Cover image for The veil unveiled : the hijab in modern culture
Title:
The veil unveiled : the hijab in modern culture
Author:
Shirazi, Faegheh, 1952-
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
Gainesville : University Press of Florida, [2001]

©2001
Physical Description:
xvii, 221 pages : illustrations ; 24 cm
Language:
English
ISBN:
9780813020846
Format :
Book

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Library
Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Status
Central Library GT2112 .S56 2001 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area
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Summary

Summary

"An original contribution to a subject which is currently of much interest to the world at large, East or West, and has an important bearing on the position of women in the societies in which veiling is practiced."--The Middle East Journal

"Highly recommended. . . . It draws on and contributes to current feminist theorizing in Middle East women's studies and in broader feminist academic circles."--International Journal of Middle East Studies

"A welcome contribution to Middle Eastern and women's studies, providing an innovating approach and research to a highly controversial issue in gender politics."--Digest of Middle East Studies

An insightful and provocative book. . . . [It] leads to a better understanding of the veil and a debunking of current clich#65533;s." --Farzaneh Milani, University of Virginia

Illustrated with photographs, drawings, and cartoons gathered from popular culture, this provocative book demonstrates that the veil, the garment known in Islamic cultures as the hijab, holds within its folds a semantic versatility that goes far beyond current clich#65533;s and homogenous representations.

Whether seen as erotic or romantic, a symbol of oppression or a sign of piety, modesty, or purity, the veil carries thousands of years of religious, sexual, social, and political significance. Using examples from both the East and West--including Persian poetry, American erotica, Iranian and Indian films, and government-sanctioned posters--Faegheh Shirazi shows that the veil has become a ubiquitous symbol, utilized as a profitable marketing tool for diverse enterprises, from Penthouse magazine to Saudi advertising companies.

She argues that perceptions of the veil change with the cultural context of its use as well as over time: in a Hindi movie the veil draws in the male gaze, in an Iranian movie it denies it; photographs of veiled women in Playboy aim to titillate a principally male audience, while cartoons of veiled women in the same magazine mock and ridicule Muslim society.

Shirazi concludes that the practice of veiling, encompassing an amazingly rich array of meanings, has often become a screen upon which different people in different cultures project their dreams and nightmares.

Faegheh Shirazi is associate professor of Middle Eastern languages and cultures in the Islamic Studies Program at the University of Texas, Austin. She is the author of several book chapters and articles on issues related to women in Islam in numerous publications, including Critique and Journal for Critical Studies of the Middle East.


Author Notes


Faegheh Shirazi is associate professor of Middle Eastern languages and cultures in the Islamic Studies Program at the University of Texas, Austin. She is the author of several book chapters and articles on issues related to women in Islam in numerous publications, including Critique and Journal for Critical Studies of the Middle East.


Reviews 1

Choice Review

This postcolonial study differs from others on the veil (hijab) traditions in Islamic culture (Fatima Mernissi's Beyond the Veil, 1975; The Veil and the Male Elite, CH, Feb'92; Fadwa El Guindi's Veil: Modesty, Privacy and Resistance, CH, Jun'00). Shirazi (Univ. of Texas) claims that because the veil has many colors and shapes and embodies "semantic versatility," it has been manipulated by diverse groups. The veiled woman symbolizes Middle Eastern exoticism and sensuality in Playboy, Penthouse, and Hustler magazines in the US, attracting the male gaze to a sex object and ridiculing Muslim society as inferior to Western civilization. In contrast, the veiled woman in Saudi Arabian advertisements reinforces the notion of motherhood and religious conformity while enticing viewers to buy expensive watches. In Iran, the Shah considered the veil a sign of cultural backwardness; some poets depicted the veil as representing women's oppression, while Ayatollah Khomeini saw the veil as symbolizing Islamic progressivism. The veil appears in the defense policies of Iran, Iraq, and the United Arab Emirates, where women's police and army units have incorporated traditional Islamic veiling requirements into female military uniforms. This intriguing, well-documented work adds many insights into how the visual image of a covered Islamic female has been interpreted and misinterpreted across cultural, religious, and historical boundaries in many parts of the world. All collections. B. B. Chico Regis University


Table of Contents

List of Figuresp. ix
Note on Transliterationp. xi
Acknowledgmentsp. xiii
Introductionp. 1
1. Veiled Images in Advertisingp. 10
2. Veiled Images in American Eroticap. 39
3. The Cinematics of the Veilp. 62
4. Iranian Politics and the Hijabp. 88
5. Militarizing the Veilp. 110
6. Literary Dynamics of the Veilp. 138
Conclusionp. 175
Notesp. 181
Glossaryp. 201
Bibliographyp. 205
Indexp. 213

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