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Covered yet overexposed: From a female religious Jewish performance to Israel’s status as a western or non-western country

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Western discourse over the Muslim veil generated different discursive outcomes. It generalized the different practices of veiling used in the Muslim world, turned it into a symbol of women’s oppression, and remained indifferent to practices of veiling outside of the Muslim world. Research regarding this phenomenon focuses particularly on the political role Muslim practices of veiling play in the western world. In that light, I look at the overt meaning minor acts of covering up have in Israel, ignored in most western countries and argue that it originates in Israel’s self-image as a western country. As such, analyses can serve as a new perspective for thinking of the relation of the West with covertness in general, i.e. beyond a specific garment. The first part of this article describes my personal experiences as a secular woman who is identified as a Jewish religious woman in Israel. The second part discusses Jacqueline Kahanoff’s gaze on Palestinian women. After this, I discuss my work with Comme Il Faut, a local fashion house based in Tel Aviv. After stitching these three points together, the status of Israel as a western or non-western country is discussed, as well as future research.
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Keywords: Ashkenazi; Israel; Judaism; Mizrahi; covertness; veiling

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Minerva Humanities Center, Israel

Publication date: April 1, 2015

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  • The International Journal of Fashion Studies is a scientific peer-reviewed journal that fosters the worldwide diffusion of Fashion Studies. Fashion Studies is an interdisciplinary field of research that has been producing an extensive repertoire of theories, analyses and enquiries.
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