The choices of females are often decided for them. This paper will focus on the young Muslim female and discuss the freedom and oppression attributed to veiling. The hijab is a religious and cultural head covering that post pubescent females choose to adopt to represent their heritage and devotion to Islam through chastity. The hijab has become controversial in Western countries as issues of patriarchy, gender equality, female choice, cultural resistance and racism have become embodied in the veil. The Muslim body has become a symbol, with various cultures forcing differing value and meaning onto the personal choice of being veiled or unveiled. Young Muslim girls are expected to assume an asexual lifestyle that protects and hides them from
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Fatemeh Fakhraie’s essay “Scarfing it Down,” explains how Muslim women suffer because of what they wear. Fakhraie blogs about Muslim women in her website she explains; “Seeing ourselves portrayed in the media in ways that are one-dimensional and misleading." Several people judge Muslim's by their appearance because they assume they're a bad person. The author of this essay wants the reader to know that Muslim women wearing a hijab are not a threat to the world.
Professor Leila Ahmed, active Islamic feminist, in her article “Reinventing the veil” published in the Financial Times assumes that there is a connection between “advancement” and veiling, which means that unveiled women are advanced and vice versa. In addition, she supports that it led to increasing rate of violence. She questions why women wear veil, that is considered as “symbol of patriarchy and women’s oppression”. However, research changed her position towards wearing veil. Firstly, she states that wearing veil was essential for women, because it could be beneficial and influence to how people treat women, in terms of job, marriage and free movement in public. Secondly, her assumption was explained while interviewing women, who stated
“Mariam had never before worn a burqa...The padded headpiece felt tight and heavy on her skull, and it was strange seeing the world through a mesh screen.” (pg 72). The burqa in this book is a symbol of how Mariam, Laila were forced against their will to wear a piece of cloth that stole their identity from them. Burqas are a way to hide women so that husbands are reassured that their wife is not looked at by other men. It is a way for men to control their wives and become dominant. This is not always true for all women, but for the women in this book it is.
Do Muslim Women Really Need Saving by Lila Abu-Lughod describes Western feminist beliefs on Muslim women and their burqa/veil and how focusing on these misconceptions are doing far more harm than good. This causes Western feminists reduce the culture and beliefs of Muslim women down to a single piece of clothing. The burqa is a type of veil worn by Muslim women for a number of reasons such as proprietary and signaling their relationship with God. The burqa is often seen a symbol of suppression amongst the Western world and it was expected for women to throw it off in a show of independence once liberated from the Taliban. The saving of Muslim women is often used to justify the “War on Terrorism” as exemplified in Laura Bush 's 2001 speech. The belief that Muslim women needed saving existed before the “War on Terrorism” as seen when Marnia Lazreg wrote about a skit where two Afghan girls talked about the beauty of the free Christian France.
Last year, the Ukrainian feminist group FEMEN caused controversy when they protested topless in front of mosques to support Amina Sboui’s own topless protest in Tunisia. The controversy the group created was not so much about their support of Amina as much as it was about the way in which they decided to protest and their belief that Muslim women do not have a voice and need rescuing. After looking up interviews and articles from both sides of the controversy, it seemed that FEMEN has fallen into an orientalist view of Arab and Muslim women, which has many parallels to the headscarf controversy in France. In this paper, I argue that FEMEN’s “Topless Jihad” campaign is racist in two ways: First, in their orientalist view of Arabs/Muslims as the “other” that needs to be saved; and, second, through their belief that western values are superior and more “modern” than Arab/Muslim’s beliefs (mainly in regard to the headscarf issue).
Muslims, Sikhs, and many other religious affiliations have often been targeted for hate crimes, racial slurs, and misfortunate events. We are all different in our own ways some are good and some are bad yet one event changes everything for everyone affiliated with the group. The book The Politics of the Veil by Joan Scott a renowned pioneer in gender studies gives a detailed and analytical book of about the French views towards the Muslim females in France during 2004. The author talks about why the French governments official embargo of wearing conspicuous signs is mainly towards the headscarves for Muslim girls under the age of eighteen in public schools. The main themes of book are gender inequality, sexism, and cultural inequality historical schools used in the book are history of below, woman’s history, cultural history, and political history. In this essay, I will talk about why Joan Scotts argument on why the French government’s ban on wearing conspicuous signs was
In the book, Women in the Middle East, a Saudi Arabian proverb states, "A girl possesses nothing but a veil and a tomb" (Harik and Marston 83). The key words, "veil" and "tomb" lend evidence to the fact that many Middle Eastern women lack identity symbolized by the “veil” and lack the right of ownership except for their veil and the tomb. This statement further enforces the notion that many women in the Middle East are expected to serve and tolerate the oppression of the men in their lives throughout their lives on this earth. Moreover, it confirms that many of these women do not get the opportunity to obtain education, join the work force, and even participate in the political affairs of the country. This arrangement further helps the Middle Eastern men to view women as their properties, servants, or even as slaves. Ultimately, there are three main reasons why Middle Eastern men engage in the act of oppressing their women.
