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.
eyes, she is given no chance to formulate her message “officially” through other facial expressions. All this contradicts the concept of the face veil as a vehicle of coolness. Apart from the prevention of potential penetration, the covering of the mouth has other important symbolical (and practical) consequences. In conversations, the mouth is the main communicator and to see a person’s mouth while speaking can be crucial especially when there is background noise or when the person speaks the
began to interpret feminist problems through rereadings of the Qur’an and other religious texts and attempted to reconcile Islamic faith with international human rights. Asma Barlas, Leila Ahmed, and Fatima Mernissi are Islamic or Muslim feminists. Islamic feminism has always valued religion, which makes it very different from Western feminism. Using readings of the Qur’an, they argue that Islam is inherently gender-equal. They go back to a prestate Islam, in which women were influential in
presented in masked and ironic ways. This is why coolness must always contain just the right amount of flexibility and “fluency.” Dictators are uncool and so are all those who oppose power in a fundamentalist way because their protest is not subtle or flexible. Moallem insists that “it is a mistake to read fundamentalist encouragement of the wearing of the black chador either as a sign of passivity or as a sign of religiosity. It is rather a gendered invitation to participation in political
relations follow different rules when male bodies are encountered. The most remarkable fact is that female protest nudity has also spread to the conservative Middle East. In October 2011, twenty-year-old Aliaa El Mahdy posted a nude photo of herself on her blog, asking those who oppose her act to burn their own bodies that they obviously so much despise in order to “rid yourself of your sexual complexes.” A year later, in Turkey, four Ukrainian FEMEN activists staged their trademark
century” (Delaney 1994: 162). Nudity is just as polysemantic as it uncovers a body that can be perceived as both sexual and non-sexual; and it receives a large part of its political connotations (in nude protests, for example) through this diffuse distribution of meaning. In cultures determined by Abrahamic religions, nudity is equipped with a permanent “theological signature” (Agamben), which is, again, something that it shares with the veil. Nudity, wherever it appears in cultures determined