Monday, August 11, 2008

What I'm Not

If you don't already, I'd suggest you read the comments that are left at the end of some of my posts. They are often full of more tips and insight into the world of hijab. Also, there are links to other blogs.

I had a random thought the other day. I've said before that the idea of hijab as a way to "hide a woman's beauty," doesn't sound completely accurate to me. I think hijab should be thought of as more of a way to "hide/protect a woman's sexuality." That's why hijab can be applied to both men and women because both need to protect their sexuality and not just flaunt it to strangers. Beauty is a more natural thing that often can not be hidden behind hijab. It is sexuality which is often played up & abused and leads to corruption. A woman can wear head to toe burqa but if the wind passes by, her figure can be shown--but that is a natural beauty and one she can not hide. But a woman wearing skin-tight, skin exposing clothing is showing off her figure on purpose which is something that requires one to ask: Why? For young girls who naturally have attractive figures, it is very tempting to throw on a tight, trendy t-shirt and feel good in her young self, highlight and straigten her silky hair---I don't blame her really. I've been there. But that's where hijab, or even just the headscarf comes in. It's a way to temper that temptation and keep some boundaries in a world that makes it so easy to let it all hang out. And that's also why I think the blogs devoted to looking stylish with hijab are fine as long as there is a line because I think there is a difference between looking stylish, fashionable, beautiful and looking sexy, sensual, sexual. Anyway, everyone has his/her own view of modesty--this is just my random, rambling thought.

Hmm... I need to keep a baseball cap in my car. That way, if (when) I ever have another anxiety attack [ which is what happened the other day when I went to this one store alone on a bright, hot day. I noticed a lot of single young people (mostly men) entering and leaving the store. I would describe the area as "ghetto," which I've noticed often has more young men talk to or randomly commenting on strangers as opposed to a fancy smancy store full of old ladies. Now if I had been wearing something tight and "sexy," I would have had the same type of anxiety. I was all covered up in my mommy clothes, but the headscarf was causing me anxiety as well, so I let it off of my head half-way to feel less of a target for attention)] that causes me to take my scarf down like I did on July 4 (see post: "Said It All,") I can at least put on a cap and maybe just wrap the scarf around my neck. Of course that is not full hijab, but at least it's something better than nothing. A cap with a scarf on the neck would look odd, but I don't have a problem looking odd (most of the time). I just feel vulnerable (i.e. a target for unwanted, negative attention) at times looking..."foreign," or like a fish out of water, which is how I feel sometimes, walking into certain areas alone with headscarf wrapped Muslim-style. I don't mind looking alternative because that's what I am, but I do mind looking foreign because that's what I'm not. Anyway, the first thing I think of on those days where I do the half-hijab is this blog. I think, how can I write a blog about wearing a headscarf when I don't wear one today! Well, it's all part of the struggle for me. So I'm still here.


Aisha La Estudiante said...

Sallam Sis,

The ghetto has always seemed like a decent place to wear hijab. I've honestly hardly ever felt discriminated against by african americans because nearly everyone has a Muslim family member or knows someone NOI or otherwise.
Anxiety on the other hand, would make one uncomfy anywhere. Keep that hat nearby or a hoodie... it's an easyalternative. Sometimes being non-descriptive is way better... I like being one of the hijabis, we have a great sisterhood... but in the ghetto or anywhere keeping it on the DL is an easy way to go.

erica aisha

Anonymous said...

The first part is so true, I agree with you.

Jamerican Muslimah said...

You know, I really hate the hijab explanations that make it all about men and hiding from men. As you mentioned it's about modesty, containing the sexuality. Toning it down, if you will. More than anything, I see it as being part of a religious tradition of modesty (that did not start with Islam as we know it today.) I also think hijab exists in behavior not just in a scarf; confidence but not arrogance. Modesty and humility but not shame. And so on...

I have to agree with Aisha, I don't have as much of a problem in the hood wearing hijab. People either ignore it or respect it. The only issue may be that some people associate me with the Arabs and Pakistanis who run the corner stores in the hood and are basically exploiting the people. But that's another subject...

Anonymous said...

Hello - I am working on a textbook an interested in using the illustration of the "video game-like character" wearing the hijab that can be found on the right side of your blog. can you please email me with the sourse information?


Aisha La Estudiante said...

Sallam Sis,

While cruising by again, this post reminded me of a cute few pics of the Persian Female Archer in the Olympics which I just blogged about a bit. I put up a few adorable pics of her... I could envision you on that modified style. My hats tend to be more cute and JLo cap-ish or vintage... but the idea makes me want a few plain colored baseball caps... I know I have one left somewhere from my time on an ambulance. When I was an EMT in the Bay Area Cali. They wouldn't let me where hijab for a few yrs.. so I settled for a navy matching baseball cap and a hair snood (lunch lady style kinda, or small triangle scarf tied backwards/ Rosie the Riveter style).


Scarf Ace said...

aisha and jamerica--thank you for your comments. i agree with you about the "ghetto/hood" being a safe place for hijabis in general, but i think i'll try to clarify why i felt the anxiety in a future post. inshaaAllah.

hijabblog: i'm glad u agree! :-)

jamerica, i agree, i cringe at the idea that hijab is just a way for women to "hide from men."

aisha, i just checked out the olympian post u did--very cute!