chapter  6
22 Pages

Return to the veil: Personal strategy and public participation in Egypt

ByHoma Hoodfar

In recent years the western media have revived the image of the veiled and oppressed Muslim woman. Media coverage has reminded us of the orientalists’ interpretation of the veil as a symbol of the Muslim woman’s subordination and exclusion from all social spheres and even her loss of control over her own life. Colonial powers once used this interpretation either implicitly or explicitly to show the backwardness of Muslim society (Sayigh 1981; Pastner 1978). This newly revived image, however, is more startling in that it shows the Muslim woman voluntarily and actively participating in veiling movements and therefore bringing upon herself the evils of oppression and exclusion.