Document Type

Honors Thesis

Publication Date



The purpose of this thesis is to look at Muslim women in America who veil and how Americans perceive them. The U.S. media has presented a common theme of negative stereotypes about women who veil, including the idea that they are oppressed or associated with terrorist groups. Here, I examine how Americans perceive beauty and how those perceptions may be associated with the negative images of Muslim women who veil. This thesis takes a look at the background of veiling within Islam, how Islam and veiling have been portrayed in the media, and how perceptions of beauty shape what Americans believe about veiling. To examine these issues, I utilized secondary research and two supplemental personal interviews, one with a non-Muslim American woman and the other with a Muslim woman who used to—but not longer does—veil. The results I found were that, in America, a Muslim woman wears the veil as a form of empowerment. However, there are many different factors that lead non-Muslim Americans to believe that they are oppressed.