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A Photographer Depicts Hijab as an Empowering Tool in Her Photos

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Yumna Al-Arashi wants to show power and beauty of women behind hijab. Photo courtesy of Yumna Al-Arashi’s website

A photographer said she always felt powerful while wearing a hijab, and her new photography project, titled “Northern Yemen,” attempts to capture that.

Photographer Yumna Al-Arashi recently traveled to Yemen to capture shots of women in hijabs and niqabs for her photography project, titled “Northern Yemen.” The project attempts to capture strong qualities, such as “power, grace, [and] beauty,” in women.

Throughout her travels, she said she was repeatedly asked about how women were treated in the Middle East. She went on to say that she felt as if people framed their questions with the assumption that women were often victims who needed protections.

“There was a fight in me to defend them after being so drained of hearing the repeated question of my experiences as a woman in the Middle East,” Al-Arashi said.

“Northern Yemen” attempts to breakdown some of those stereotypes. She said she has attempted to depict women as strong leaders of their communities, the way she has seen them.

“I do not believe I am any more free than a hijabi woman because in American culture I am expected to act, look, and carry myself a certain way, and even when doing so, I am not treated with full respect,” Al-Arashi said. “Emancipation will come when we can fully respect a woman, no matter how she looks or where she comes from.”


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