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Really?? Singer Joss Stone Glorifies Niqab

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Joss Stone (Photo: Instagram post)
Joss Stone (Photo: Instagram post)

British singer Joss Stone took to Instagram last week to praise her trip to Saudi Arabia and the niqab, the face veil women are forced to wear.

In her Instagram post, Joss Stone wrote:

Oh #saudiarabia how we love you so ! I cannot wait to tell everyone I meet to go visit this beautiful place filled with beautiful people yet again, pleasantly surprised. Took me a while to figure out how to keep this wrap from falling off and then when I finally got it I realised that I didn’t even have to wear it. What a shame! So I wore it anyway because I love it. I love the different cultures we get a chance to come across and become part of, even if it’s for just one small tiny moment. It means so much. The women here are strong and exercising their choice to be free, wear what they want and do what they want, their want may be different to what we experience at home but there ain’t nothing wrong in that. To each her own. I spoke to female doctors, managers, directors, vocal specialists, hearing specialists, carers, a singer/performer/artist and they all tell the same tale. The horses mouth has spoken. Yes there are horrible things going on all over the world in many different corners and crevasses but these women individually felt they were not oppressed, they were highly educated and free to choose how they lived their lives. I can only ever speak of those that I have met, I will not comment on what I have not seen with my own eyes because I have no right to. Assumption really is not something I wish to entertain. if you don’t know, go have a look for yourself have a look for your self. I have come away from this inspired. Not just by the women but the men too, with how they are celebrating the changes that are happening in Saudi Arabia they are not fighting against it as so many might assume. It seems to me that they are all walking forward together trying to make there world a better place. This is the feeling I got from my personal experience. I would really like to go back one day and explore this place further. Thanks for having me #saudiarabia

This isn’t the first time a celebrity has romanticized the niqab. In 2017, singer/songwriter Alicia Keys glamorized the niqab in a 2017 tweet showcasing a picture of a woman in a niqab and an abaya. She later deleted the tweeted due to pushback from women’s rights activists, including Clarion Project’s National Correspondent Shireen Qudosi — but not before both Clarion Project and Faithwire reported on the exchange.

Though it is beautiful to learn about each other’s cultures, it is also important to not celebrate a nation’s regressive cultural practices simply to be inclusive or exotic. In the countries where women are forced to wear a niqab, it is neither beautiful, nor freeing, nor an act of strength to wear what has been mandated for you.

The irony is that while feminist icons like Alicia Keys and celebrity personalities like Joss Stone might chant for shutting down the patriarchy, supporting the niqab means they’re helping hold up that very system.

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