AMI student, Anderson Al-Wazni publishes article on; ‘Muslim Women in America and Hijab: A Study of Empowerment, Feminist Identity, and Body Image.’ Speaking about her publication, Anderson said, “I conducted a qualitative study that examined how Muslim women in America who practice hijab identify with female empowerment, feminism, and positive body image. The intent was to deconstruct the myths and stereotypes of hijab as being a symbol of male dominance and patriarchy over women. I directly challenged the historical use of colonialism, the current War on Terror, and influence of capitalism for propagating narrow minded views of what feminists and Muslim women look like.”
This article presents an exploratory, qualitative study of 12 Muslim women living in the Triangle area of North Carolina, who were interviewed regarding their voluntary practice of hijab (Muslim tradition of veiling), exercise of choice in hijab, their relationship to feminist belief and identity, female empowerment, and body image. Through examining the influence of political movements in concert with market capitalism, this article examines how the hijab and those who voluntarily practice this Muslim tradition challenge or contradict mainstream images of what is marketed in the West as feminist. Moreover, this article seeks to examine how, if at all, the hijab empowers those women who practice it, whether it offers an avenue of female empowerment and liberation not traditionally included in prevailing feminist thought, and how this may contribute to third-wave feminist theory. This article informs social work practitioners of the strength of Muslim women, the exercise of choice in hijab, and contributions to feminist thought as participants respond to assumptions of oppression, patriarchal control, and prejudice in a post-9/11 society.
Anderson Al Wazni, MSW, is a community organizer based in North Carolina and a part time student on AMI’s Hawza programme . She received her Masters in Social Work at Smith College in 2014 where she completed her thesis on Muslim women, hijab, and feminism. She is committed to writing and speaking on social justice issues as they relate to Muslims, in particular Muslim women and female empowerment. She may be contacted at [email protected].
The full article can be found here.