Marketing Muslim Lifestyle: A New Media Genre
Abstract: Recently developed to serve the consumption needs of an emergent Islamic bourgeoisie, English-language Muslim lifestyle media depart from previous community media by including fashion as an integral part of the genre. Creating fashion editorial brings lifestyle publications up against internal debates about the representation of the female body and concepts of modesty. Central to this is the problem of what Muslim looks like, or what looks Muslim. The challenges faced by Muslim style intermediaries in staging a dressed body recognizable to readers as Muslim parallel those faced by the new queer lifestyle media established a decade previously. This paper draws on interviews with Muslim lifestyle journalists to explore how they negotiate internal community debates about female modesty while dealing externally with the mainstream fashion industry. These magazines strive to produce content that meets the needs of modesty and fashion in a context where Muslim women’s dress is accorded hypervisibility by majoritarian cultures. The study raises questions about the relationship between marketability, fashion, and piety in the ongoing development of faith-based consumer cultures, evaluated in relation to critiques of neoliberalism’s fostering of consumer subjects.
Tagged with: fashion • Muslim • Women's Studies