Thanks Lorenz for sharing this amazing thesis with us. Also, thanks for Siham to research about this topic. I was happy that her thesis is open accessed and I did downloaded and reading it now. I like the title of this post “Hijab empowers women", which you created from the context of her work, yet the usage of the word “empower” in meant to be from a positive connotation. This is because these women have power already. I thing the usage of empowering is debatable and some writers write a note in their books stating that the empowering usage is meant of positive meaning, which is un-portraying the informants as de-powered. Got me?
And, I like Siham’s conclusion: “In general they understood the hijab to be empowering and many concluded that being veiled and an active professional proved that wearing the hijab did not hinder women from achieving what they want”
Thanks again for such interesting and important post : )
Comment from: [Member]
Hi Sara, thanks for your comment. Do you mean the term “empowering” can be misunderstood as it implies that the women normally are without power?
@Lorenz,yes this is what I meant.
Comment from: Siham Ouazzif [Visitor]
Thank you Sara for your comments and Lorenz for your presentation of my thesis.I do agree that the term can be misunderstood, negative or positive connotation. For me the hijab is an identity marker that bears complex symbols. However the empowerment can be present and will depend on the individual woman. There are women that wear the hijab as a result of social pressure; therefore the term empowerment is strongly conditioned by the motives women choose from.
Comment from: Zuzsa [Visitor]
Thank you for sharing your thesis, first!
I dont think that “empowerment” leads to misunderstanding. Doesn´t the prefix em- intend in this case an increase of power? That doesnt mean that you start from a zero power situation.
whether we talk about the hijab or about wearing sexually explicit clothing, a similar argument gets invoked by women: this item empowers us, it allows us to advance and to get what we want. of course, there’s also a significant difference here: one hides away markers of female sexuality, the other is making them more explicit. one is connected to religion, the other to secular neoliberal post-feminism.
but aren’t both actually ways of coping with a pre-existing order in which women are meant to occupy a sexualized (and thus heavily regulated) place provided to them (and not necessarily of their own making)?
i am wary of ‘empowerment’. may i suggest a look at de certeau’s work on strategies and tactics as a possible way of reconceptualizing the interviews?
Modern hijab wearing women dont “hide away markers of female sexuality". This is my experience as both an inhabitant of a big city and as an outsider to muslim world. Sure, they cover their hair and their skin, but they dont resist to wear clothings who fit tightly, make up, big earings, hjabs, who attract attention … etc. There seem to be no intention to look less female … but maybe as a special kind of woman, with a special set of values (which maybe give them more power …)
Thank you for sharing counter-stereotypical perspectives on the veil. I am interested to know if the women felt that they are choosing to wear the hijab, or that it was dictated by Islam? I also agree with Zuzsa’s comment that in many societies modern hijab does not block women from being feminine and attractive. It rather serves as a recognizable symbol. It seems that all religions evolve/adapt and when they don’t - conflict arises.
I love my Hijab.
Comment from: zahra [Visitor]
i enjoyed this research. as a phd candidate in australia and woman who wears hijab, it was a great piece to read and wonderful to see it from an anthropology perspective. ofcourse alot of the themes covered here as hit home with me. i also found that my feelings about it become much more clear to me when i began wearing it in my workplace as i started off not wearing hijab.
i wondering why many people see the moslem clothes like an invasion to their country? just look to the woman use a veil she’s just like other woman, loved their kids, work at office, have good education, and they don’t do anything wrong, i hope muslim women can use their muslim clothes everywhere because it a choice, in my country Indonesia many muslm woman not use vail aor hijab, and no one ask them for it because it a choice not an identity.
i love hijab also