[headgear] "Woman is an object in all societies. If it wasn't, I don't think the shawl would exist. But when it looks like it does, I think it's easier to be an individual with the shawl on. "
This is one of the women depicted in the book Slöjor. She is one of 53 ladies interviewed and photographed by Elin Berge. Academician Edda Manga has written the concluding essay that puts Western understanding of the shawl into a historical framework.
The intention behind the book is commendable. The authors want to give a voice to the ladies who, in the Western cultural interpretation, have either been understood as exotic, erotic beings of the type "under every shawl there is a belly dancer", or as oppressed victims that must be saved.
The escape from the gaze
Many of these women's statements are about the right to be a subject and the pleasant escape from the sexually objectifying. . .
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