My students descended into shocked silence when I suggested that burkas are immoral and oppressive. Some of their fear, it seemed, was related to their expectation that the thought police might burst in and drag them and me away.
Burkas violate “do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” The idea that one oscillates between house arrest and being accompanied by a male relative when traveling in public, is a form of imprisonment. To be told that even in those restricted circumstances, when in public it would be necessary to be covered from head to foot with perhaps even the eyes hidden from view, would be anathema. Freedom of movement and the ability to choose how one dresses in public are granted to men, but not to women.
Imagine an American husband insisting that his wife wear a burka. Her desires, but not his, are considered irrelevant. He complains that her shapely figure arouses his lusts and he would rather not be burdened with them. Even worse, it may arouse the desires of other men who will likewise be burdened by the sight of an attractive woman. Therefore, he reserves the right to beat her for any failure to conform. Such a husband would be a tyrant and a bully; subjecting his wife to edicts that he would never willingly obey himself. It would mean losing freedom of movement and make all public activities burdensome. The heat of summer would be particularly uncomfortable. Smiling and making eye contact with those encountered in the course of the day would be impossible. The extreme anonymity would heighten the pressure of family life to provide social needs, since being behind the closed walls of the familial prison would be the time when identity and feelings would be most apparent.
Suppose that the man then persuaded his friends to follow suit and that pretty soon the entire society had collaborated in restricting women in this way. There would even be men armed with sticks ensuring that any woman who deviated from this behavior was beaten up.
Politically correct cultural relativism means that if a sadistic husband, unable or unwilling to take responsibility for his own desires, managed to persuade enough people to join him in his oppressive behavior, it would then become utterly moral and acceptable. Somehow in our modern wisdom, we have finally rejected the golden rule.