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Different people have got different styles of dressing based on their culture, fashion, beauty, faith and freedom. Since time in memorial, the style of dressing has been predisposed by several aspects. This ranges from the availability of materials and the need for people to be identified through their unique dressing. For instance, in most European and European influenced societies, the manner in which individuals dress themselves is more less the same. Clothes are entirely symbolic in nature (Tarlo, 2010). They portray a person’s beliefs and his nature of living. Emma Tarlo in her book Visibly Muslim gives an in-depth view of how Muslim women dress. She argues that Muslim women, unlike women of other religions desire to express their distinctiveness and a faith style of dressing. This is exemplified through wearing of solemn black garments, vivid headscarves and other emerging forms of Islamic fashion. Caroline Webber, on the other hand, in her book entitled Queen of Fashion. The use of the character, Marie Antoinette, shows how the manner in which an individual dons can be perceived by others. Caroline Webber submits that the manner in which Queen Marie dressed was quite instrumental to her success and failures. She used the power of clothing to delight her adversaries. Later she developed a soft sport for French outfits and started wearing provocatively. This move saw Marie defeated in a fight with her adversaries and subsequently she lost the throne. This essay gives a comprehensive and comparative analysis of a book called Visibly Muslim by Emma Tarlor and another book called Queen of Fashion by Caroline Webber. The two authors have differing views on the topic of style-fashion-dress among women (Tarlo, 2010).
Authors, Caroline and Emma seem to concur that fashion among women is quite dynamic. They both in their books claim that style and influence are certainly much alike. Nonetheless, Caroline in her book Queen of Fashion emphasizes more on the change in the manner in which women dress. Caroline believes that the manner in which women dress is a changing phenomenon. She used Queen Marie in her book to demystify how change is a domineering force in the way women dress.
Marie Antoinette was a decent leader whose way of dressing was respected and admired by many. At 14 years, Marie Antoinette declined to wear a traditional whalebone corset. I think, by this time Maria was already influenced by other cultures. She did not want to put on what the society thought was a morally acceptable way of dressing. She was quite fearless and chose to disregard the society instead. She opted for outfits that portrayed her strength, her financial capacity as well as potential. Her choice of clothes provoked many people and had different implications of different sections of the French population (Weber, 2006).
Just like in Emma Tailor’s book Visible Muslim, Marie Antoinette was blamed for the predicaments that befell the French nation. Both books are unanimous in regard to the manner in which the society can respond to some form of dressing. Marie went against the society when she preferred what was considered modern and provocative clothing. At that time, the Queen was only supposed to be the living image of her husband. She was not supposed to exhibit any signs of power. However, Marie’s choice of clothes was quite influential. She dressed in outfits that portrayed power and freedom. Her style was emulated by many people. Most of them were prostitutes and aristocrats. Her influence was quite sensational; she was blamed for the failure of many things in France including the economy and moral decay in the society.
Compared to Emma Tailor’s book Visible Muslim, there is a similarity in the manner which both main characters are treated by the society. Emma uses an example of contemporary British Muslim women to strengthen her argument that the society is intolerant to Muslim women’s fashions. Just like in the book Queen of Fashion, British Muslim women have been victims of various accusations all over the world. Emma explains that Muslim women dress the way they dress out of their own volition. They are happy and secure in their garments and headscarves. Muslim women in the West are happy and secure in their religious garb. Headgears and other Muslim garments are a sign of righteousness and decency to them.
I think that the book Visible Muslim was an author’s creation of how the world perceives female outfits. The author seams to blame the West for their lack of understanding of Muslim clothes. To most western cultures putting on a hijab “headscarves” is as sign of oppression. Most people in western countries do not comprehend why Muslim women dress the way they do. They think that for one to be considered decent and educated, he or she should dress like whites. Emma reckons that there is no standardized form of dressing for women. Every culture has its unique way of expressing itself. There is no point of on race, culture or class regarding itself as superior in terms of clothing (Tarlo, 2010).
