The Hijab

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How Identity is Represented Through Gender:
Femininity and the Hijab

An individual’s identity can differ depending on several different physical and biological factors including sexuality, gender, age and class. Throughout Ruby Tabassum’s article entitled Listening to the Voices of Hijab, identity is related to gender in a number of ways. I have decided to discuss this specific article because the idea of how femininity is portrayed is a significant aspect of Canadian culture nowadays. I am also interested in focusing on how the identities of Muslim women are recognized in society and how individuals interpret the meaning behind wearing the hijab. Throughout this article, I have distinguished several different reasons for wearing the hijab, as each individual interviewed provided the author with their own personal reasons and explanations. Tabassum (2006) discusses the controversy over whether the hijab is a symbol of oppression or liberation upon Muslim women as well as how the hijab can be seen as an indication of beauty, fashion, to hide identity, personal protest, and/or personal identity (p. 35). Several Muslim women discussed the importance of embracing the hijab as a representation of their religion and culture (Tabassum, 2006, p. 39). As a Muslim woman, Sima explains the positive and negative aspects about wearing the hijab and how it influences her identity in her culture (Tabassum, 2006, p. 39). Sima discusses the challenges that she is faced with, with wearing the hijab, she states “nothing else tells them that I am a Muslim, just my hijab. And…if they have the idea, oh, Muslims are terrorists…” (as cited in Tabassum, 2006, p. 29). Since the September 11th attack in the United States, Muslims have been negatively stereotyped as rebellious (Tabassum, 2006, p. 42). Individuals in society automatically assume that all women wearing a hijab are Muslim and label them as terrorists or bad people. However the hijab also helps to liberate and...
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