The rodent discourses:
Note - The good professor is also entirely right on the burka, as it happens. If you have any regard at all for human individuality and autonomy, it's an affront and an offence. The burka is a brutal indictment of the cultures that produced it, and the Dawk's reaction - "visceral revulsion" - is entirely correct.
I’m not sure clothing tells you anything much about individuality and autonomy. It just tells you what people are wearing and whether they want you to look at them or not.
But I remember when this debate came up before that it struck me that I don’t particularly like being visible in public, except, obviously, where it’s convenient or necessary. I don’t think people are looking at me all the time. I just don’t like, when I happen to think about it, being generally available for viewing when I haven’t specifically volunteered myself for that purpose. Maybe the fact that sight is general rather than particular is another of those snafus which tend to prove that life evolves in an undesigned way. Obviously, general visibility is handy when you need to keep track of the kids but it’s a shame it just doesn’t somehow fade away when you get older. So I suppose that as far as visceral reactions go, I respond better to people wearing a bag than to the kind of line-of-sight invaders who dress to impress, assuming that both have donned their costume voluntarily.
But then I suppose you could argue that the mode of dressing in a bag is a form of showing off. You certainly tend to occupy a larger visual space, for instance: Say it out loud, I’m modest and proud. And a paradoxical effect of covering the entire body from modesty is that it therefore tends to sexualise everything. A doctrine intelligently trying to force modesty would make women dress up like, I dunno, Valerie Singleton or something.