Friday, November 17, 2006

Headscarf Day

In mid-October, an Afghan woman was gunned down on the street, in broad daylight, in Fremont, California. Most seem to agree that she was murdered because she was wearing a Muslim headscarf, and this past Monday women leaders in the community organized a "Wear a Hijab to Work Day." There's a lot to discuss here, and about the talk I gave last week at McGill University called "'Beauty and the Burka:' Makeovers and Global Feminisms" at which I was thrilled to meet Homa Hoodfar, and about the recent move in the Netherlands to ban the burka from all public spaces (which is worn by a small number of women in the Netherlands, suggesting that what is at stake is much more than, if not completely irrelevant to, "women's oppression"), but I'm on my way to Chicago. Hopefully, I'll figure out how to juggle my schedule and this transition soon.

Monday, October 30, 2006

Muslim Dress

While prepping for class tomorrow, I found this extensive Powerpoint presentation on veils and veiling practices at Women Living Under Muslim Laws. Also, there's a slew of articles and essays about gender and dress in the News and Views section.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Shaved Women

I photocopied a "first person" essay from a 2005 Teen Vogue for my course today, written by a French Muslim schoolgirl who shaved her head rather than go without her headscarf (in 2004, France banned the Islamic headscarf and other "overt" religious symbols from state schools). I hope the essay (tragically titled "French Dressing") will inspire my students to consider challenges to the limits of tolerance discourse which, as political theorist Wendy Brown argues, is too often also a civilizational discourse. Or at least push them to rethink their "commonsensical" assumptions about hijab (always oppressive) and the women who wear it (always oppressed). More on this later from next week's lecture.

But it's not unusual to find interesting reporting in women's fashion magazines (though most follows certain generic conventions, which is a fascinating topic in itself). For instance, the most recent issue of Marie Claire features the first interview with Lynndie England from federal prison.

That said, this is a test post made past my bedtime.