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Thursday, August 9, 2007


This is an article on the topic of hijab that I found online. The author was gracious enough to allow me to post it here on my blog. I really enjoyed it and think it was very well done--well said!


The women who cover and the women who criticize them
On the one hand, hijabi women are dowdy and primitive, too feeble-minded to realize they're being oppressed by their misogynistic cultures. They never had a chance! To see what they could be! Oh, if only some cowboy could ride in on his F-14 fighter jet and give them some freedom.

On the other hand, hijabi women are a disgrace to the religion. Did you see what she was wearing? Why you could almost make out the faint shape of her leg if you focused so hard on her pants that you came dangerously close to passing out.

Back on the first hand, those hijabis need education and exposure to the western world. Even the ones who already live in the western world. Obviously if they think they're putting that scarf on their head voluntarily, they haven't been properly enlightened. After all, this is the twenty-first century. We've long since left such archaic traditions behind; now women can wear what they want!

But on that second hand (can't forget the second hand, by far the more irritating of the two), hijabi women, they're so hypocritical. Can't you see that wisp of hair peeking out from underneath the scarf? And her shirt is so short! Not as short as mine, but still, it only goes halfway past her butt. Can you believe it?

Yes, yes I can. And I have a message for all of you, so listen up, because I'm only going to say this once.


Those of you who aren't Muslim and don't understand why we do it: We would love to sit down and explain it to you, or not, as you choose. But we don't judge your taste in clothing (or lack thereof) or your religious beliefs (ditto), and we'd really appreciate it if you didn't judge ours. We don't need your women's lib organizations staging an intervention on our behalf. We're fine. Really.

Those of you who are Muslim and wear hijab yourselves: You should know better.

And those of you who are Muslim and don't wear hijab yourselves: Exactly where is that leg you're standing on? If a hijabi woman bent down to pick something up instead of squatting (and the squatting rule applies to all women, thanks), I don't want to hear your horrified shock as you stand there talking to me in your short lacy sleeves and exposed head. Until you've gone through it, through the comments, and the staring, and the coveting of something beautiful you can never wear because it cuts just a little low or a tad too tight, I don't want to hear it. When you've made the effort yourself, I might care what you think about another woman's hijab... but I don't really think so because that's between her and God.

Sometimes a hijabi can use some guidance. We welcome that. It's like when I was sixteen years old, facing my high school graduation, and wanting desperately to fit in when I walked across that stage. I wanted to find some way around the hijab, some other way to cover my head, possibly by tucking my hair into the hat. (I tried it, but my head is so abnormally huge I had to get an extra large hat, and even then there was no room for the hair.) My mother said I could do whatever I wanted — wear it, not wear it — but that I should remember it was the decisions I made in times like this that really mattered. I wore it. The other hijabi who graduated didn't. All that meant was that I had the direction I needed; perhaps she didn't, but what she certainly didn't need was the resulting chatter throughtout the entire religious community. Guidance is not the same thing as judgement. Or criticism. Or gossip.

You non-hijabi Muslims understand why we cover, you don't do it, yet you're completely nonplussed about excoriating a hijabi's attire, even one unknown to you. Hello, pot. Meet the kettle.

And finally, to those of you, Muslim and non-Muslim, hijabi and non-hijabi, who stand beside us and support us every day, who fight for our right to wear what we want where we want, who understand when we slip up, and who see the person before the hijab: Thank you so much. You have no idea the strength you give us

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