First World Oppression

Third World Liberation?

Eric Lafforgue/Calvin Klein Ad

In a society surrounded by Western images of the sexualized female, the veil allows for a post-modern alternative, a post-face society.

If we are truly to believe that the veil symbolizes submission to men, what are we to believe Western clothing symbolizes?

My claim is that contrary to Western conceptions of “third world women,” the veil is a motif of liberation for some, a barrier between the female and exploitation. Away from the pressure of the media's ideals of perfection, the veiled woman overcomes her own body, can create her own ideals of beauty, and is respected as more than a physical entity. This is not to say that the veiled woman has a suppressed sexuality, but that this sexuality is funneled towards her marriage – in the home.

Is it so hard to believe that Muslim women consider dressing scantily in public a repressive choice, and covering up a liberating experience? “If you've got it, flaunt it.” WHAT DOES THIS EVEN MEAN?

-Sylvia Lucas, “ Unveiling of the Veil.”