Before your Western thought takes over consider this again with an open mind simply by removing all the ties of Islamic extremism to the niqab- what could be more empowering than a woman wearing a niqab/ burka in the 21st century? For so long women have searched for power, but now we know the solution to female empowerment: concealing the female body- the object of men’s desire-. I think there is something seriously wrong with this world if women like Kim Kardashian and Emily Ratajkowski still think that taking a sultry bikini selfie represents female empowerment. Today women are being conned into believing that the more flesh they reveal, the more they become valued. On the contrary it is degrading and embarrassing. My point is that a woman cannot be classed as empowering with her flesh on show, as she will always be considered as an object of the male gaze, a walking-talking pornographic image for men to fetishize upon. One way to take back control and combat the sexualisation of the female body is to go against the grain- by refracting the male gaze onto a matte surface, where it will not be reflected, such as a niqab.
The stigma of the niqab in the 21st century derives from its association with the conventions of the so-called Islamic fundamentalists; a group whose name has been tainted due to its presumed links to terrorist activities and female oppression. Thereafter the niqab manifests ‘danger’ and ‘fear’ in the mind of the easily swayed passers-by. Never has a specific type of attire been feared before, thus for that reason, the stigma of the niqab can be inversed, to become a powerful symbol of feminism in the 21st century.
The reason why the niqab appears threatening to a patriarchal society is because women are stereotyped by their appearance and nothing else. If women were to conceal their faces and bodies they automatically become unobtrusive and invisible to the eye. It is this sheer invisibility and the simple act of wearing this stigma that can therefore make a woman more prominent. The time has come for women to be heard but unseen.
Imagine a world where supermodels, porn stars or female pop icons were not the role models for 16-year olds. History, philosophy and law have been written by men because men deprived women of their rights and liberty, therefore the female mind has not actually been fully heard. Women have been led to believe that their function rested in front of the mirror or in front of the camera lens. They are only seen if they show cleavage and they are only heard if they sing songs about loving a man. Let’s face it the only way a woman can truly be heard is if she makes herself invisible, hence the niqab can be one of the ways she can unfortunately achieve this. After all women have been made invisible since the beginning of time, therefore wearing this invisibility- the niqab- becomes an instant form of poetic justice, a way to say: “Noli Me Tangere” to patriarchy.