For the last several decades, the Muslim community in western countries has increased in size; consequently, so have tensions and conflicts (Jailani, 2016). A prominent debate is whether or not Muslim women should be allowed to wear headscarfs, burqa, and niqabs; otherwise known as veils (Jailani, 2016). The western world tends to see these veils as a sign of oppression; as a result, laws and regulations have and are being passed to ban them from public areas (Jailani, 2016). Whether or not one agrees with Islam or its practices is irrelevant; allowing these bans to be passed is tolerating intolerance. These laws are said to be just one of the countless examples of tolerating cultural assimilation in favor of the more advanced western culture over the Islamic culture (Jailani, 2016). Although it can be said that prohibiting the use of veils in public will circumvent female oppression, those with opposing views argue that even those who try to spread western ideals in good nature are being intolerant (Jailani, 2016). There is no denial that this topic is a double edged sword, both solutions seem to have downfalls. That is to say, tolerating the veils can mean tolerating symbols of oppression over women; hence, we value the peace over justice (Jailani, 2016). In contrast, outlawing the use of veils in public is still a sign of religious intolerance (Jailani, 2016). While both sides have
According to Doucleff, “‘wearing the hijab eliminates many of the hassles women have to go through — such as dyeing their hair,’ she says. ‘For example, you're getting old, and gray hairs, when you wear the hijab, you might not think about dyeing your hair because nobody sees it anyway.’” By wearing a hijab women do not have to worry about “gray hairs, and can focus on other parts of their lives. Although this seems like a trivial improvement, women in the west spend inestimable amounts of money on beauty products and a surfeit amount of time on their daily regimen. Even though the burqa is therapeutic in helping women with their appearance, it can be physically restricting, “Mariam had never before worn a burqa…The padded headpiece felt tight and heavy on her skull…The loss of peripheral vision was unnerving, and she did not like the suffocating way the pleated cloth kept pressing against her mouth” (72). In this excerpt the burqa is described as “tight”, “heavy”, and “suffocating, making it seem like an unpleasant garment to be ensconced in. The burqa can cause an “unnerving” feeling, which can make daily tasks hard to complete. When interviewing a girl in Afghanistan Daniel Pipes, American historian, writer, and commentator, got her opinion on the burqa, “When I wear a burqa it gives me a really bad feeling. I don't like to wear it…I don't like it, it upsets me, I can't breathe properly.” The discomfort the girl feels in the burqa “upsets” her, linking her physical distress to emotional distress. The girl gets “a really bad feeling” when she wears a burqa, showing that the physical effects of the burqa can be negative. Besides the physical hardships Muslim dress may cause, it can also cover up physical abuse, “A Muslim teenage girl
There are many different views towards Muslim choice of clothing especially wearing the veil. “I wear it believing it is necessary, but someone else can be wearing it believing that she is doing something extra” said Hamna Ahmed. One of the many reasons a Muslim can be wearing the veil are their own personal decisions too. Hamna has been wearing it for seven years now, despite her mother and three of her four sisters staying uncovered. Socially this causes an issue with the meaning of the veil and conflict with other groups. With many different consumptions of religion, what it means, what is considered to be practicing and what is not can lead to negative misunderstandings. Ultimately the decisions are up to the individuals although; there is likely to be misinterpretation between the meaningfulness of religion to family and society. On an even bigger scale of things this could also impact society and it...
One of the struggle and resistance that I have witnessed through my life is fighting over the Hijab (veil) by Iranian women, government, and supporters/opponents of wearing veil for 100 years. In Iran’s modern history, there are three instances where the hijab gained political meaning. The first being Reza Shah’s forced unveiling; the second before the 1979 Revolution and the last during the creation of the Islamic Republic.
299). The study consisted of having in-depth personal interviews to share their experiences of being a Muslim American woman (Anderson Droogsma, 2007, p. 300). Veiling to these women was a way of freedom while also having a Muslim identity (Anderson Droogsma, 2007, p. 301). It was also a source of behavior control, to not be sexually objectified, a way of commanding respect from others and even a source of checking their own behavior (Anderson Droogsma, 2007, p. 301). One of the women interviewed said, veiling to her was a way to feel connected to other Muslim woman who veil (Anderson Droogsma, 2007, p. 302). Veiling can be a way to feel connected to your religion and God as well as being connected to those who practice the same faith, it can be considered an act of membership. Many of the women interviewed noted they have been removed from planes, been treated unfairly, and have had strangers shout at them all for just being Muslim and being more visibly recognized from veiling (Anderson Droogsma, 2007, p. 303). This is an example of how media can affect the general population. When the media only shows radicals and compares all Muslims to being terrorist or dangerous they are actually putting Muslim people at risk of being assaulted in public. Muslim woman in particular are more at risk for being assaulted as they are more identifiable. So while veiling can be a source of empowerment and freedom for women it is a double-edged sword because it also puts them at further risk of being
Marjane Satrapi’s Persepolis introduces the Islamic veil as an attempt by the Iranian government to control women. Islamic radicals promised safety and security for those who abided by their rules. Rebels who refused to wear the headscarf were threatened with beating, rape or death. These modern women who fought against religious oppression met the minimal requirements of the government rules to safely live in the hostile environment. Through being forced to wear the veil, the control of the Islamic government drives its people to a rebellion.
To circumvent confusion, definitions and pictures of various Islamic veils (hijab, chador, niqab, and burqa) were included with the questionnaire. The items listed were meant to discover feelings of discomfort and distrust toward veils, as well as the inclination to ban it from public areas. A 5-point Likert scale was used to score the items (1 = strongly disagree; 5 = strongly agree). The listed items: (1) “Generally, it upsets me to see the Muslim veil in certain places”; (2) “I find the fact that Muslim women wear a veil as acceptable”; (3) “It upsets me more to see a Muslim veil in public places such as schools, hospitals, or on the street”; (4) “Muslim women have the right to wear their veil anywhere they want”; (5) “When I see a Muslim veil I get nervous and/or anxious”; (6) “Muslim veils should be prohibited in certain places”.