Within the Middle East, the largest population of the men and women are Muslim. The Muslim religion suggests that women wear a veil or hijab, which is a head scarf that only exposes a woman’s eyes, accompanied by a burqa which is a full body cloak. The sole purpose of the clothing is to cover a woman’s feminine features from men’s eyes. The Qur’an, an Islamic scripture, supports and slightly obligates the uniform by saying that women are to be conservative, “let them wear their head covering over their bosoms, and not display their ornaments.” (Qur’an). It could be inferred that women wear the burqa and veil willingly because of their geographical location. However, when Muslim women are withdrawn from the Middle East, and are placed
Abayas, shailas, burkas, and chadors: all are forms of veiling in the Middle East, and all are perceived as symbols of oppression and patriarchy by the West. The veil worn by a Middle Eastern woman is striking and beautiful in its simplicity and elegance. The hijab, the most common form of veiling, leaves only the face visible with the neck and hair completely covered. Onlookers are in awe at the mystery and symbolism associated with the many veils created out of fine, exotic silk. But such notions of oppression and patriarchy often associated with veiling are not only inherently biased and ironic – it would be interesting to explore the symbolism behind a mini-skirt or a pair of five-inch heels, no? – but they are also inaccurate. Although veiling has most definitely been used in the Middle East as a “mechanism in the service of patriarchy, a means of regulating and controlling women’s lives” (Hoodfar, 5), it has also been used as a mode for rebellion and self-expression. Marjane Satrapi, an Iranian woman who grew up during the Islamic revolution, resisted the regime and the universalizing nature of the veil in the hope that she could maintain her individual identity whilst communicating her political ideologies. By examining the way in which the veil is represented in Satrapi’s graphic memoir, Persepolis, while also considering the history of veiling in Iran, it will become evident that the veil is not just a political tool used by male chauvinists; it also presents an
Fatema Mernissi’s essay “Size 6: The Western Women’s Harem” shares her experience when she enters a department store in New York and is told she is too big when she can’t find a skirt her size. After being told she is too big, Mernissi continues on to question the sales lady. The sales lady then tells her that being a size six is a “normal” size. Immediately, it is noticeable that Mernissi isn’t too fond with the sales lady comment. The theme in Mernissi’s essay is the idea of women accepting the fact that men and society tell them how they should look in order for them to be beautiful. For example in the essay Mernissi questions as to why women accept this and how exactly does this work. By this, Mernissi shows her concern as to why women not only accept it, but also practice it.
Within the Middle East, the largest population of the men and women are Muslim. The Muslim religion suggests that the women wear a veil or hijab, which is a headscarf that only exposes a woman’s eyes, accompanied by a burqa which is a full body cloak. The sole purpose of the clothing is to cover a woman’s feminine features from men’s eyes. The Qur’an, an Islamic scripture supports, and slightly obligates the uniform by saying that women are to be conservative, “Let them wear their head covering over their bosoms, and not display their ornaments.” (Qur’an). Muslim women, instead of feeling oppressed, view this as a positive aspect in their lives, influenced by their devotion to Allah. Their acceptance could be influenced by their
In her article, “The Veil in Their Minds and Our Heads: The Persistence of Colonial Images of Muslim Woman,” Homa Hoodfar explains that western society’s view of the Islamic veil is one of imprisonment of women by their male counterpart, which limits their daily lives and opportunities, such as studies and jobs. However, Hoodfar states that is a very racist stereotype of Islamic woman. Hoodfar and many other Iranian women see the veil as a religious choice that also beautifies them while keeping them modest. The veil also gives them certain powers over men, which in turn gives them independence from men (Hoodfar, 11).
One of the most common human characteristics is the impulse to make sense of things by asking: why are things the way they are? Whether it’s from judgement or just plain curiosity, it’s in human nature to ask why one is wearing this or doing that. The essay "My Body is My Own Business" is written by Naheed Mustafa, a Canadian Muslim woman, who discusses the stereotypes and judgements that Muslim women in the western world are subject to because of the hijab. Mustafa talks about how it is unnecessary for women to follow the beauty standards that have been predetermined for them and also how true equality could only be achieved without women displaying themselves to the public.
