Vice fashion editor sparks outrage after naive account of wearing Muslim niqab for a day


'I thought I looked like Batman': Fashion editor sparks anger with account of wearing Muslim niqab for a day around New York

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UPDATED:

18:30 GMT, 8 August 2012

A New York-based magazine has sparked outrage after publishing a story about its fashion editor wearing a niqab for a day.

Vice magazine published a story on its website yesterday that details difficulties experienced by Annette Lamothe-Ramos, its fashion editor, while wearing a five-piece niqab, a cloth normally worn by some Muslim women when they are out in public.

The editor, who incorrectly labelled the cloth a burqa in the story, told of how she 'scared tourists', felt like Batman and began to sweat in places she had never sweated before, all of which offended readers of the consistently irreverent magazine.

Controversial: Vice magazine has sparked outrage after sending one of its editors out in a niqab for a day. The fashion editor, Annette Lamothe-Ramos, told of how she 'scared tourists' in the garment

Controversial: Vice magazine has sparked outrage after sending one of its editors out in a niqab for a day. The fashion editor, Annette Lamothe-Ramos, told of how she 'scared tourists' in the garment

Off-duty: The editor, who also works as a DJ, was seen in New York last December (above)

Off-duty: The editor, who also works as a DJ, was seen in New York last December (above)

Ms Lamothe-Ramos, who also works as a DJ in New York, wrote about how she would never 'do anything like this again because it suckkkkked'.

She also told of how she 'wanted to go naked under the abaya but since burqas are supposed to be outwear, I wore it over a crop top and the shortest shorts I could find in my closet'.

She continued: 'A big gust of wind nearly blew me down the block. I caught my reflection in a doorway and thought I looked like Batman, so I made Ben take a picture.'

One reader commented: 'I can't even count all
the ways this was offensive… this whole post reeks of your privilege,
and it's disgusting.'

For the cameras: The editor, above, also wrote in the story: 'The only other time I'd seen her [my dog] this freaked out by me was when I dressed up as a pregnant nun on Halloween'

For the cameras: The editor (above) also wrote in the story: 'The only other time I'd seen her [my dog] this freaked out by me was when I dressed up as a pregnant nun on Halloween'

Experiment: Ms Lamothe-Ramos (above) traveled the subway, making her way to the Empire State Building

Experiment: Ms Lamothe-Ramos (above) traveled the subway, making her way to the Empire State Building

The garment, which is often incorrectly
labelled a burqa, a cloth that covers the entire body including the
eyes, is also traditionally worn when in front of men who are not their
husband or relative.

The editor continued: 'When we got out of the subway it started
to rain really hard. Lucky for me, I didn't need an umbrella – one of
the few pluses of wearing a burqa.'

Making her way to the Empire State Building, she detailed how 'things got really uncomfortable'.

'While I posed for pictures we noticed that one of the security guards was following us around,' she wrote. 'I guess he was trying to figure out if we were pulling some stupid stunt (we were).'

'Would you also consider rolling around in a wheelchair all day to document people's reactions and get a feel for it'

One reader responded: 'How completely offensive and orientalist of you. Would you also consider rolling around in a wheelchair all day to document people's reactions and get a feel for it'

They continued, commenting on some of the picture captions used in the article: 'This is written with an abundance of completely inconsiderate, distasteful, snide, oppressive remarks… 'Grim Reaper' 'BATMAN' And the worst of all, 'Doesn't Ben look like he just married a virgin' Shame on you'.

'Wow,' another wrote. 'You really should have consulted some Muslims for this to have not come off as so terribly offensive. A little more research goes a long way. This had me cringing the whole time.'

Insensitive The editor also learned how to smile with her eyes during the controversial social experiment

Insensitive The editor also learned how to smile with her eyes during the controversial social experiment

Another reader said: 'I have to say that her approach [may be] admirable, it doesn't really even touch the surface of how Muslim women, who chose to cover, are really treated.

'One day in the life is nothing, especially without any of the full understanding of why-how-and who is being represented!!'

The editor added at the end of her story that wearing the cloth taught her to 'be more conscious of the way I treat people on the street, no matter how they're dressed or what they look like'.

She wrote: 'I have a new-found respect for the women who chose to wear these kinds of garments.'

The social experiment comes after news of the magazine's media company, also titled Vice, receiving its own weekly TV show from HBO.

The series will 'showcase a mix of stories from around the globe' including pieces on child suicide bombers in the Taliban, New York's underground voodoo heroin clinics and Satanic dentists in the Pacific Northwest.

A premiere date is yet to be announced.