Veils, Nudity, and Tattoos: The New Feminine Aesthetics
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At first sight, tattoos, nudity, and veils do not seem to have much in common except for the fact that all three have become more frequent, more visible, and more dominant in connection with aesthetic presentations of women over the past thirty years. No longer restricted to biker and sailor culture, tattoos have been sanctioned by the mainstream of liberal societies. Nudity has become more visible than ever on European beaches or on the internet. The increased use of the veil by women in Muslim and non-Muslim countries has developed in parallel with the aforementioned phenomena and is just as striking.
Through the means of conceptual analysis, Veils, Nudity, and Tattoos: The New Feminine Aesthetics reveals that these three phenomena can be both private and public, humiliating and empowering, and backward and progressive. This unorthodox approach is traced by the three’s similar social and psychological patterns, and by doing so, Veils, Nudity, and Tattoos hopes to sketch the image of a woman who is not only sexually emancipated and confident, but also more and more aware of her cultural heritage.
in feminist circles. Some trace the veil back to Islam’s “constant highlighting of the conflict between the divine and the feminine” (Mernissi 1991a: 83). Others criticize Western ethnocentric views of the veil and defend it as a symbol of resistance or as a means to bring about equality between the sexes. As mentioned, for some Muslim women “veiling also symbolizes an element of power and autonomy and functions as a vehicle of resistance” (El Guindi 1999: xvii). Those women wear the veil out of
Koningsveld 2005: 43, 55). According to French activist Fadela Amara (2004), in the French Arab ghettos the hijab still remains a means of oppression. Faegheh Shirazi has shown how cigarette and perfume advertisers still stress the “backwardness” of the veil in order to hawk their products to Western women (2001: 38). And in Middle Eastern tourist brochures, veils, camels, and tribal people remain “images, which symbolize backwardness, oppression and inferiority [and] are adopted icons of tourism
establish coolness, which means that there is a reverse effect. Very often the separation of genders and the strong accentuation of women’s otherness lead to a sexualization of situations where normally no sexual connotation had been intended. I am working at a private university in Kuwait, and Western teachers here generally agree that the gender separation (male and female students are taught separately) has the precise counter-effect of unnecessary sexualization of situations as soon as male
(Huizinga’s idea of games have been explained in chapter 3). The other problem is that “play” in a fashion context can never be, as Özlem Sandikci and Güliz Ger say about tesettür women, a matter of entirely “asexual femininity” freed “from the predatory gaze” (2010: 40) though many of those women seem to believe that this is the case. Banu Gökariksel and Anna Secor interviewed a woman “who was dressed conservatively in a buttoned-up black overcoat and a large headscarf that covered her shoulders
functioning as an intimate label but a message written on a wall that can be interpreted in various fashions. Tattooed woman Tina Marie, for example, develops a leisurely attitude towards interactions between her tattoos and the social space within which she is moving: “I don’t mind if people are interested in my tattoos and want to talk to me, but some people can ask the dumbest questions!” (Tao of Tattoos interview). By getting tattooed, Tina Marie has the impression of reclaiming a space for