Marie Claire Magazine’s article titled “10 Muslim Women Shatter Stereotypes by Showing Off Their Style” has been getting a lot of attention from Muslims on social media. While the target audience is probably a non-Muslim one, some American Muslim women have taken a critical eye to the piece and are confused by the article, wondering, “How does this shatter stereotypes about Muslim women like me?”
But what stereotypes about Muslim women do Americans hold that need shattering in the first place? The article’s tagline claims that these women’s fashion sense “[banishes] the idea of the oppressed Muslim woman.” The article further claims that these women, “stand up for their autonomy every time they get dressed.” There isn’t much expository substance other than that in this article, and I fail to see the connecting thread between all ten of the women featured, besides that they are “fashionable.” What does being “well-dressed” have to do with shattering the stereotype of the oppressed Muslim woman? Are being “oppressed” and “unfashionable” synonymous, while being “independent” and “fashionable” synonymous here? Are these notions of oppression and a lack of agency being oddly conflated with Muslim women observing a “traditional” or “conservative” Islamic dress code, or lack thereof?
Photo: Marie Claire