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Modest Body Politics: The Commercial and Ideological Intersect of Fat, Black, and Muslim in the Modest Fashion Market and Media

by Reina Lewis

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“That both size and race inequities are present in the Muslim modest fashion industry and media is not surprising; the niche modest fashion industry cross-faith will inevitably reproduce some components of wider societal division and tension. Distinctive is how these often intersecting forms of discrimination are experienced and judged in a fashion industry and media focused on serving—and creating—a multi-ethnic and supra-national consumer demographic defined by Muslim religious identity and cultures. The challenges of fostering size and racial inclusivity demonstrate the extent to which normative modesty ideals are predicated on bodies that are non-“fat” and often non-black. The ways in which large and/or racialized bodies are judged to have failed in achieving preferred versions of modest embodiment reveal wider fault-lines in the affective affiliation to the umma, the imagined global community of Muslim believers.”

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