Encyclopedia of Women & Islamic Cultures

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Modesty Discourses: Central Asia and the Caucasus
(988 words)

“Men can do what they like, and so can Russian women, but not we Muslim women. We have to keep our legs and heads covered. It is a sin for us to expose them in the street. In the past, Muslim women veiled their faces but even today we cannot leave the house without permission and must not be alone with a man except our husbands, whom we must obey in all things.” This statement from Tajikistan speaks to the way popular discourse shapes the construction of hierarchical differences between the sexes through the enforcement of female modesty practices.

Historically, details of expected behavior p…

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Harris, Colette, “Modesty Discourses: Central Asia and the Caucasus”, in: Encyclopedia of Women & Islamic Cultures, General Editor Suad Joseph. Consulted online on 07 December 2023 <http://dx.doi.org/10.1163/1872-5309_ewic_EWICCOM_0118b>
First published online: 2009

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