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Women in Saudi Arabia. The Hijab - Essay Example

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Orientalism is a school of thought that exaggerates and distorts the difference between the Arab societies and their cultures in comparison to the west. It sees Arab culture as uncivilized and backward. According to Said, orientalism began during the age of enlightenment and colonization of the Arab world. …
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Women in Saudi Arabia. The Hijab
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Download file to see previous pages Said posits that orientalism is actually a science that the Europeans developed during the colonial times to study the people of the east/ the Orientals. They divided the world into the occident and the orient, meaning the civilized and uncivilized respectively. They used this concept to justify their colonization them being the oriental or the superior race. Islamic orientalism has received constant attacks with Islam being perceived as a weak religion with a mixture of different religions and thoughts. This essay majors on the orientalist view of the hijab (Said, 1978). The phenomenon of wearing the hijab is popular in the Maghreb countries among women and young girls. It is a dress code that ensures the curves of a woman’s body so that they do not both convey the usual motive. There are two types of hijab, the traditional hijab and the modern hijab. The emergence of the traditional hijab came as part of the tradition of the Muslim society and as part of the values, rather than doctrine or religion. The Maghreb communities have different types of hijab portraying their cultural diversity. Each region has their unique dress code. For instance, in the eastern region, women cover their whole bodies except for a small space around one eye that allows them to see. In the north, women cover their entire faces except for the eyes using niqabs and jelbabas. The Islamic dress was not popular in society but was a social norm that was used to distinguish between married and unmarried women. Women were not allowed to divert from this conventional dress code even if there were alternatives that covered their whole bodies. The modern hijab came because of society’s innovation but with the original objective of reflecting and observing the cultures and customs (Bullock, 2003). This contemporary hijab is associated with Islam political organizations the promoted the dressing of the Arab Mashreq. Each religious organization fabricated their dress code in order to acquire uniqueness. This kind of hijab was not without political or doctrinal motives. There is a considerable difference between the Salafi of Islamic organization and the jihadist mode of the “Islamic dress”. The Salafi considers the Islamist hijab unlawful. It reflects a more conservative Islamist environment of the Saudi Najd and does not connote the teachings of Islam. The Islamist hijab on the other hand does not connote the cultural identity of the Muslim societies. Therefore, there are different connotations of the hijab. There are those Muslim societies that consider the hijab as an expression of doctrinal solidarity. This is the Salafi trend worn by the Shiite sect in Morocco. The next category regards the hijab as a contemporary trend. As such, they cover their hair but reveal their beauty through excessive use of makeup. Lastly, is the group that considers the hijab a religious duty. Said writes that contemporary orientalism sits within the western depiction of Arab culture as untrustworthy, irrational, and prototypical. He explains that orientalism is a distorted way of thinking that results in internalization of ideas about individuals or communities that are both inaccurate and historically unfounded (Said, 1978). When it comes to Arab women, the western world has exaggerated and come up with skewed ideas. First, there is the depiction that in the Arab world women are regarded as submissive sexual servants also known as harems. Another depiction of Arab women sees them as terrorist supporters dressed in black. Jack Shaheem in his examination of the portrayal of women in the Hollywood film industry observers that they are humiliated and eroticized. He explains that they ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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