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liberal feminism celebrates women, who sexualize their bodies for the male gaze. Some feminists disagree with that (so do I). So I wonder, if a hijab can be a feminist statement sometimes? If the woman wears it as protection against gross looks from men and/or statement against the constant objectification and sexualitation of the woman? Most Religions are misogynist, I know, but if that‘s her personal reality and if that‘s how she chooses to protect herself, isn’t that like a radical feminist woman, recognizing patriarchy as a reality and covering herself, not because of religious reasons, but her feminist values. I mean, women in both cases cover themselves and the root cause is misogyny, so why do people see a difference with a hijab?

liberal feminism celebrates women, who sexualize their bodies for the male gaze. Some feminists disagree with that (so do I). So I wonder, if a hijab can be a feminist statement sometimes? If the woman wears it as protection against gross looks from men and/or statement against the constant objectification and sexualitation of the woman? Most Religions are misogynist, I know, but if that‘s her personal reality and if that‘s how she chooses to protect herself, isn’t that like a radical feminist woman, recognizing patriarchy as a reality and covering herself, not because of religious reasons, but her feminist values. I mean, women in both cases cover themselves and the root cause is misogyny, so why do people see a difference with a hijab?

59 comments

[–] overandout 7 points (+9|-2)

I think it can be in Western society where 'modest dress' can be looked upon with derision. I have met a few women like this who wear veils because they believe their bodies are not for public consumption.

It seems a bit hypocritical to me to laud Billie Ellish's previous style and then say that hijab is wrong. Of course hijab comes with the attendant problems of coercion, religious attitudes towards women and other issues. But the mere act of veiling is no different than wearing baggy clothes or other things to de-emphasize your body.

[–] maypelsyrup 6 points (+6|-0)

It seems a bit hypocritical to me to laud Billie Ellish's previous style and then say that hijab is wrong.

baggy clothes aren't the same as covering your hair, neck, any skin of your legs, most of your arms, as well as your body shape.

And being at risk of a beating or having acid thrown in your face if you’re not wearing it “correctly”.

[–] overandout 2 points (+2|-0)

It's still covering or obscuring parts of your body due to the male gaze.

[–] Medea 2 points (+3|-1)

Why not? What's deemed "too much" modesty vs "too much" provocation?

[–] maypelsyrup 1 points (+1|-0)

What's deemed "too much" modesty

When you can't wear clothing showing any limbs or simply uncover layers of scarves on your head in hot weather without being thought of as immodest

[–] LadyGlum 4 points (+4|-0)

What about Mormonism, which mandates certain body parts be covered? The WHY of these "choices" women are making is incredibly important. There are some non-Muslim women who would wear a head scarf but I doubt most of them would care if hair was peeking out, and all the other little rules about how it's proper to wear the hijab.

There is a huge difference to wearing "modest" clothing because you don't want people to look (although still, why? If the female form was not hyper sexualized you wouldn't be thinking in those terms?) and wearing clothes that a man centuries ago decided might reduce the amount of men raping women even though it didn't actually work.

[–] proudcatlady 2 points (+2|-0)

Yeah, a lot of this isn’t super different from a lot of fundie Christian sects and the women in those aren’t doing so hot

[–] overandout 1 points (+1|-0)

I personally don't see much of a difference, sorry. One is in a religious book, sure, but the reasoning is the same as it was hundreds of years ago.

[–] Medea 1 points (+2|-1)

So I wonder if a hijab can be a feminist statement sometimes?

The OP already established that there's caveats, and the intention of the wearer is obviously a big one. Coercion through religious and cultural ramifications (strict adherence like you mentioned) is not a feminist justification.

wearing clothes that a man centuries ago decided might reduce the amount of men raping women even though it didn't actually work.

Sex-segregated spaces are intended to reduce the risk of assault, too, and they're not fool-proof. Yet these spaces are protected by radical feminist thought (if women weren't subjugated, you wouldn't be thinking in those terms?) We live in a hypersexual society where men take creepshots and up-skirts of strangers on the street; yes, dressing modestly is not fool-proof but it can act as defiance against hypersexualisation.