-Book Reviews
-Editor's Page
-Health Notes
-He Says
-Just the Facts
Breast Cancer: The Environmental Link
> by The Breast Cancer Fund
Special Report On Family-Friendly Policies and How The Class Card Gets Played
> by Betty Holcomb
The Male Box
Ms. editor Gloria Jacobs engages two feminist writers--Susan Faludi and Braun Levine in candid conversation about men, women, and change.
Christy's Crusade
The Violence Against Women Act has been put to the test in a landmark case before the Supreme Court. How one young woman's quest for justice took her to the highest court in the land. > by Patrick Tracey
Confessions of a Recovering Misogynist
A not so good brother describes his struggle to become a better man. > by Kevin Powell

- What?
- Women to Watch
- Word: Crossover
- Just the Facts

-Good News, Bad News for East German Women
- Rules of Engagement--Vermont Style
- Bedouin Women Take Charge
- Out in Africa
- Newsmaker: Rebecca Gomperts
- Women Flex Their Union Muscle
- Opinion: Beyond Sanctions
- Exporting Anti-choice
- Beijing +5: From Words to Deeds
- Clippings

- Special Report On Family-Friendly Policies and How The Class Card Gets Played
- Women's Work: Massage Therapist

-Breast Cancer: The Environmental Link > by The Breast Cancer Fund
- Profile: La Shawn Woodward
- Healthnotes

- Shelf Life: Kate Millett
- Reviews
- Bold Type: Helen Zia
-Editor's Page
-Uppity Women: Julia Butterfly Hill
- Comments Please!
- He Says: Dan Savage
- Girl Power for Sale
-Poetry: "Chaos Feary"
- Columns > by Jennifer De Leon, Patricia Smith, and Gloria Steinem
-Making Waves
- No Comment

Looking out from behind the veil--an Islamic head-covering for the head and face--some feminists see oppression, others, sacred tradition. But true liberation comes through choice. Being forced to take the veil is as oppressive as being forced to take it off. From Turkey to Iran to Afghanistan, Muslim women have struggled with the implications of veiling, making it one of the most controversial aspects of Islam.

According to the Koran, the matter is one of interpretation. In one translation, Chapter 24 states that women "should draw their veils over their bosoms and not display their beautyÓ except to the men in their lives or "small children who have no sense of the shame of sex." The Taliban, in Afghanistan, has imposed the Koran's prescription for modesty on all women. When Afghan women go out in public, they must cover their entire bodies with a head-to-toe garment called a burqa to ward off the male gaze. There is a range of veils throughout the Muslim world: some fall below the eyes and others loosely cover the face. But the heavy burqa is the most extreme, with only a mesh opening for the eyes (pictured above). To walk or work, women have to use one hand from the inside to hold the front together. Those who reveal any skin in public are beaten. And the resulting lack of sunlight and fresh air has led to increasing cases of acute asthma, vitamin D deficiency, and depression. Instead of tempering the male gaze, the Taliban's veil has prevented women from seeing the world and each other. --Anaga Dalal


Burqa Furnished by The Feminist majority Foundation • Photograph by Sylvia Plachy


Copyright Ms. Magazine 2009