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Wednesday, April 25, 2007

It's Lonely at the Top (of my head).






I have been wearing a big floppy hat and a scarf around my head, ears, and neck. I think I look like a slightly odd version of those sophisticated women at the Kentucky Derby. I know it may even look stranger than a typical pinned or (amira type) scarf, but I just feel more comfy with my hatscarf.

When I went to Wal-mart the greeting guy said "welcome. welcome to our store" as if I was an immigrant and he was saying, "welcome to our country." Hmm...ok, ok, I'll admit it might have been my imagination. But I've noticed some stares and glances at my headgear.

The more I look at myself the way that (I assume) other non-Muslim people look at me when they see a typical amira style or pin under chin triangle shaped headscarf, the more lonely I feel.

I was watching my favorite show, "Everybody Loves Raymond," and imagining the wife character wearing a scarf on her head. It seemed impossible and down right uneccessary (from their view).

And of course there are NO headscarf wearing women seen regularly on American TV at all. The Oprah Winfrey show has had 2 or 3 shows featuring a headscarf wearing woman, but even then Oprah seemed mystified by the concept. And The Tyra Banks show has had 2 or 3 shows featuring the headscarf issue, one in particular included a Muslim teen explaining why she does NOT wear it, and a Muslim teen explaining why she DOES wear it-- that was cool. "Sesame Street" has a girl with a headscarf run across the screen with other children in its opening credits. I like that. And there was one episode of "Seventh Heaven," about a Muslim girl in a headscarf being bullied at school--another good one. And there is a Canadian television show called "Little Mosque on the Prairie," which features life-like, funny, flawed, and intelligent Muslim characters--but that's way up in Canada.

And still, the lack of headscarves on American TV and in its culture reminds me of how different Muslims are from mainstream America...just in terms of values. The dress code value is a BIG one, I think. Then there's the praying 5 times a day, no alcohol or pork consumption, and the no dating thing. Muslim Americans are Americans, but our daily lives are quite different in their emphasis and priorities. Of course, that is a good thing, it's a diverse thing, it's a true thing. But I think it's a lonely thing too, which makes it difficult and explains why many born-Muslims have stopped valuing those things as well.

Oh, and it'd be great if some female celebrity became a Muslim and started wearing the headscarf. I mean, the guys have boxer Mohammad Ali, and basketball greats Kareem Abdul Jabar and Hakeem Olijawon. But just think of all the cool publicity Muslims would get if Julia Roberts or Gwenyth Paltrow became Muslims. Ok, Ok, I'll admit I waste a lot of time with my imagination.

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