Muslim woman’s image is currently being debated more than any time, there is a flood of conversation online and offline about muslim women whether they are participating in it or not. When exploring the muslim woman, the notion of describing her as’ msulim’ highlights the ideological debate itself, she is viewed only through her religion. There are, however, other muslim women who chose not to wear hijab who are in a way denied agency. If we are to examine western publications they didn’t ignore muslim women, and in some instances actually presented them to their readership, giving the identity of a ‘Woman’ excluding their ideology where their faith was presented as a form of culture. Vogue magazine was one of the early publications to depict this, in 1969 vogue made a photo shoot in Afghanistan with models posing in Afghani inspired Fashion, the backdrop of the images taken was Afghanistan’s nature and the spirit of the women’s clothing was one of modernity, although the models were not head covered as a traditional hijabi woman, never the less, the look created for the models reflected the culture of Afghanistan with its religious sentiments, the change of representation can’t be attributed solely to publications desires, as it can’t be neglected the political and cultural changes countries like Afghanistan went through, the point that needs to be examined is the lack in showing the diverse spectrum of women of faith and compartmentalizing them within the confines of dogma. This is a long debate with muslim women in the center of it; whether it’s muslim women living in western countries looking for agency, muslim women in muslim countries looking for more recognition and seeking autonomy from patriarchy, or muslim women recognizing their faith but unnecessarily religious, these are various forms, and more often publications chose to represent them within one form only.
Featured photographs: Messy Nessy Chic