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“Proof of Purchase”: Navigating the Montreal Fashion Scene Muslim Style

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“Proof of Purchase”: Navigating the Montreal Fashion Scene Muslim Style

Esseghaier, Mariam (2016) “Proof of Purchase”: Navigating the Montreal Fashion Scene Muslim Style. PhD thesis, Concordia University.

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Abstract

Representations of Muslim women in Western media tend to deploy Orientalist elements portraying them as oppressed, backwards, and in need of saving. These images establish Muslim women as unfashionable, identical to one another, and without personality. However, at times, these representations are compensated with depictions of assimilated or “good” Muslim women in which they are portrayed as fashionable, sexual, and palatable to Western sensibilities and expectations. These portrayals have been maintained and reinforced through governmental policies, popular culture, and consumerism. However, these two dominant frames leave little room for any nuanced understanding of Muslim women themselves.

This dissertation explores the lived-experiences of dress and shopping practices of Muslim women in Montreal, Quebec, Canada. Through interviews and fieldwork, I focus on the meaning-making and negotiations that Muslim women make in their consumption of media, their interpretations and development of their own religious practices, their navigation of the consumer sphere, as consumers as well as an entrepreneur, and finally of the place of Islam in relation to fashion. In this context, I explore the Muslim women’s relationship to Islam and fashion. To see fashion and Islam as oppositional and contradictory is to ignore the complex ways in which Muslim women incorporate and synthesize concepts to balance their own interpretations of what fashion means in their own lives.

This thesis demonstrates the myriad and complex ways in which Muslim women create definitions of fashion that are compatible with their own interpretations of culture, Islam, modesty, and practice. Their definitions of Islam and fashion are constantly renegotiated, reworked, and renewed throughout the course of their lives. Adherence to fashion, then, does not necessarily mean assimilating to the West and rejecting Islam, but rather, can be interpreted as a means that Muslim women use to create their own way of representing themselves without succumbing to the binary of appearing either as liberated or oppressed.

Divisions:Concordia University > Faculty of Arts and Science > Communication Studies
Item Type:Thesis (PhD)
Authors:Esseghaier, Mariam
Institution:Concordia University
Degree Name:Ph. D.
Program:Communication
Date:June 2016
Thesis Supervisor(s):Jiwani, Yasmin
ID Code:981713
Deposited By: MARIAM ESSEGHAIER
Deposited On:09 Nov 2016 14:26
Last Modified:18 Jan 2018 17:53
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