Very seldom does Muslim media produce quality critical analysis of issues facing Muslim women. But emel magazine published a series of articles doing just that to tie in with International Women’s Day, They are, thankfully, not the run-of-the-mill articles about “why hijab” or “how to be the perfect (insert womanly role here)” that a lot of Muslim media is awash with these days.
This issue of emel focuses on body image, and in the introduction, Sarah Joseph, a revert to Islam, discusses her upbringing in the fashion world, and why she fled from it. However, she notes that Muslim women are not immune to the demands and societal pressures surrounding perceptions of the ideal body, citing increased rates of anorexia among Muslim women. She introduces the e-zine with the following pertinent questions:
Can we lay all of this at the door of the Western world? What role do cultures play in the insecurities of women with the demand for tall, thin, fair brides? How do we help our children, particularly our daughters, to feel confident about their own body images? How can we help them resist the global search for body perfection? How can we stop Muslim women turning into little more than Hijabi Barbies?