Tuesday, December 7, 2010

The Veil and Associated Lingo

So to connect the book Reading Lolita in Tehran, the book I'm reading in my senior english class, to current events like burqa bans in France, I decided to post about the veil. There are several options of veils including the hijab, niqab, burqa, and chador.

Here is a BBC link depicting the numerous varieties of veils: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/shared/spl/hi/pop_ups/05/europe_muslim_veils/html/1.stm

Below are links to blog posts and a video that feature interviews with muslim women about their views on veiling:




(I give credit to Muslimah Media watch for finding such great links about the hijab. Check out this blog/site at http://muslimahmediawatch.org/)

Finally, here are some quotes about the veil from Azar Nafisi's book Reading Lolita in Tehran

"She wore the scarf even before the revolution, and in her class diary, she wrote about the lonely mornings when she went to a fashionalbe girl's college, where she felt neglected and ignored- ironically, because of her then-conspicuous attire" (13).

"It was meant to make the girls ordinary and invisible. Instead, it brought them into focus and turned them into objects of curiosity" (30).

"No ma'am, you have to have a head cover- new orders. That's my problem, I said, not yours. but he wouldn't let it rest. I am authorized to stop any woman who- at this point I interrupted him. I am not any woman! I said with all the authority I could muster" (161).

So I went through these sources and tried to find some commonly used terms and ideas. Here's the list:
modesty (outward expression)
beauty as inward (in the home)
please my creator
too conservative
spiritual choice
allows strangers to know your personality and contribution to society instead of just looks
treated as less of an object
independence (women have their own opinions and own choice)

Some reactions non-Muslims had to veils:
take the women more seriously

I would like to take special note of one interview question in the Vancouver observation link. A few hijab wearing girls where asked why they wear the hijab. The responses included personal choice and it's the norm/a lot of people in my community wear them. In my opinion, the most interesting response was given by a woman named Naima who said, "I’ve always wanted to try it, but just didn’t know how." It never occured to me that some Muslim women don't have access to information about veiling. For a practice that some view as forced, not having access seems out of the ordinary.

Just as wearing a veil is sometimes viewed as a personal choice, readers, before making personal judgments on the veil, take into consideration all of these perspectives.

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