The veil and its relationship with women
This simple piece of cloth can be used both to empower and oppress
In its simplest form, a veil is an article of clothing that is intended to cover some part of the head or face. Especially associated with women, veiling has been prominent in different forms in Judaism, Christianity, and Islam, and the practice has a long history in European, Asian, and African societies.
A veil can be worn in many different ways and for many different reasons. In some cultures it's used to cover parts of the body that are considered private. It can also be worn as part of a bridal ensemble, or designed as a fashion or ceremonial accessory.
While many women feel empowered by their choice to wear a veil and represent their culture or religion, it can also be used as a means of oppression. Since the Taliban took control of Afghanistan in 2021, they have broken their promises to protect the rights of women and girls. While many practicing Muslim women in Afghanistan already choose to wear headscarves, the Taliban government has now decreed that they must cover their faces and bodies entirely with a hijab, and are threatened with criminal punishment if they fail to comply. The deteriorating situation in Afghanistan has reignited the debate about face coverings and women's rights in the face of cultural and religious tradition.
Click through the gallery to get a better understanding of how the use of the veil has evolved over the centuries in different cultures.
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