When a lady walks down the road in a hijab, the very first thing usually observed is the veil or a head scarf, symbols of faith that sometimes establish an individual as Muslim.
An issue arises when that’s all folks see. Asma Bernier found that this visible illustration of her faith is usually the one identifier of the particular person beneath the veil. “When you stroll within the room,” explains the Communications and Media pupil within the School of Arts on the College of Calgary, “you might be seen as a veiled Muslim, nothing extra, and nothing much less.”
Mixed along with her first-hand experiences rising up in Calgary as a veiled Muslim lady of each Center Jap and European heritage, Bernier struggled to discover a place the place she felt she totally belonged. And whereas she’s the primary to say that she is a proud hijabi Muslim lady, Bernier can be fast to remind that there’s extra to her id: she is an rising scholar, a daughter, sister, and buddy to many.
Bernier, who receives her BA within the November convocation ceremonies, says this realization drew her to analysis hijabi influencers and modest vogue in a analysis strategies class, which grew to become her work for her undergraduate honours analysis. Following a co-op internship and the encouragement and assist of her professors, she’s taken her work to the subsequent section of her educational profession as, with out skipping a beat, she embarks on her grasp’s diploma program at UCalgary.
Social media influencers as id icons
Bernier says her analysis emerged from her personal use of social media, her vogue and veiling practices and from folks she follows on Instagram and TikTok who share her curiosity in id politics and the politics of illustration.
Specializing in social media made sense, as Bernier’s co-op placement was at UCalgary within the Division of Communication, Media and Movie (CMF). As the general public engagement and curriculum analysis assistant, she was accountable for sustaining the web site and social media accounts whereas additionally engaged on particular initiatives corresponding to curriculum analysis and media know-how analysis. She’s most happy with her launch of the CMF Instagram account and of the creation of the CMF Pupil Collection which showcased undergraduate and graduate college students within the numerous CMF packages, resulting in elevated engagement. She says she was capable of apply educational data to knowledgeable setting.
“Going into my analysis, I questioned how hijabi influencers have interaction in self-representation whereas specializing in vogue,” she says. “I needed to study extra about why they usually costume in daring methods; how do they outline Islamic modesty and what does it say about our identities?”
Illustration by Yasmine Swedan
After learning the profiles and posts of girls in Australia, Canada, the USA, and Norway, she realized the modest vogue motion is a worldwide one. With Muslim influencers all over the world partaking in related self-expressive practices, Bernier says she drew from her personal experiences, in addition to communication theories corresponding to post-colonial feminism, artistic labour, and cultural translation.
“Via these theories,” she says, “I used to be capable of make sense of what I used to be analyzing within the photos and movies derived from hijabi influencers. I intently analyzed clothes, texture, hijab, background, pose, facial features, make-up, and the captions. I made sense of what every visible artifact was speaking and its relation to Islamic modesty.”
Graduate work takes form
Bernier’s purpose is to proceed to deepen her analysis, learning vogue, politics, and activism, in search of to grasp how vogue can be utilized as a instrument for activist practices whereas conserving the deal with Muslim ladies.
She continuously talked to Muslim ladies about her mission, and all agreed on one particular factor: the timeliness of her analysis. She has discovered that there’s a modest vogue motion rising via hijabi influencers and hijabi ladies in on a regular basis life, and by non-Muslims throughout the high-fashion trade.
“I’ve discovered that there’s this perception that Muslim ladies cannot observe tendencies or discover vogue as a result of they’ve to decorate extra conservatively,” she says. “There’s room for creativity in vogue and these ladies will also be a part of subcultures. Types vary from Y2K to punk and classic to excessive vogue.
“Muslim ladies observe modesty, however they don’t discover that it limits their identities,” she continues, including, “It provides to their id, they usually have interaction in distinctive and adventurous methods of dressing. Via artistic dressing, they break that identifier of being a veiled lady and are seen as a veiled lady who’s artistic, courageous, and far more.”
Taking analysis to the group
Discussing her work and recognizing a must develop a artistic house for Muslim ladies to satisfy and work together, Bernier, working with three mates, developed and launched a non-profit group known as Al-Muselimah (a play on the time period Al-Muslimah, which suggests feminine Muslim, and the phrase muse). “We selected this to painting our mission as a company: an area for artistic Muslim ladies,” she explains. “We name our members and all who have interaction with us our muses.”
Simply over a month in the past the ladies launched Al-Muselimah, and in late October they held an occasion that offered out shortly and drew 40 ladies collectively. The response from the group has been each constructive and filled with reward for establishing an area only for Muslim ladies. The plan is to host extra occasions for girls to attach with one another, showcase their creativity and art work, and be a part of an accepting group.
“Neighborhood constructing is one thing we worth.”