Feb 6, 2020 in Exploratory

Cultural Identity, Veiling in Muslim Women

Veiling in the Muslim community has a long history. It is a cross-gender practice among the Muslims, both men, and Muslims. Veiling is unique among the Muslim community. However, in the recent development, liberals simulate this culture and wear the veil as a style. Veiling in the Muslim community has a deeper meaning. Beyond modest, it is a symbol of peace, religion, and customary identity. Each type a veil has a unique purpose. Burqa, is a type of a headscarf covers the head, while hijab covers the whole body. Although it is a unisex custom, veiling is apparently associated with Muslim women. Some states such as Iran have reformed their law to make veiling in women compulsory. Often, men veil only when visiting mosques. Veiling among the Muslim women has been a source of much controversies and stereotyping especially from the western sphere, where it is held a patriarchal custom engineered to exploit women. This paper will assess the stereotypes attached to veiling among the Muslim women and the way it affects their behavior.

Veiled Women need Deliverance

The western democracies and activists have constructed an idea that veiled women are indeed stuck in the backward and exploitive custom. The role of the media has especially been profound in this perspective. The popular media takes photos of women in black hijab and distribute them to other parts of the world in a bid to demonstrate the perceived ‘suffering women.’ In these efforts, the media succeeds in framing the veiled woman as submitting to male oppression. A contentious question by many is why a religion and confer a woman the burden of propelling ageing traditions. The fact that some Muslim dominated states reform their law to make it mandatory to wear the veil serves to fasten the perceptions. Some pervasive campaign such as one marked as ‘unveiling the veil’ is driven by the object of ‘liberating’ Muslim women. In some states these campaigns are already achieving their intended results. Turkey, for instance, has passed legislation to ban wearing the veil in public places. Notwithstanding that, even the ‘liberated women’ in other developed democracies have insisted on wearing the veil. Such realities make it clear that this line of reasoning is greatly flawed. In many ways, veiling among the Muslim women is more a question of cultural and religious identity. Objectively, this problem arises from the inability to reconcile the westerns secular culture with the idea of the sexual sacredness of the Muslim community.

 

Veiling Carries Bad Mothering Overtones

The media have had an active role in radicalizing the image of a Muslim mother. In the contemporary society, it is usual to come across images of a Muslim mother crying or holding a corpse of a son. The popular media adopts a sensational attitude when a Muslim woman does something normal. The stereotype is often commonplace when intent on making the connotations on ‘mother blame’ and ‘bad mothering.’ This is a distortion of the character of women in Muslims community. The stereotype distorts their image further when intended to connect women on terrorism. The media presents terrorism problem, as homegrown in mother’s womb. The stereotype demonizes them for their perceived role as terror creators. ‘Islamic time bomb’ cartoon, for instance, fabricate an idea that Muslim women are happy to die along with their children to harm the whole world. The Muslim women wear the veil for genuine reasons including lifestyle. In heightened anti-terrorism campaigns, the world uses the scarf as a way of identifying the perceived targets. The veiled woman finds herself trapped in the midst of the efforts to track down terrorists. The situation is worrying in western democracies, due to heightened hatred on the Muslim woman’s role in global terrorists, an intricate position informed by wrongful stereotypes.

Veiling Is Backward and Patriarchal

The stereotype is perhaps the oldest. Proponents argue that social institutions in the contemporary had been and still are male dominated. The direction of this argument is to the conclusion that governing regulations were so devised to give men double standards, therefore, insensitive to the rights and social needs of a woman. Veiling is an old tradition based on patriarchal demands in the Muslim society. The media houses insist that hijab has outlived its use and is inconsistent with practices of a modern and democratic society. Admittedly, a custom that declares a practice compulsory on one gender is preferential and overbearing. To many people, hijab represents submission to these oppressions and inability to defend one's interest. The sentiment, ‘women on the veil’ connotes exploitation. The belief is fallacious and contrasts with Muhammad’s teachings that women are a ‘twin halves of men.’ In light of this statement, a Muslim woman is free among other things to choose her suitor, exit a failed marriage and have equal access to quality education. These are Quranic teachings and corroborate the fact that Muslim women are ideally liberal. Arguably, an argument that a secularized dressing style hallmarks one's level of liberty is largely flawed and fallacious. Contrary to the belief of many, Muslim women boast of having to walk freely in the public without men sexualizing their bodies. Muslim women in developed democracies contend that hijab gives them a feeling of self-respect and dignity, both important values within the Muslim community.

Impact on the Status of Women in Society

The stereotypes revolving the wearing of the veil in the society have serious implications for Muslim women. However, the most hit are the ones that wear a veil. First, they brand Muslims women as poor mothers. It is a dream of any woman to have a high mothering ability. The imputations as incapable mothers injure their dignity as an actual and potential mother. Secondly, the stereotypes present them as weak persons incapable of defending their rights. Critics often argue that the veil connotes resignation to male domination and other attached elements exploitations within the patriarchal social structures. Thirdly, the world takes them as agents of terrorist activities. The popular media platforms have especially contributed significantly to these perceptions. The media propel the idea that terrorism is a home nurtured problem with mothers been the active participants. It presents women as careless and willing to die for the cause of terrorism activities. In public settings, the veiled women are treated with much suspicion. In social settings, veiled women are considered big hypocrites, posing a serious threat to public safety. These perceptions affect social life of Muslim women. As a result, their status has remained unjustifiably low but for reasons that are far beyond their control.

Behavioral Changes

Perceptions affect people’s behavior negatively. Often, the victims do not even understand that they are unconsciously submitting to these stereotypes. Words are powerful tools and dictate one’s actions. In Muslims’ context, they cause much public stigma. Many public forums are not fair settings, and Muslims are adjudged unfairly as terrorists’ threats. In many of these settings, the stereotypes have labeled Muslims women as unwanted. In many states, Muslim women avoid public forums to avoid criticism and scrutiny. A Muslim woman has to deal with suspicions whenever they go to public places. This move requires determination and courage. The majority takes the easier route and opts out of such scenes. In circumstances that do not offer this option, they are forced to adopt another dressing style to win the public appeal. This is a desperate option, a survival tactic to evade social rejection. Notably, Muslims women value veiling dearly, and the connection between them is undeniable. They consider it a sign of dignity and respect. Whether the basis of this custom is linked to patriarchal social structures is a different thing altogether. The thing is, it is deeply rooted, and Muslim women freely acquiesce to it. As evidence, Muslim women living Christian dominated areas veil as a custom not because they are under social pressure to do it. As part of their response, Muslims in different places have had to resort to an exaggerated rate of wearing the veil just to demonstrate to the world they value the custom. Nonetheless, it is an essential identity mark in the Muslim community 

Conclusion

Veiling is an important attribute in the Muslim community and especially among the women. It is a mark of religious and cultural identity. In the contemporary world, members from other denominations veil for different reasons. Veiling has a deeper meaning among the Muslim women. It gives them a sense of self-respect and dignity. That notwithstanding, the attached stereotypes are disgusting. Among other things critics, believe it is a tool of males subjugation, it has a connection with bad mothering and terrorism. The role of popular media is significant in solidifying these perceptions. These stereotypes have had devastating implications on the social life of Muslim women. For instance, they have to live with public suspicion and scrutiny whenever they appear in such places. Often, this has not been easy, and most choose to avoid such places. As a recommendation, the world has to appreciate the distinction between Western cultures to appreciate that a Muslim woman needs a veil as a mark of cultural identity.

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