Ed Driscoll

To Paraphrase John Edwards...

There really are two Canadas these days. particularly when it comes to women. First up, here’s a vestigial remnant of the “do your own thing, man” trailing edge of the late sixties and the “Me Decade” 1970s:

All it took was a pair of exposed breasts in public to set a milestone for Canadian women.Gwen Jacob was 19 when she arrested in Guelph for indecent exposure in 1991. She and a fellow university student noticed a group of guys naked from the waist up playing sports in the blistering sun and decided to take off her top after musing about the inequality of it all.

She was charged and fined $75.

Five years later, the Ontario Court of Appeal overturned the conviction and gave her back the money.

On July 19 this year, Jacob’s fight officially celebrates its 20th anniversary.

“With my hands shaking furiously, I took my shirt off and jammed it down the back of my shorts and I can’t tell you the freedom that entailed in that moment,” Jacob, now in her late 30s, said during a recent interview with Bare Oaks Family Naturist Park in Sharon.

And here’s the leading edge of what could be its successor. If you haven’t seen it yet, click over to Mark Steyn’s Website for a photograph, about which he writes:

It’s the scene every Friday at the cafeteria of Valley Park Middle School in Toronto. That’s not a private academy, it’s a public school funded by taxpayers. And yet, oddly enough, what’s going on is a prayer service – oh, relax, it’s not Anglican or anything improper like that; it’s Muslim Friday prayers, and the Toronto District School Board says don’t worry, it’s just for convenience: They put the cafeteria at the local imams’ disposal because otherwise the kids would have to troop off to the local mosque and then they’d be late for Lesbian History class or whatever subject is scheduled for Friday afternoon.

The picture is taken from the back of the cafeteria. In the distance are the boys. They’re male, so they get to sit up front at prayers. Behind them are the girls. They’re female, so they have to sit behind the boys because they’re second-class citizens – not in the whole of Canada, not formally, not yet, but in the cafeteria of a middle school run by the Toronto District School Board they most certainly are.

And the third row? The ones with their backs to us in the foreground of the picture? Well, let the Star’s caption writer explain:

At Valley Park Middle School, Muslim students participate in the Friday prayer service. Menstruating girls, at the very back, do not take part.

Oh. As Kathy Shaidle says:

Yep, that’s part of the caption of the Toronto Star photo.

Yes, the country is Canada and the year is 2011.

Just so. Not some exotic photojournalism essay from an upcountry village in Krappistan. But a typical Friday at a middle school in the largest city in Canada. I forget which brand of tampon used to advertise itself with the pitch “Now with new [whatever] you can go horse-riding, water-ski-ing, ballet dancing, whatever you want to do”, but perhaps they can just add the tag: “But not participate in Friday prayers at an Ontario public school.”

Some Canadians will look at this picture and react as Miss Shaidle did, or Tasha Kheiriddin in The National Post:

Is this the Middle Ages? Have I stumbled into a time warp, where “unclean” women must be prevented from “defiling” other persons? It’s bad enough that the girls at Valley Park have to enter the cafeteria from the back, while the boys enter from the front, but does the entire school have the right to know they are menstruating?

But a lot of Canadians will glance at the picture and think, “Aw, diversity, ain’t it a beautiful thing?” – no different from the Sikh Mountie in Prince William’s escort. And even if they read the caption and get to the bit about a Toronto public school separating menstruating girls from the rest of the student body and feel their multiculti pieties wobbling just a bit, they can no longer quite articulate on what basis they’re supposed to object to it. Indeed, thanks to the likes of Ontario “Human Rights” Commission chief commissar Barbara Hall, the very words in which they might object to it have been all but criminalized.

As Mark notes, linking to a photo essay that Phyllis Chesler posted here at PJM in early 2010, charting the dress code at the University of Cairo, this really is “Back to the Future” — but while it may be back to the Middle Ages, as the above quoted National Post writer suggested, there were a few detours along the way. As Mark writes, “In 1978, the female students in Cairo looked little different from the female students at the University of Toronto, or Kingston. Now the schoolgirls of Toronto look no different from Cairo:”

“Diversity” is where nations go to die. If local Mennonites or Amish were segregating the sexes and making them enter by different doors for religious services in a Toronto grade-school cafeteria, Canadian feminists would howl them down in outrage. But when Muslims do it they fall as silent as their body-bagged sisters in Kandahar. If you’re wondering how Valley Park’s catchment district got to be 80-90 per cent Muslim is nothing flat, well, Islam is currently the biggest supplier of new Canadians, as it is of new Britons and new Europeans. Not many western statistics agencies keep tabs on religion, but the Vienna Institute of Demography, for example, calculates that by 2050 a majority of Austrians under 15 will be Muslim. 2050 isn’t that far away. It’s as far from today as 2011 is from 1972: The future shows up faster than you think.

A world that becomes more Muslim becomes less everything else: First it’s Jews, already fleeing Malmo in Sweden. Then it’s homosexuals, already under siege from gay-bashing in Amsterdam, “the most tolerant city in Europe”. Then it’s uncovered women, already targeted for rape in Oslo and other Continental cities. And, if you don’t any longer have any Jews or (officially) any gays or (increasingly) uncovered women, there are always just Christians in general, from Egypt to Pakistan.

More space for Islam means less space for everything else, and in the end less space for you.

Phyllis Chesler’s post highlighted a very different form of distaff sartorial de-evolution in the Middle East, now arriving in Canada (and needless to say, here in the US as well) than the sort that Gwen Jacob and her friends are into. Beyond “very poorly,” how will these two forms of reprimitivization play themselves out in the coming decades in Canada and throughout the rest of what used to be called “The West?”

As Jacob told her interviewer, “With my hands shaking furiously, I took my shirt off and jammed it down the back of my shorts and I can’t tell you the freedom that entailed in that moment.”

That “freedom” may prove to have a rather finite shelf-life.