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Uncovering Modesty: Dejabis and Dewigies Expanding the Parameters of the Modest Fashion Blogosphere

by Reina Lewis

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“Premised on a discourse of modest fashion as individual choice rather than compulsion, modest fashion incorporates style considerations into the quotidian practices of “everyday religion” characterized by blending, syncretism, and contradiction. This article examines how modest fashion discourse responds to the increasing numbers of women who choose to discard what have come to be the key signifiers of religious female modesty in Islam and orthodox Judaism, the hijab and the wig or hat, made prominent online by the wardrobe changes of two transnationally prominent USA-based bloggers, Nina Cohen of alltumbledown and Winnie Détwa of winniedetwaland. Interviews and blog and social media analysis demonstrate that contra mainstream orientalist presumptions that women who remove the veil have been saved from Muslim civilizational alterity, online debates within modest fashion seek to regard these modified forms of self-presentation as widening, rather than quitting, the frame of modest embodiment.”

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