Essay on Islamic Women and the Gender Roles in Muslim Culture

Essay on Islamic Women and the Gender Roles in Muslim Culture

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Regardless of religion, country, or background women from all over the world have constantly been made to look and feel inferior. Even in our own country known as the "land of the free" women were not given the right to vote until 1920. Even getting that took marching, lobbying, lectures, millions of supporters and so many other things. While we in the Western Civilization are fairly new to this “women equality” section of history and are still coping with women and minorities being disadvantaged in many aspects of everyday life, we continue to criticize how “we think” Muslim women are treated--failing to realize our lack of education in the matter. When most people think of Islamic women they think of the multiple stereotypes that have been fed to us by the media. We are constantly shown the message that Muslim women are treated poorly on TV, radio, movies, magazines, the news etc.; from the veil, Islamic women's oppression, education of Islam women, and the overall representation of the Muslim women—we see negativity. Through education of Islamic traditions, history and culture, we as a society can have a better understanding of what Islam really represents. Here in the United States the Muslim “gender roles” in some other countries may seem unfair and barbaric because they are different but with proper cultural education one may begin to see them in a different light.

I was inspired mostly by the screening of Fashioning Faith to write about Islamic women. The film was documentary about how American Muslim women view fashion. There were several young Muslim women who explained where and how faith and fashion meet. They discussed some things including: “the veil”, Muslim fashion vs. secular fashion, a...

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...sion is encouraged and accepted in American culture, why should we be able to judge Islam for being submissive in ways that they might choose?

It is wrong to assume that we know the ins and outs of every situation based on what we think, or what the media has taught us. It is vital that one do their own research to become educated in a matter before they cast a judgment; this cannot be truer when looking at Muslim women. Just like American women, Muslim women are diverse. Not everyone wears or veil or traditional Muslim clothes and of those who do, some of them are only wearing them because the want to. They are also not all “oppressed women forced to stay in the house” some of them are very important and respected people in their communities. We should seek out education and understanding so that we are able to become more culturally competent.

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