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Sun Oct 27, 2013, 04:38 PM

Can the burqa be stylish?

Last edited Sun Oct 27, 2013, 06:38 PM - Edit history (1)

I found this very interesting, although the 'stylish' word made me cringe. Women should have the right to wear what they want; the legal right, the human right-- but how many devout Muslim women would choose otherwise if they did have that right in oppressive countries? It's why FEMAN failed; they were railing against religious oppression, but forgot there are many women who embrace that faith.

Muslim women all over the world repudiated FEMAN for insisting on shared experiences, much like women of color repudiated the white Western middle classes experience of the state of being woman as one and alike.

This is probably patriarchy in action though; if enough women reject a kind of covering, the fashion industry is right there to make it "sexy"


Despite her choice to dress in a garment associated with religious and patriarchal subjugation, the 29-year-old Sheikha Raya does not in any other respect look like an oppressed woman. "When people make comments about 'covering up', they're not understanding," she says. "It's not this forced-upon-us thing. It's a reflection of what is part of our culture."

Sheikha Raya is one of a new wave of young women across the Middle East and beyond who are seeking to redefine traditional Islamic dress the abaya (cloak), the niqab (the face veil), burqa (whole body covering) and the hijab (the head and shoulder scarf) as a means of female expression. These women insist that they do not equate modest dressing with persecution, but that wearing an abaya can be a statement both of individual choice and style.

It is a stance that continues to divide opinion. In September, the deputy prime minister, Nick Clegg, ignited a national debate after saying he did not think the full veil was appropriate attire for airport security or the classroom. Shortly afterwards, a government review was launched into health-service guidelines on veils to ensure that patients had "appropriate face-to-face contact".

At the same time as the politicians were debating the issue, the Victoria and Albert Museum hosted a high-gloss event on the eve of London Fashion Week to showcase the work of three female Qatari designers, all of whom took the traditional Islamic dress as their starting point. On the catwalk, richly embroidered abayas were teamed with futuristic Philip Treacy headdresses and Asprey handbags.

http://www.theguardian.com/world/2013/oct/27/can-the-burqa-be-stylish

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Response to ismnotwasm (Original post)

Sun Oct 27, 2013, 04:54 PM

1. Since the whole idea of Islamic dress is modesty and a lack of social differentiation,

at least as I understand it, futuristic headdresses and finely embroidered materials are an abrogation of the purpose of the things. That, however, is merely an educated guess.

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Response to ismnotwasm (Original post)

Sun Oct 27, 2013, 05:14 PM

2. Heck I wouldn't have to curl my hair

No one would notice if I gained a little more weight. Burka or habit, I always thought that was the way to go. Then the hippies came and I've been a free spirit since.

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Response to ismnotwasm (Original post)

Sun Oct 27, 2013, 05:33 PM

3. Second from the left in the article photo looks kinda like the Headless Horse(wo)man.

They fit right in to Halloween.

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Response to ismnotwasm (Original post)

Sun Oct 27, 2013, 05:36 PM

4. As late as the 60s women here used scarves

to cover either curlers or bad hair days when they had to go to the supermarket. I don't know what stopped women from wearing scarves unless they're bald from chemotherapy, but it happened.

There are a lot of great ways to tie scarves, I used to teach them to my female patients on chemo.

I think Arab body coverings can be made really attractive, some of them in Iran are. The black shroud is just ubiquitous and cheap.

After all, the first thing you learn in the desert is to cover up. We just do it differently.

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Response to ismnotwasm (Original post)

Sun Oct 27, 2013, 05:40 PM

5. Definitely. You should see how many of the young Muslim girls in Minneapolis dress

Their skirts are colorful and very form fitting. They wear head scarves but also express their individuality through patterns and colors they choose. I myself have become quite fond of maxi skirts. While I don't wear a headscarf, there is no question those young Muslim women dress sexier than I do.

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Response to BainsBane (Reply #5)

Sun Oct 27, 2013, 06:36 PM

6. There's such a beauty to it

My friend--he's my go to guy with questions of Islam says the modesty requirement extents to men as well, and the more extreme forms of repression are just that-repression and not sanctioned by proper interpretation of Islam. He's an interesting guy, and takes explaining very seriously. He comes from a line of Islamic scholars from The Gambia

When I went to Vday, (OneBillionRising) there were many Muslim women as you describe, and we all sang and danced together, it was awesome.

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Response to ismnotwasm (Original post)

Mon Oct 28, 2013, 04:17 PM

7. With respect to the burqa and the niqab, I understand that it is a religious expression,

and I understand that it is something that is culturally valued, but I still think it is astonishingly anti-woman.

I know that many disagree with me strongly on this, but I cannot find a way to look at a woman who is covered from head to toe, including her face, and who is never allowed to be viewed outside the confines of her husband and children, and see anything other than someone who is woefully oppressed.

The hajib is different, and I have never seen the cloak, so I can't comment on it, but the burqa and the niqab are chilling to me.

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