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CuriousLurker  Sep 22, 2016 • 8:06:49am

Heh, thanks for posting this. Hijab has been turned into a political football, but for most of the women who wear it (voluntarily), it’s not some horrible oppression being forced on them nor is it a barrier to looking/feeling attractive & feminine. Women are women, regardless of whether or not they choose to wear hijab.

There have been fashion shows held for Muslim women in the U.S. for all of the 25+ years since I converted, though I’ve never been to one. I have nothing against them, I just never cared enough about being fashionable to make the effort to attend.

Anyway, my point is that it’s not a novelty or something that only happened after coming in contact with Western culture. As I said, women are women—the desire to look & feel attractive isn’t something they learned from others.

I think most men want to be attractive too, especially in their younger years. It’s one of the more important parts of the human mating ritual, don’t you think? What’s considered attractive can vary greatly from culture to culture, but it exists in all of them. I would be willing to bet that even in the most remote villages of Afghanistan many, if not most, young men take great care in how they dress and wrap their turbans because they want to be attractive to the opposite sex.

Remember all the links I tweeted to AramcoWorld magazine yesterday? If you go to the homepage and scroll down through all the tiled article photos, you’ll see at least half a dozen different hijab styles, not a single of them dreary . Numerous styles have developed over the centuries, with each cultural region having their own style (not to mention all the corresponding sub-styles). Here’s a prime example, also from AramcoWorld: The Gown That Steals Your Heart

Great White Snark  Sep 22, 2016 • 10:27:16am

The news about Muslims always so… heavy. Or loaded depending on your place in the equation. So serious. Ordinary white bread Americans (that would prolly be me) can use the exposure to the similarities that are just below the differences among us. Like wanting to look nice. How human is that?! Common threads

CuriousLurker  Sep 22, 2016 • 11:15:24am

P.S. This is going to be a bit long, so I hope GWS will forgive me for sort of semi-hijacking his thread—I just want to point out that the world of hijabis is much wider, deeper, nuanced & multi-faceted than most non-Muslims realize. That’s why hijabis tend to get twitchy when non-Muslim media & politicians treat it as a drab, one-sided, homogeneous practice that only serves as a tool for the political/religious oppression of women.

That’s not to say it can’t be or isn’t used to oppress—it can and sometimes is—but that’s not the situation for the majority of the approximately 800 million Muslim women in the world (I’m assuming that at least 50% of the global Muslim population of 1.6 billion is female).

It might (or might not) surprise readers that the Arab Gulf states are HUGE consumers of European & North American haute couture. This is true even in ultra-conservative Saudi Arabia, where you’ll find famous designers selling high-end scarves & outer-garments as well as the evening gowns and Victoria’s Secret.

I mean, it makes perfect sense if you think about it: Regardless of whether they do it for religious, cultural or legal reasons, women who cover are required to do so only in mixed public company or privately in the presence of NON-mahram males, ergo they can wear whatever pleases them, their female friends, husbands. etc. at other times. (Trust me when I say that your eyes would most likely pop out of your head like a cartoon character if you saw what some of those “conservative” women wear under their concealing outer-garments—I experienced extreme cognitive dissonance the first time I saw a roomful of Saudi woman I knew “unwrapped,” heh.)

Also keep in mind that in the more conservative societies, private events such as weddings are segregated, so women don’t need to be covered in those situations. Don’t take my word for it though, here’s a Reuters article from Oct 5, 2011:

They are rarely spotted on the front row of a fashion show and favor discretion when placing orders, yet women from the Middle East have become the world’s biggest buyers of high fashion.

The trend may surprise given that many Arab women, particularly in the Gulf region, are traditionally kept under wraps.

But their social calendar, which usually consists of 15-20 weddings a year and private parties every month, creates much bigger demand for couture than the occasional charity ball and high society party in Europe and in North America.

And wearing the same dress twice is not an option. […]

The biggest buyers of haute couture today center around the Gulf — Saudis, Kuwaitis, Qataris and nationals of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) who do not hesitate to spend 50,000 euros on a low-cleavage lame for an event where no men will be present. […]

“Women from the Middle East are our top buyers and they are likely to remain so,” said Jeffry Aronsson, who became chief executive of Emanuel Ungaro three months ago, having run Donna Karan, Oscar de la Renta and Marc Jacobs in the past. […]

Turkey & Lebanon also have growing “Islamic” fashion industries (e.g. the Istanbul-based modanisa) . Then there are the European-based retailers (e.g. the UK-based INAYAH and the France-based Al Moultazimoun), as well as others such as the US- and UK-based Verona:

Casual Winter Lookbook ft. Verona | Ruba Zai

There’s even an Islamic Fashion and Design Council (IFDC) with offices NYC (headquarters), the UK, Italy, South Africa, Turkey, Russia, and the UAE. (This was news to me—I’d never heard of it until about 30 minutes ago.)

Here are a few experiments LGF readers can try, if they’re so inclined:

1.) Go to the Amazon home page, do a search for hijab, and then look at all the variations. My search returned 258 pages of results, and that’s only the results in Clothing, Shoes & Jewelry (apparently, Amazon is trying to be helpful even though I chose to search All Departments). If you search only the Books section, you’ll find 89 pages of results. Many of them are books on the multitude of ways the scarves can be layered, wrapped, tucked, pinned. etc. (the other books are either religious or political in nature). Apparently there was even a 2015 interfaith hijabi calendar—I had no idea!

2.) Go to Google Images and search for hijab fashion.

3.) Search YouTube for hijab fashion.

(Psst: In addition to hijabis, Jewish & Christian women are also doing the “modesty fashions” thing online. See Modestly dressed religious fashion - Tech Insider)

CuriousLurker  Sep 22, 2016 • 12:11:14pm

re: #1 CuriousLurker

Wow, I looked up a name from that article “The Gown That Steals Your Heart” and found this video showing some truly exquisite designs:

UAE women’s national dress

Okay, I’ll stop spamming your page now—LOL.

Great White Snark  Sep 22, 2016 • 12:55:16pm

Thanks for adding to the page.

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