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Literature Review On Exploring Female Muslim Identity (Hijabista ) On Instagram: Online Islamic Fashion Bloggers

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In the article, the author Bourne (2017) addressed that for Muslim woman in the past who wanted to wear hijab and stay fashionable at the same time, there weren’t many mainstream bloggers to look up to, and modest fashion was barely comprehensible on social media platforms. She emphasized that nowadays there is a significance rise of Muslim bloggers on Instagram who tries to break stereotype and stigmas such as: misconceptions regarding Muslim woman’s traditional veil and their culture through documenting modest fashion, and three of the bloggers expressed how their blogs became a source of inspiration for many women. These bloggers can inspire them to feel empowered towards their own cultural identity. Referencing to my research topic, this article is very relevant and useful for me as it serves as an evidence that Instagram bloggers play an important role in many Muslim woman’s life by being their authentic representatives and influencers of modest fashion on social media.

The article is about the author conducting a research to mainly gain a broader perspective on how Muslim women have become acclimated to the online world of fashion and lifestyle blogging in a way that affects their roles within the Islamic culture industry. She mentioned that incorporating a mixture of ‘modern’ style and popular fashion into everyday religious wear has become an almost unconscious act for many Muslim women. And thus, the Hijabista women use their position in social media as opportunities to grow and open up spaces for more Muslim women who desire to navigate mainstream fashion. The author of this scholar article is Kelsey Waninger from Georgia State University and completed the research under the direction of Amira Jarmakami, a PhD holder. Her methodology of research was to follow top 5 Muslim Instagram bloggers and analysis their daily posts. Her research is helpful to me as my methodology is going to be same as her (following about 5 top bloggers to examine their impact on the Muslim Women’s identity.

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This paper discusses the concept of modesty from an Islamic point of view and explores how it is performed, negotiated, and regulated within the context of Instagram, there is an increase in the exposure and coverage Muslim women receive. Much of the hijabi “lifestyle” and embodiment is in fact performed on this highly accessible platform. By sharing modest fashion looks on Instagram and receive positive feedbacks from their followers, it empowers, define and strengthen their identities. This article serves as another evidence to my topic area. As the author expressed that many brands collaborate with the already-established fashion bloggers with a substantial and loyal following (the fashion “influencers”) to sell products to a larger market.

The brands have the knowledge that many followers look for modest fashion tips from these bloggers, they follow their fashion taste and get inspiration via the bloggers Instagram posts and stories. This research aims to reveal and understand thematic and symbolic imagery associated with Islam and Muslims within an online visual culture. The four authors specifically concentrated on Instagram for findings and analysis. There are an ocean of Muslim fashion and lifestyle bloggers, also known as ‘hijabistas’ (combination of ‘hijabi’ and ‘fashionista’) promoting modest fashion and reflecting self-identity. These young women rearticulate the rules of modesty of Islamic female dress code, fusing traditional religious clothing, such as the hijab, and fashionable western garments. And some of them have become transnational microcelebrities / influencers with hundreds of thousands of followers worldwide. This study is relevant to my research topic in terms of the conclusion the authors made which was that even when the generic hashtags like #Islam #Muslim were used, one in four posts featured hijabs, veils and other female religious clothing. Which demonstrates that a substantial share of symbols happens to be strongly related to female cultural identity.

The author of the blog stressed that people should stop denying that media bloggers do influences us. Recently, there have been several ‘hijabi’ bloggers that have changed their opinions on hijab or removed it completely after spending time building their followership via the hijab, stated the author. And these bloggers taking such actions not only have repercussions for themselves but also for those who follows and look up to them. As my research is going to look at the influence of Instagram bloggers on other Muslim women’s identity, so far, I’ve come across positive influences only, but this article tells us that media influence is not always positive, it can be negative at times too. And for the ladies who follow such bloggers to find inspiration, if they follow the bloggers footsteps, it can affect their religious behaviors thus cultural identity. After reading this blog, I might as well look for the negative impact of Instagram bloggers on Muslim women’s identity.

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