This article examines how the phenomenon of the ‘abaya-as-fashion is accommodated by the hegemonic order of Islamic patriarchy in the region of the Arab Gulf states. The traditional ‘abaya, or body veil commonly worn by national women across the Arab Gulf, is juxtaposed against contemporary manifestations that have emerged in the context of fashion over the past ten years. It is proposed that, although the ‘abaya-as-fashion presents a case of resistance and deviation from its original form, consent by the hegemonic order lies within the ultimate preservation of the ‘abaya’s essential qualities (long and black). Thus, in its reappropriation, the ‘abaya-as-fashion notably disrupts its primary signification without ever fully displacing it, thereby constituting a form of passive resistance. This article interrogates the manner in which the ‘abaya-as-fashion stands in contingent relation to the hegemonic order of Islamic patriarchy.
Research Article|March 01 2010
Noor Al-Qasimi; Immodest Modesty: Accommodating Dissent and the ‘Abaya-as-Fashion in the Arab Gulf States. Journal of Middle East Women's Studies 1 March 2010; 6 (1): 46–74. doi: https://doi.org/10.2979/MEW.2010.6.1.46
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