Islamic Women in Society
“Common Perceptions of Muslim Women”
Islam is one of the three most popular monotheistic religions in the world. It has both its positive and negative images in the media. Commonly, in society Islam is looked upon as an extreme and radical religion. This paper will take a close look into the reactions to the "Muslim Women" in both American and Muslim American societies in the U.S. Whether it’s the clothing, occupations, marriages, or inequality, the women in this religion seem to be under a magnify glass in society.
Islam is the second largest religion and the world and is still ...view middle of the document...
In Islam, women and men are equal and in fact said to be created from a single soul, to be partners to one another, and both genders have the same religious responsibilities. “O mankind, fear your Lord, who created you from one soul and created from it its mate and dispersed from both of them many men and women. And fear Allah, through whom you ask one another, and the wombs. Indeed Allah is ever, over you, an Observer” (4:1 Al Nisa (The Women)). This chapter of the Quran is titled, “The Women”, showing in fact that women are a huge part of Islam and the lives of men as well.
There are so many controversial topics when it comes to the Islamic woman, the first being “appearance”. Whether it’s the hijab or niqaab (face veil), society’s view on Islamic women attire has recently been an issue in today’s media. Conflicts from banning the veil, to labeling Muslim women as oppressed have been in the news. There are many points of view in society, some in favor of men, women, and even the structure of society itself. This paper will focus on the feminist (Western) and functionalist (Islamic) point of views. The first perspective is the feminist approach, the explanation of the social, economic, and political inequality of women in society. The feminist view on hijab is often linked to oppression of women and that men are superior to the women in Islam. Phyllis Chelser, a media feminist and author of “The Death of Feminism”, expressed her view on Islamic covering of women, “most Muslim girls and women are not given a choice about wearing the chador, burqa, abaya, niqab, jilbab, or hijab (headscarf), and those who resist are beaten, threatened with death, arrested, caned or lashed, jailed, or honor murdered by their own families”. This is a common response to the reasoning behind why Muslim women wear the veil and how society views it. This is an example of the negative feminist view of this topic. But there is always a positive view, Naomi Wolf, author of “The Beauty Myth”, who is also a feminist critic stated, “It is not that Islam suppresses sexuality, but that it embodies a strongly developed sense of its appropriate channeling — toward marriage, the bonds that sustain family life, and the attachment that secures a home”. Wolf depicted that Islam views sexuality as a special item between a husband and wife and that covering the body helps to eliminate the sexual tension that men and women face in society. The views of both these authors shows how split society can be even within a particular perspective. Both women speak about what they believe hijab is and how it affects women but neither is Muslim or have worn the hijab for religious purposes. Speaking as a young Muslim in America, it is somewhat hard to dress the way you want to due to the constant societal pressure of the norms. Sex, drugs, and alcohol are big influences in today’s pop culture for the youth. The media makes it look fun to have sex without being married, getting high, and being...