience a different culture. A white Finnish reporter decided to done a full black abaya dress complete with veil, in order to experience a day in the life of a burka wearer. She received a lot more respect from Muslims, with many strangers greeting her in the street. It also helped her to feel more at peace, and the cosmetologists and hair stylists who usually harassed her with sales pitches ignored her.
- Burka's are very easy to don, and are often worn as an alternative to the headscarf (hijab). Therefore, Muslim ladies will sometimes wear them when they are in a rush.
- Burka wearers in warmer climates can drive cars with the windows down. Some even wear them while driving convertibles.
I have now shown you some reasons why women might choose to wear a Burka. With the reasons coming from the viewpoints of professional women, busy women, children and even concerned parents.