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Islamic Women And The Gender Roles In Muslim Culture

1883 words - 8 pages

Regardless of religion, country, or background women from all over the world have constantly been made to look and feel inferior. Even in our own country known as the "land of the free" women were not given the right to vote until 1920. Even getting that took marching, lobbying, lectures, millions of supporters and so many other things. While we in the Western Civilization are fairly new to this “women equality” section of history and are still coping with women and minorities being disadvantaged in many aspects of everyday life, we continue to criticize how “we think” Muslim women are treated--failing to realize our lack of education in the matter. When most people think of Islamic women they think of the multiple stereotypes that have been fed to us by the media. We are constantly shown the message that Muslim women are treated poorly on TV, radio, movies, magazines, the news etc.; from the veil, Islamic women's oppression, education of Islam women, and the overall representation of the Muslim women—we see negativity. Through education of Islamic traditions, history and culture, we as a society can have a better understanding of what Islam really represents. Here in the United States the Muslim “gender roles” in some other countries may seem unfair and barbaric because they are different but with proper cultural education one may begin to see them in a different light.

I was inspired mostly by the screening of Fashioning Faith to write about Islamic women. The film was documentary about how American Muslim women view fashion. There were several young Muslim women who explained where and how faith and fashion meet. They discussed some things including: “the veil”, Muslim fashion vs. secular fashion, and trying to erase Islamic stereotypes. The documentary sparked my curiosity into the “real Islamic woman”, not what is portrayed in media or what I “think” know.
Let’s be honest when most Americans see a woman in a veil outside of a wedding or another type of ceremony, we think that she is being forced to wear it because of cultural or religious reasons. When the United States troops invaded Afghanistan they saw that many women were wearing burqas (veils), and it was assumed that they were being forced to do so. And while that might have been true, when the Taliban had been eradicated from the area there were several women that chose to still wear their veils--this astonished the troops and other Americans. “It is common popular knowledge that the ultimate sign of the oppression of Afghan women under the Taliban-and-the-terrorists is that they were forced to wear the burqa. Liberals sometimes confess their surprise that even though Afghanistan has been liberated from the Taliban, women do not seem to be throwing off their burqas” (Lila Abu-Lughod 2002: 785). One major thing that they failed to realize is that the Taliban did not invent the veil, it had been around for hundreds of years before them. It is...

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