This is what happens when the state intervenes in a person’s private life; it creates two separate personas. It compels you either to lead two separate lives, or to violate what’s imposed on youwhen the state isn’t looking.
Do as you must -- you are not a child. But understand that there are many people willing to make your life more difficult. It is up to you to find a way to make things easier for yourself.
The chowdry, or burqa -- the Saudi, North African, and Central Asian version of the head, face, and body shroud -- is a sensory deprivation isolation chamber. It is claustrophobic, may lead to anxiety and depression, and reinforces a woman's already low self-esteem. It may also lead to vitamin D deficiency diseases such as osteoporosis and heart disease. Sensory deprivation officially constitutes torture and is practiced as such in the world's prisons.
Furthermore, I refuse to wear a burqa. Of all the burdens they've put on us, that's the most degrading. The Shirt of Nessus woudn't do as much damage to my dignity as that wretched getup. It cancels my face and takes away my identity and turns me into an object. Here, at least, I'm me Zunaira, Mohsen Ramat's wife, age thirty-two, former magistrate, dismissed by obscurantists without a hearing and without compensation, but with enough self-respect left to brush my hair every day and pay attention to my clothes. If I put that damned veil on, I'm neither a human being nor an animal, I'm just an affront, a disgrace, a blemish that has to be hidden. That's too hard to deal with. Especially for someone who was a lawyer, who worked for women's rights. Please, I don't want you to think for a minute that I'm putting on some sort of act. I'd like to, you know, but unfortunately my heart's not in it anymore. Don't ask me to give up my name, my features, the color of my eyes, and the shape of my lips so I can take a walk through squalor and desolation. Don't ask me to become something less than a shadow, an anonymus thing rustling around in a hostile place.