Adbusters

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.”

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23 comments on the article “First World Oppression”

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Anonymous

I have been to the Middle East and other Muslim countries on numerous occasions and a small fraction of women actually dress like that. It is exactly what the media brainwashes you to think. My friend just took a recent trip to the Middle East and was surprised by all of the women wearing the latest skinny jeans, poncho tops, paired with stilettos. People dress according to where they will be going. She was at the mall when she saw that, but when she visited the more rural part of the city, her group dressed more conservatively to match the environment they were in. Don't act as if you would be comfortable wearing your clubbing outfit to church on Christmas, okay? Everyone dresses for the occasion. There is a very small percentage of men who still oppress women to cover (compared to the millions of men who do not') if you actually visit these countries. You only hear about them through the media, I've been there. Seen that. It isn't like many of you ignorant people think it is. Only Saudi Arabia has laws in where women and men must be covered. Men cannot ever expose their navel to their knees likewise, women are to wear modest clothing. My friends went to Saudi Arabia for an entire summer and were not forced to cover their face, nor their hair. They wore maxi dresses with long sleeves for most of their trip and said it was absolutely okay. In fact, they told me covering your face is optional as far as the government is concerned. And women wear black robes because it has become their cultural dress, that on the streets, one will find extravagant form-fitting ones, and plain loose ones as well - and colored ones if one prefers. It all becomes a matter of choice. So stop eating everything the media tells you kids. Go outside of your comfort zone (U.S.) and explore the world for yourself! It was probably the best thing I did after graduation. You will be surprised by how little you actually know.

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