Journal of Community & Applied Social Psychology

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Volume 9 Issue 6 (November/December 1999), Pages 397-482

The new veiling phenomenon—is it an anorexic equivalent? A polemic (pages 407-412)


The paper deals with the new veiling phenomenon that initially began two decades ago in countries like Egypt and was taken up in increasing numbers by young educated and working women. The new veiling, however, is no longer restricted to the Middle East. This form of dress is now being adopted by many young Moslem women of various national backgrounds all over the world. The new veiling is an individual choice made by those women and therefore requires a deeper analysis beyond the apparent Islamic revival or the simple re‐activation of tradition.

An analogy is drawn here between the Western anorexic position and this new veiling. The psychological similarities between both situations are illustrated using the social predicament model. The paper argues that both respond to a number of pressures that are now placed upon women globally including conflicting cultural messages and contradictory cultural expectations. These global social changes have their impact on women's sense of their ‘self’ and ‘body’ and therefore need to be seen in terms of women's pursuit of self‐definition, development and power negotiations within the progressive differentiation of society under change. Copyright © 1999 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

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