I think there is evidence in the study of face blindness that supports the harm that burqas cause women.
I was in love with a woman who had face blindness. She never felt the same about me, and after 4 1/2 months of dating she told me she didn’t bond with me. She told me early on in the relationship that she bonded quickly. It was all odd, and I was devastated. I heard a similar story on a Radio Lab podcast - episode Falling. The man with face blindness broke up with a woman and he said he really didn’t love her. I thought it might be Aspergers, but it seems to be connected to face blindness.
Not only can people with face blindness not recognize people and frequently themselves in a mirror, they can’t read the emotions on other people’s faces. There’s a man, Bill Choisser, with an online book about face blindness. Here’s a link to the chapter on emotions:
I think the most poignant aspect for me was the idea that the faceless are seen as void of feelings as a parent illustrates when she discusses it with Mr. Choisser:
The parent replied: Just wanted to let you know that your perspective about being unable to relate to people who are unidentifiable appears to be correct where C is concerned. I talked to C about the fact that all of the kids in her class have feelings. She promptly replied that only she and her best friend, A, have feelings. I insisted that all of the children in her class have feelings whether or not she can figure out who they are. She replied that that might be true, but she and A have more feelings than the other kids. Very interesting.
Now to combine empathy training along with helping C learn to recognize all the kids in her class.
http://www.uniquelygifted.org/faceblind.htm - full exchange
It seems that burqas are turning men in strict Islamic societies into a state of face blindness towards women. When we no longer have individual faces, we most definitely decrease in value. I think this kind of study could help countries like France pass laws about Islamic dress without all the backlash from the so called progressives who feel all women should have the right to be oppressed.
I find this fascinating, and I think research in this area could get a lot of attention. I also think it could help women. A lot of people aren’t diagnosed, but it is believed that they make up about 2.5% of the population.