Monday, March 17, 2008

Headcovering - Stylish

As noted previously, there is an ongoing situation in Turkey between the secular who don't want to appear fundamentalist by allowing their women to wear headscarfs, and the modest and religious women who want to cover their head and hair in public. There is a possible draw though: as this article points out, women can cover and be fashionable.

Check the VOA News article: Religious Headscarf a Fashion Statement in Turkey, at http://www.voanews.com/english/2008-03-17-voa59.cfm

The wearing of a headscarf in accordance to Muslim belief is the center of a major political controversy in Turkey, after the ruling Islamic-rooted AK Party changed the constitution to ease a ban on the wearing of Islamic dress in the country's universities. But Dorian Jones reports for VOA from Istanbul that in Turkey there is more to wearing a headscarf than just religious belief.

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But doesn't wearing brightly colored scarves in fashionable patterns contradict the Muslim habit of covering a woman's head to protect her virtue? Gokcen says her clients do not see the paradox.

"They feel they are being modest by covering themselves, only by covering, . . . they do not need to wear black," said Gokcen. "They still need to be women. . . . Even if they are covered they still want to show their femininity in certain way. I guess they have found this outlet."

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Many women who wear a headcovering, I have found, like to be identified by their style. Even in this article it is pointed out how the Muslim women from the countryside in Turkey will tie the scarf under the chin, while those in the city will wrap it around their neck in a certain way. Jewish women also have certain styles that distinguish their faith. Amish, Mennonite, Catholic mantillas, church hats, etc. - all are not merely a covering (which are not clearly defined styles in any writings), but also have become an outward symbol of a particular type of faith.

And when the style becomes stylish? It could be that this is a reflection of the cultural style of the people with whom one lives - where modesty or humility as refers to spiritual or sexual things shares the headcovering with the woman's desire to "fit in" with her community, or be seen as beautiful on the outside. Some might not see the two as compatible. Do you?

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For more on this, read the blog by Linda Barlow, at: http://www.lindabarlow.com/2008/03/16/trouble-in-turkey/

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