UNIVERSITY OF HELSINKI

Faculty

Faculty of Education

Department

Department of Home Economics and Craft Science

Section of Craft Science and Textile Teacher Education

Author

Maijala Seija Sinikka

Title

There Are No Two Identical Sisters. Individuality in Muslim Women’s Dress in Finland.

Subject

Craft Science

Level

Master’s Thesis

Month and year

September 2001

Number of pages

89 + 3

Abstract

The objective of the study was to understand individuality in Muslim women’s dress. The research problems were, how individuality forms and appears in their dress. To answer these questions interviews were made with nine Muslim women who live in Finland. The interviews were analysed with the phenomenologically oriented content analysis method. The research report proceeds in a dialogue between theory and the analysis.

In this study individuality in dress was studied as a process. Factors affecting to this process were considered: the individual, the set of identities, personality, self, religion, culture and social relationships. An essential part of the process was searching for a positive experience of self. The experience meant intuitive self-identification and satisfaction with the mirror reflection for the women. Individuality was the result of searching for the positive experience of self-identification, because for each woman different kinds of dress gave a feeling of suitability for the self. For example, for some Muslim women head covering is a way to express the self. They experience this as the right way for the good Muslim woman. For others head covering can mean the loss of positive self experience.

Individuality in dress appeared in various ways. Some women cover their whole body including their head in public. Some women do not cover their head and some dress even in tight and revealing clothes. There are also Muslim women who cover their faces, they are not included in this study. Individuality appears also within groups that dress similarly. Individuality appeared with different kind of clothes, hairstyles, make-up, choices, details and colour. However, individuality is not only the noticeable differences in dress, but how each Muslim woman belongs to this reality and expresses herself within dress. This means that in this study individuality in dress is seen in a way that many Finns would not consider as individuality.

Keywords

Individuality, Muslim woman, dress, process, self, experience

Where deposited

Reference library of the section of Craft Science and Textile Teacher Education