Beyond Obedience: The Islamic Veil in Conversation, Literature, and Media

By Zofia Reid.

Published by The International Journal of Communication and Linguistic Studies

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Published online: May 19, 2014 $US5.00

The hijab has, in recent years, received much attention in Western conversation, media, and literature. Of all the ‘symbols’ of Islam, it is perhaps the most controversial. The discrepancies between what ‘outsiders’ say, write, and report with reference to the hijab are subtle, and the depiction of the hijab in the West seldom relates to reality; it is often steeped in prejudice and superstition. The art and literature which hopes to elucidate it creates a romanticized and often warped or incomplete image. Media portrayals remains politically correct, yet conversations on the topic are emotion driven and often lack logic. This paper makes an inquiry into the role that language use plays in propagating the distrust of the hijab. This is achieved through an examination of several novels, a selection of printed articles, an evaluation of an online forum, and an independent survey study.

Keywords: Hijab, Discourse, Mistrust, Language

The International Journal of Communication and Linguistic Studies, Volume 11, Issue 3, May 2014, pp.11-20. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Published online: May 19, 2014 (Article: Electronic (PDF File; 464.612KB)).

Zofia Reid

Instructor, Department of Writing Studies, College of Arts and Sciences, American University of Sharjah, Dubai, United Arab Emirates

I was born and grew up in Poland. My parents immigrated to South Africa in the early 80’ ies, where I completed my schooling and continued with university studies. I hold a BA degree in languages (majored in English, German, and Russian), an Honors Degree in English and an MA in Medieval English, from the University of South Africa. I am multilingual, speaking fluent English, German, Polish and Afrikaans, with knowledge of Russian and basic French. I have been a teacher of Rhetoric and Composition for 11 years, instructing first at the American University in Dubai and since Fall 2006 at the American University of Sharjah, U.A.E. I have been living in the Middle East since 1999. My research interests are: education and sociolinguistics.