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Kultura
2017, iss. 157, pp. 159-181
article language: Serbian
document type: Review Paper
doi:10.5937/kultura1757159J


Reconstructing gender (neo)oriental deviance: An analysis of the continuity of the colonial discourse on the necessity of saving Muslim women
Univerzitet u Beogradu, Filozofski fakultet, Odeljenje za sociologiju

Abstract

This paper proceeds from an assumption emphasized by the creator of the concept of Orientalism, Edward Said. His standpoint is that the gender aspect of Occidental attitude towards the Orient is very important for the understanding of the whole complex process of reducing and simplifying the perception of Oriental societies. A specific view of the oriental woman which was formed in the 18th and 19th centuries can also be identified in contemporary Western societies. Although the symbols and the iconography are different, the logic of contradicting women's oriental otherness remains the same. The Muslim women are perceived as submissive, vulnerable and obedient. Western discourses are marked by the need to 'rescue' these endangered women. The methods of 'salvation' are different and they range from sexist to feminist. The feminist form of Western 'salvation' is theoretically more interesting and has been critically responded to by many (Western) authors who disagree with the imperative of adopting Western feminism as the only way to achieve gender equality. In order to clarify the arguments that are in favour of both streams of thought, we have presented various views within the framework of Islamic feminism itself. Without a desire to give the final conclusion, in the end we looked at the possibilities of eclecticism in these theoretical feminist schools of thought that would contribute to the better position of all Muslims in the contemporary context, and especially to the Muslim women. The main goal is to deconstruct images of Muslims as a deviant subculture based on the fact that their customs and beliefs are different.

Keywords

orientalism; feminism; contemporary migration; Islam; gender dimension

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