“Many feminists and others object to veiling because they see it as a symbol of women’s inequality in Muslim societies. Others oppose it because it stirs fears of Islamic extremism. Among Muslim women in the West, where veiling is optional rather than mandatory, opinion is divided” (“Muslim Women” 7). Within the culture, to wear the veil, it symbolizes an act of modesty opposed to oppressive. “Hijab, an Arabic word that means "barrier" or "partition," has long been misunderstood in Western cultures as a symbol of oppression - a way for Muslim men to express control over women's bodies, says Professor Ibrahim at Tufts. But the idea, she says, is less about male domination than the value of modesty; a perception of the body as something to be revered and protected” (Mendoza 8). The veil is worn by a woman’s own accord. It is worn to signify self respect in what a woman can do alone without having to face any erotic judgements towards her body. Other women will often wear a veil to challenge feminist who think the veil is a symbol of oppression or silence. “While the spirit of Islam is clearly patriarchal, it regards men and women as moral equals. Moreover, although a man is technically the head of the household, Islam encourages matriarchy in the home.Women may not be equal in the manner defined by Western feminists, but their core differences from men are
An individual’s identity can differ depending on several different physical and biological factors including sexuality, gender, age and class. Throughout Ruby Tabassum’s article entitled Listening to the Voices of Hijab, identity is related to gender in a number of ways. I have decided to discuss this specific article because the idea of how femininity is portrayed is a significant aspect of Canadian culture nowadays. I am also interested in focusing on how the identities of Muslim women are recognized in society and how individuals interpret the meaning behind wearing the hijab. Throughout this article, I have distinguished several different reasons for wearing
In the exposition we meet our protagonist who is a young women of Islam who wears the traditional veil that muslim women are advised to wear under the law of the Quran were it says, “And tell the believing women to reduce some of their vision and guard their private parts and not expose their adornment except that which necessarily
Throughout history, women have been victims of oppression no matter what religion or background they come from. They have learned from a young age, that their appearance is important to fundamentally be happy in their life. The topic of oppression in woman leads to controversial discussion not only to scholars but women of all parts of the world. How a woman presents herself through appearance and clothing targets her in a society obsessed with each other’s business. In today’s society, whether we can help it or not, men are treated differently than women. There seems to be different “rules” associated with the acceptable ways they should dress as opposed to the strict rules that apply to women. Women who are westernized
While wearing a metaphorical mask helps a woman hide the ugliness nobody wants to see, a literal mask conceals too much. Men want to see women, especially if they are the correct size with the correct amount of curves; if they reach the right size, arrogance or pride will take away from the physical attraction. The Middle East takes the right to flaunt their beauties away by participating in the custom that most know as veiling (the act of covering with a light gauze cloth). The practice alone seems unimaginable but even scarier, the girls seem apathetic towards the demeaning tradition. Much like India, they brainwash girls to believe in a repulsive custom. They choose to believe they help men resist the temptation of a woman’s body. In Behind the Veil by Elizabeth W. Fernea, a woman attempts to clarify the lack of self-respect: “If I wanted to take it all off (her ababbayah and veil), I would have long ago. It wouldn’t mean as much as it does to you.” (Behind the Veil, Robert Fernea). Covering up the problem does not present triumph, but among the wreckage and turmoil of this wretched tradition, hope remains. They have a stronger force on their side; America will save them from their
In the article “Do Muslim Women Need Saving,” Lila Abu-Lughod an anthropologist, who has expounded on Middle Easterner women for many years. She questions whether Muslim women do actually need saving. One of the focuses is on the obligatory wearing of a covering of veil called burqa. Abu-Lughod discusses many groups that state that the Muslim women do need saving from the persecution that propels them to wear the burqa. She additionally proclaims that anthropologists, among others, ought not to be excessively culturally relativistic with the exception of that they ought to comprehend and regard cultural inequalities. Abu-Lughod has attempted to accommodate the public image of women exploited by Islam with the complex women she has known through
What is oppression? By definition, it is an unjust exercise of authority by the government, limiting one’s liberty to do what one desires. The niqab is a cultural practice that predates Islam and not a religious obligation. Ironically though as it may seem, the niqab is not a sign of oppression. The Canadian ministry of immigration mentioned the hijab to be a ‘misrepresentation of the Canadians’, however the then prime minister, Stephen Harper mentions it to be a niqab- most probably to strong arm his case. A niqab and a hijab are two different items of covering oneself. The primary covers the entire body as well as the face only allowing for the eyes to be seen, whereas the latter is a medium to cover the head and face except the eyes. Many Muslim women find the two an appropriate way to mark and create their identity.
One of the main disputes in the battle of Islamic women’s rights is the conflict over dress. According to a popular Islamic leader and Egyptian television personality, the sight of women is so alluring that it can be “intolerably distracting to men” and can “even
Concerning the social context, honor and respect are two significant values that the ‘hijab’ represents. By wearing the hijab, a woman is less likely to be attractive to men and being approached by them, she creates a ‘barrier’ that implements respect between her and another person, by consequent, she preserves her sexual chastity and keeps the family’s honor intact. This is an important detail in the Middle East culture; honor is more a group matter than an individual matter, and in this case, honor’s family is related to women’s sexual abstinence before marriage; in case the honor is lost, it can’t be regained.