Ewa Glapka


This article explores women’s relationship with the patriarchal surveillance of their bodies – ‘the male gaze’. Going beyond the scholarly tradition of solely critiquing the patriarchal discourse of the female body, the study examines the processes in which individuals relate to the male gaze by means of socio-culturally available meaning-making resources. The analysis is based on interviews with Muslim women in South Africa who talk about their hijab practices and thus position themselves to the patriarchal discourses of Islam and West. The article advances a theoretical and analytical framework in which concepts of ‘hybridity’ and ‘difference’ are harnessed to examine the possibilities of subverting patriarchal surveillance on the level of individual discourse practices. The study’s findings demonstrate the importance of exploring the contextual and reflexive mechanisms regulating the gendered relations of looking.

Author Biography

Ewa Glapka is a post-doctoral research fellow in the Department of English Studies at the University of the Free State, South Africa. She has published on the issues of discourse and gender, critical discourse analysis, media discourse and media reception, including a book, Reading bridal magazines from a critical discursive perspective (2014, Palgrave). Her current research focuses on the discursive constructions of the body and beauty in South Africa.