When I saw the news story, a huge smile appeared on my face. I have issues with the hijab and the way it’s used to oppress women. It’s nice to read a news story about women who are fighting against the oppression in a non-violent, ingenious way.
From the bio:
Featuring ex-hijabis with awesome hairstyles and tattoos and piercings. Ex-hijabis in bikinis and little black dresses and cargo pants and hiking boots. Ex-hijabis who are femme and ex-hijabis who are butch. Ex-hijabis who are women and ex-hijabis who are men. Ex-hijabis topless and legsome and all decked out and minimalistic and with long hair and buzzcuts and everything. EVERYTHING.
The project is run by a woman going by the name, Marwa. Her bio page says this:
I am an ex-Muslim, an apostate, an atheist, an escapee from the Middle East, a victim of both religious-based violence at the hands of my own family and the crushing Western war machine in my homeland,”
I’ve had conversation with Muslim men who say the hijab is a sign of respect. Some have argued that it’s even a sign of reverence.
I find it strange then that none of the men are rushing to wear one. If wearing a bag is a sign of respect, then there must be men who are worthy of the same respect…right?
When I’ve pointed this out to them, I’m usually met with silence.
The article points out another problem I have with the hijab:
The debate over Muslim women’s wardrobe choices is obviously contentious. On the one hand many believe veil customs, and in some cases violently enforced laws, reduce women’s agency. In addition, Marwa contends that “Your body is awesome and not a shame!” In this she directly challenges the beliefs held by many in the Muslim community (and in the more fundamentalist Christian community under a set of ideas broadly described as “modesty culture” and “purity culture”). The set of beliefs include the idea that sex, and by extension women’s bodies, are shameful whenever they are displayed or enjoyed in the “wrong” context.
The veil and modesty and purity culture are also entwined with the idea that men are incapable of respecting women’s bodily agency or controlling their own thoughts if “too much” of a woman’s body is on display. These teachings lead many women to conclude that their bodies are shameful things which need to stay hidden. And they put women in the unenviable position of having full responsibility for maintaining chastity, keeping themselves from being assaulted, and even for what goes on in other people’s minds.
The highlighted part is my doing.
Not only does the hijab oppress women, but I think it shames men as well. It makes the statement that men are worse than animals, and all we need to see is a small bit of uncovered skin for our minds to turn directly towards sex and sometimes even rape.
However, I also don’t agree with people when they say the hijab should be outlawed. I understand why they make that argument, but I also think that to do so makes us no better than the religious authorities that mandate the wearing of the hijab. I would rather try my best to dissuade people from using the hijab than to have it made mandatory that no one can wear it if they wish.
What do you think of the hijab and do you think it should be banned, like it is in France?