Check out this quote from Dr. Leila Ahmed’s book A Quiet Revolution:
Belief in the superiority of European man and his civilization and in the inferiority of Others – which encompassed all non-European peoples and civilizations – were the commonplaces of the day. In addition to the broad and overarching narrative of the West’s overall superiority, there were also stock narratives that defined the particular inferiority of each different group – Hindus, for example, or Muslims or “Orientals” or sub-Saharan Africans. And dress in some cases (too much covering, for instance, with respect to Muslim women, and too little in relation to some sub-Saharan African societies) came to epitomize, to European eyes, the differentness, Otherness, and inferiority of those groups and societies. In the last decades of the nineteenth century these narratives of racial, religious, and civilizational inferiority came to focus specifically on the issue of women and the ways that men of Other societies oppressed and degraded women.