Egypt's First Lady Represents New Image

New America Media | 7/13/2012, 2:47 p.m.

Former First Lady Suzanne Mubarak, though, would have never accepted being called Em Gamal, (her eldest son). She was, however, grooming him to take over Egypt after her ailing husband displayed deep signs of political boredom.

Even though former First Ladies spent fortunes on their appearance, appealing to many western fashions statements, the new First Lady will have none of it. The only fashion statement she has to make is the hijab and the full dress Islamic dress. This will be the one representation of post-revolution Egypt.

And that won't be too difficult for most Egyptian women to follow. Muslims as well as Christians--in fact, most women in Egypt, regardless of religion, already wear some kind of head covering.

Dalia Saber, 36, an engineering lecturer, said of Najla Mahmoud, "She looks like my mother. She looks like my husband's mother. She probably looks like your mother and everybody else's."

Yet, the West has a fixation about traditional Muslim attire and the hijab. That criticism is that the hajib is mostly a colonial style and a symbol of oppression--as if the multibillion-dollar fashion industry weren't dictating what western women should wear.

Racist attitude towards Muslim women wearing traditional dress is often hidden behind the veil of secularism.

"I wear a hijab to be part of a faith not a part of fashion," explained a young French Muslim woman responding to a question of why she covers her beautiful hair.

Najla Mahmoud, the first hijabi-wearing First Lady of Egypt, may just bring a new attitude toward Muslims women, and a new look toward Muslim fashion.