The Hijab: A Religious and Political Symbol Analytical Essay

This paper explores the issue of the Hijab as a religious and increasingly political symbol.
# 150417 | 1,913 words | 16 sources | APA | 2012 | GB

$19.95 Buy and instantly download this paper now


This paper explores the issue of the Hijab and its controversial position in the West. The paper moves through the origins and background of the Hijab to its increasing presence at the centre of mounting religious tension in many countries. The paper addresses the health issues associated with the head covering as well as specific cases of discrimination relating to women wearing the Hijab. The paper aims to determine whether the Hijab liberates women from the dangers of an over-sexualised society or if it suppresses their right to freedom of expression.

Differing Interpretations
Liberating, Demeaning, or a symbol of Something Else?

From the Paper:

"The different interpretations of what the hijab means to women are the greatest cause of confusion in this issue. The perception that "the headscarf serves to oppress women" is one of the major arguments against the practice of Hijab (Boulange, 2004 p.4). However, according to Islam, Hijab is not about controlling sexuality or suppression, but rather protecting women. Islamic teachings argue that people will deal with a modest woman, dressed in Islamic Hijab, as a human being. For a woman without Hijab, people are 'distracted' by her femininity and her exposed body. In other words, that the Hijab means women will not be treated as mere sex objects and ensures they are respected and protected from harassment (Armstrong 2001). In this context, it can therefore be said to be empowering women rather than oppressing them.
"Many believe that those who reject Hijab see men as superior to women (Armstrong 2001). This is because they feel bound to attract men using their feminine 'charms' rather than their intellect. Muslims believe that the liberation of women in Islam is more advanced than Western liberation but that Western media fail to see this. In Islam, a truly liberated woman will always dress modestly, as she does not have to sell her body in order to be an accepted member of society (Bouladjan 2005)."

Sample of Sources Used:

  • Armstrong, Karen. 2001. "Islam: A Short History". London: Phoenix.
  • Bouteldja, Naima. (2005, February 25). "The reality of l'affaire du foulard". London: The Guardian.
  • Boulange, A., 29th November 2004, "The Hijab, Racism and the State", International Socialism, Issue 102, available at, accessed 7th January 2010
  • Bowen, J. R., 2007, "Why The French Don't Like Headscarves- Islam, the State, and Public Space", Princeton University Press, Princeton and Oxford
  • Ghareeb, E., 1983, "Split Vision: The Portrayal of Arabs in the American Media", (revised and expanded edition). Washington, D.C,: American-Arab Affairs Council, pg. 186

Cite this Analytical Essay:

APA Format

The Hijab: A Religious and Political Symbol (2012, February 15) Retrieved March 20, 2023, from

MLA Format

"The Hijab: A Religious and Political Symbol" 15 February 2012. Web. 20 March. 2023. <>