Tuesday, February 8, 2011
The ever so visible effects of Globalization
Indeed, identical name branded clothing and shoes can be found worldwide and this is regarded as a mark of progress towards globalization. Let's not even talk about fashion trends; All that has to happen is for some model or actress to promote a certain style of clothing and suddenly the whole world is dressing that way.
A while ago I walked into a store in the Oriental Plaza, a shopping centre in Johannesburg, which comprises of mainly Muslim owned shops. I remember shopping at this particular shop with my mother and sisters when I was much younger. We used to go there when we were looking for Eid Clothing because they always had suitable Islamic clothes; fashionable clothing yet modest. I was quite shocked when I walked into this store after a long while. Now the racks of the shop displayed sleeveless dresses and tight fitting pants, as well as short tops and skirts. Perhaps it was intended for people to put together a suitable outfit, but this store looked very far off from the store I once knew and it struck me that it very closely resembled one of the other global fashion stores.
Then the other day I was driving through the Johannesburg CBD and I noticed two young African women in tight blue jeans and sleeveless tank tops. Their image was exactly the same as the people we see on TV. This once again reminded me that more and more cultural forms of dress are beginning to disappear. In Johannesburg you can still spot women dressed in traditional African garb, bright colourful materials with African prints. This is usually long stylish skirts and tops, and often it includes matching headgear. I always admire women who are dressed that way, but I have to say that these women are in the minority.
A while back I was at a conference and someone came up to me wanting to talk about my work on Muslim women that was displayed. She said to me “I was wondering whose work this was but I assumed it’s you since you’re dressed traditionally”. On that day I wore a knee long top and a pants and of course my headscarf. But that’s exactly what things have become-anyone who doesn’t fit within the global norms of dressing is dressed “traditionally”, and they stand out like a sore thumb.
So since the only blueprint for Muslims to follow is the Holy Quraan and Sunnah of the Prophet (Peace be upon Him), I guess in a global society we will never be able to fit in completely. Our form of dress alone will always make us stand out and thus people will inevitably regard us as different. So what do we do? Do we follow suit and join the globalized world? Or do we continue to assert our identities as Muslims? I guess in the end the choice is up to each individual. This just reminds me of a talk by Sheikh Khalid Yasin entitled “The Strangers”. (Available at the following link http://kalamullah.com/khalid-yasin.html). He said in that talk something to the effect that Islam began as a stranger and Muslims were regarded as strangers in the time of the Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him), and Islam will end as a stranger and Muslims will once again be regarded as strangers. It just seems to me that in the global world of today perhaps this is inevitable.
Almighty Allah knows best about everything!
Image taken from: http://senthamizhvanan.blogspot.com/2010/11/globalization-impact-on-employment.html