“That it is deemed necessary to have a non-Muslim woman experience the veil and make a judgement on it is also problematic. It’s not just that this approach silences Muslim women and relegates our narratives about our own experience to a back seat. The entire premise of having a non-Muslim woman go on a ‘tour’ of the veil relies on a fundamental difference in the way Muslim women are perceived compared to their non-Muslim counterparts. Muslim women are viewed as inherently passive, submissive and obedient – nameless, faceless, voiceless ciphers to be endlessly discussed, dissected and judged but never actually listened to.“–OP
This blogger reminds us all that merely “putting on the face” of the other does not qualify a primary source knowledge. She also explains that conclusions drawn from this experience are extremely superficial and have a money-making agenda in the West (which often enjoys the idea that Muslim women need saving from their own culture). I would also add that the various approaches to “modesty” in public among Muslim women all over the world can reveal a varied culture and its powerful impact on Islam). It is important to expose the plurality of Islam, rather than fit it into a box that can then be put with all the “other” cultures.
Hijab: sometimes, it feels like everyone’s giving it a try. Lauren Shields is just the latest feminist to embark on a ‘modesty experiment’ based on the veiling traditions of Islam, Christianity and Judaism. Last year, a teenager on Tumblr wore hijab to the mall and ended up with 200,000 reblogs. In 2010, a young journalist went ‘undercover’ in hijab for a month to find out what it was like. Liz Jones wore the burka in 2009; Danielle Crittenden over at HuffPo wore it all the way back in 2007, like some kind of Cultural Appropriation Hipster. Over at Vice, Annette Lamothe-Ramos wandered around New York in a burka and then wrote a really insensitive article about the experience. Apparently if you’re stuck for ideas for content, a reliable fall-back is to dress like a Muslim woman for a day or so and then bang out…
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