It gets me every time… it makes me upset and irrationally angry. The stereotyping, the orientalist exoticism and the appropriation are only some of the things that go on when niqab, hijabs and “Muslim clothing” in general is used for profit by non-Muslim Western stars.
Today M.I.A., who was once described by Time Magazine as wearing “one of the most controversial garments of our era” while wearing a niqab, is no longer “unique.” In early July, Madonna published pictures of herself wearing a chain-niqab and with the caption “‘The Revolution of Love is on…Inshallah.” According to the British Metro, the picture is part of a broader project with photographer Steve Klein, which has yet to be revealed.
Just a few days later, Lady Gaga was all over Western media sites wearing a pink burqa made out of a sheer material and leaving fans to wonder about her new “burqa song.” Lady Gaga, who had worn a niqab-like costume to Fashion Week in 2012, caused controversy once more this year.
Particularly in Lady Gaga’s case, discussions swung back and forth, some finding it less troubling than others. Some, like Myriam Fracois Cerrah, saw Gaga’s choice as a revelation of “a double standard far more concerning than the absurdity of a transparent burqa.” Others, like Callie Beusman, see it as problematic and culturally irresponsible. Some more thought of Lady Gaga as a for-profit culture jacker.
But when does it stop? And where does it lead?