“Orientalism” is a way of seeing that imagines, emphasizes, exaggerates and distorts differences of Arab peoples and cultures as compared to that of Europe and the U.S. It often involves seeing Arab culture as exotic, backward, uncivilized, and at times dangerous. Edward W. Said, in his groundbreaking book, Orientalism, defined it as the acceptance in the West of “the basic distinction between East and West as the starting point for elaborate theories, epics, novels, social descriptions, and political accounts concerning the Orient, its people, customs, ‘mind,’ destiny and so on.”1

“THE BURQA VERSUS A FORMAL GOWN AS A CULTURAL NORM” by Misty Smith. Originally published on July 09, 2017, for HIS 311: Women, Sexuality, and Islam at Southern New Hampshire University.

*Please note: I am a lifelong learner; therefore, I study various religions and cultures. I do not intend to promote one over another and believe that everyone has the right to believe as they wish (or to not believe).