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Soc. Sci. 2017, 6(3), 80; doi:10.3390/socsci6030080

Feminisms and the Hijāb: Not Mutually Exclusive

Department of Humanities and Social Sciences, Texas A&M University—San Antonio, San Antonio, TX 78251, USA
Received: 19 May 2017 / Revised: 18 July 2017 / Accepted: 20 July 2017 / Published: 25 July 2017
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Abstract

The hijab (veil) is the traditional head covering worn by Muslim women throughout the world. In the West, the hijab has come to symbolize an assumed institutionalized oppression of all women in the Muslim world. Many outside Western observers believe that women who wear a veil are forced to wear it, whether by families, husbands, or governments, and examples of the extremes—Afghanistan, Iran, and Saudi Arabia—are often considered the norm for all Muslim countries. In reality, the situation is more complex. Using a survey done at the Gulf University for Science & Technology in Kuwait in 2013 (published as “The Veil in Kuwait, Gender, Fashion, Identity”), not only religious concerns but also social and cultural considerations, personal taste and identity, geographic location, socio-economic level, and occasionally conscious rejections of Western influence can all play a part in the decision whether or not to wear a veil. In this preliminary study, I consider this survey as a case study, together with the theory of post-colonial feminism, to find a more nuanced and realistic understanding about the hijab as well as contributing to the development of less Western-oriented definitions of feminism. View Full-Text
Keywords: feminism; veil; postcolonialism feminism; veil; postcolonialism
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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Najjaj, A.L. Feminisms and the Hijāb: Not Mutually Exclusive. Soc. Sci. 2017, 6, 80.

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