There is a similarity in the manner in which both authors express their disapproval of some ideologies that degrade other people’s way of dressing. Both books feature in particular the factors that affect people’s way of dressing. Most societies that were colonized by British have a code of dressing that is similar to that of Britons. When European countries set out on colonial missions, they forced their subjects to act and behave like Europeans. This is the reason why most people in countries that were occupied by colonies dress like their former colonial masters.
Contrary to the views by the author of Queen of Fashion, who argues in her book that there should be a prescribed code of conduct for every occasion, Emma Tarlor castigates this position. In her book Visible Muslim, she argues that no one has full control over people’s choice of dressing. The author favors the argument that women’s fashion should regulate itself. She seems to believe, that women dress in whatever way they do because they believe in it and that is how they want other people to view them. Emma defends Muslim women in their sacred garments as their right (Ashelford, 1996).
In the book the Visible Muslim, the author gives an in-depth understanding of how dressing is of utmost importance to Muslim women. She wonders why the manner in which, Muslim British women dress attracts such massive media attention.
Both books defend the way women dress in the society. Both authors advocate for the freedom of dressing as far as women issues are concerned. Emma Tarlor criticizes the attention that Muslim women in the West receive. In her book Emma faults the politics and the biased attention that engulfs Muslim women who don in their sacred regalia. In her argument, she explains that people all over the world have their unique ways of expressing themselves. British Muslim women choose clothes to expresses their religious believes. She uses an example of how Christian clergymen especially catholic dress to preside over church ceremonies. The author is even mesmerized because there has been no debate over the same. Catholic clergymen dress in accordance with their church laws (Weber, 2006).
What amazes Emma more is that Catholic clerical clothing is less like Muslim clothing, yet no one dares complain. This is open discrimination in the writer’s view; she wonders whether it is the Muslim faith that people in the West dislike or their form of dressing. She further questions why British and French governments have been notable in discouraging and even burning wearing of headscarves in public places. The author wonders why similar actions have never been taken against catholic priest, judiciary official and graduation ceremonies.
It is evident that the attention Muslim women in the West have received is negatively engineered. No one has ever complained that clerical clothing or graduation gowns are demeaning or are a sign of oppression. Individuals comfortable struggle to acquire graduation attires during graduation without any complain. They volunteer to put on gowns and hurts during graduation. The situation is, however, different when it comes to Muslim women with their gowns and headgears. Both authors are unanimous in condemning those who undermine women’s clothing on grounds that it promotes immorality or is a sign of oppression.
Caroline Webber and Emma Tarlo concur on one thing. In their books, bothers authors agree that there is a tendency in the society that seems to support uniformity as far as dressing is concerned. The society expects women to dress in a common manner even when there is no common standard form of dressing. The matter seems worse when it comes to women; it is common to hear that a woman has been striped naked in Saudi Arabia or Sudan because she was not dressed decently. Emma seems to be questioning the credibility of the said decency in her book Visible Muslim.
This is vividly expressed when she juxtaposes how Muslim women are viewed in the west, and how non Muslim women are treated in Muslim countries. Non Muslim women are humiliated in non Muslim countries because of their mode of dressing. These women are often beaten on the streets by violent mobs because of their choice of dressing. Muslim societies expect every woman to don in Muslim regalia. Any form of clothing that goes against their faith is deemed unholy and those wearing them are considered infidels. In the west, however, it is the exact opposite. The situation is not different form the rest of other societies. In Africa for instance, women are supposed to cover themselves entirely. Exposure of a woman skin is considered immoral and outcasts.
The manner in which people dress in influenced a couple of factors. Dressing in most societies is an expression of how people live and interact in the society. In the West for instance, women freely wear bikinis while dinning or on beaches. In other regions like African or Middles East, women are supposed to cover themselves entirely. Muslims proscribe exceptionally heavy punishment for a woman who does not cover her head. Emma Tarlor in her book Visible Muslim wonders why Muslims in the West catch the attention of the media. Each person has a right to dress in any style including Muslim women with their religious clothing. She gives an in-depth understanding of why different people dress in different styles. Caroline Webber in her book the Queen of Fashion similarly criticizes the response that women get when they choose to dress against the expectations of the society (Davis, 2010).