To veil or not to veil?:Islamic dress and control over women’s public appearance

Pirmasari, D.A. (2021) To veil or not to veil?:Islamic dress and control over women’s public appearance. Journal of Gender Studies, 30 (2). ISSN 0958-9236

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Women’s public appearance is subject to ongoing debates. In many parts of the world, women have been forced to cover their body, or to uncover it, due to incompatibility with local, cultural or religious values. This paper is based on ethnographic fieldwork conducted between August 2016 and February 2017 in Aceh, Indonesia; the only province with a special autonomous right to implement Islamic law. This paper aims to look at how Aceh’s shari’a regulates people’s public appearance. The research found that Aceh’s shari’a regulates women more than men and that the law has homogenized the interpretation of religious texts, which is monopolized by the government. The law endorses a unitary standard of women, into one standard model of femininity; particularly regarding their dress. Through the law, the government controls women’s bodies in public and imposes cultural uniformity onto them. This paper argues that the practice of Islamic law in Aceh disseminates a narrative of western hegemony through colonial legacies and stereotypes, in an Islamic culture that is male-dominated and in which women are subjugated. © 2020 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group.

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Journal Article
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Journal of Gender Studies
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This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis in Journal of Gender Studies on 31/03/2021, available online:
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07 Jan 2021 17:15
Last Modified:
03 May 2022 03:08