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France, Yemen: Vanishing Women

Disparition by Bouchra Almutawakel

“Disparition” by Yemeni photographer Bushra Almutawakel

Eloïse Lagrenée [fr] has posted on her Facebook page a picture by Yemeni photographer Bushra Almutawakel, illustrating how women could vanish into darkness and invisibility, step by step, under fundamentalist pressure and the full niqab. It has been shared over 1,500 times.

  • Claire Sale

    Wow…. I’m no expert on this issue, but as a progressive person having lived in Saudi for the last year, I can’t tell you how offensive these images could be for the women who choose to cover.

    For one, it’s completely inaccurate: babies would never wear an abaya (clothes covering) and especially not a niqab (head/face covering). Second – before puberty most girls who wear the abaya do it for fun… sort of like us western women would wear party shoes because our mothers do. They also would more than likely not cover their faces.

    While the abaya (the clothes covering) is required for all women here in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, head covering is not… and every Saudi woman I’ve spoken with about it says that it’s her choice to cover as much of her head/face or as little as she likes. Many women choose to cover out of respect for god, their families, and to keep herself modest and out of sight of prying eyes.

    When I go into town, I am required to wear an abaya over my clothes. I oblige out of respect for the culture I live in, and I’ve never once felt “invisible” for it.

    When I moved to Saudi I was really on the fence about whether or not the French law to ban face coverings was a good idea. Now, after just a year of living in Saudi, I can see just how hateful and ill-informed that law really is — just like this series of photos.

    • anonymous

      Claire, this means you have only seen the upper class, there are some women out there who DONT want to where it, however have to simply because their father/brother/husband told them to, and some dont even do it for religion however to stop people from spreading rumors about them. You cant possibly see the whole picture unless you were born into such culture, I’m an american-arab and when i lived in an arab country i felt completely and utterly suffocated simply because women seem to be looked down upon and objectified in such a repulsive way. So please dont call this artwork hateful because in all honesty its what some women have to deal with on a daily basis. At times women are imprisoned in this god awful paradox simply because they know of nothing more. Once when I asked one of the less fortunate girls whether she goes out, she simply replied saying that at times her father would allow her to go out for a walk on the same street she lived in. I can see where this photographer is coming from and respect it.

  • majid

    what will happen if a person Continued this from left? woman wiil be Nude and vanished again. Be moderate. like the first pic

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