I read an article on medium, I’m tired of hijab from a lady who seems to be sick of the hijab taking over her life. Or rather, all the important conversations in her life leaving her own personal identity out in the cold.
She has written other articles on the matter, all of them carrying the same tone. Frustration, annoyance, even outright rage. I can not say that I can being to understand the sentiment, only rather I would like to talk about it.
Choice or Oppression
In her own words she says:
I was not forced to wear the veil. I did it out of my own free will, after research and debate and thinking and eventually believing that it was a required part of my faith.
It’s not all sunshine and rainbows. We do know of various parts of the world where the hijab is a tool for oppression, forcefully applied to all women as a matter of religious necessity. Be as it may, the hijab is a tricky part of the religion.
That is the sad reality of hijab. I don’t hear the same arguments being made for nuns. But then again, nuns chose to devote themselves to chastity and service of God. I don’t understand why God would ask for such chastity, wouldn’t the whole human race die out if everyone was a nun or priest? But I digress.
In my personal opinion, it is a matter of choice, but then again what do I know about religion?
The main point of the matter was the choice of wearing the hijab. We are sadly not talking about those who are forced into it, we will discuss that at a later stage sometime. Ignorant arguments can paint a whole culture, or religion with broad strokes of ‘they are all ignorant and backward.’
But such arguments fail to consider the matter of choice. A choice for the woman herself, not her husband or her father or mother or anyone else for that matter. If someone chooses to do something of their own free will, don’t they have that right?
I might discuss the oppression side of things at a later stage, but for the purposes of this post, I am sticking to the matter at hand, the choice aspect of it.
Hijab defines everything
The main sticking point for the lady in question, and rather most women, is how the hijab defines all the conversation. Achievements and acommplishments are clouded by this piece of cloth. Yes all achievements are great, and if someone else did them they would be fine, but when a woman wearing the hijab accompalishes something, it’s great, it’s amazing! She had to have been extraordinary to have risen beyond this veil, beyond this pile of ignorant dung to have done something.
A while back on all forms of social media we had some images circulating of a female fighter pilot who was a hijabi. Good for her as a person. Not good for her as a woman, not good for her as a muslim woman, or hijabi woman. But good for her as person. Period.
I don’t think we need to go further than that. And as great as you might think something like that is, it’s not. It is something that should just be. Why can’t a person be a fighter pilot if they want to be? A woman? A muslim hijabi woman?
At the end of the day they are all adjectives. Just like you may be a brown/white/black/asian/(insert ethnicity here) liberal, modern(what you tell yourself to be greater than the backward, ignorant filth of the world) man/woman lawyer/doctor/(insert occupation here).
Let’s try to fix the problem where it actually lies, the actual oppression in parts of the world. Not just blanket spout nonsense on everyone.
I have personally been part of this nonsense myself. Back in high school there was a girl who wore the head scarf. But otherwise her dress left little to the imagination. I once asked her why she even wore it in the first place. Her response, though not entirely similar, left a lasting impression. She chose it because her family insisted she wear one, and instead of letting that create a problem for her family life she decided to wear a scarf, but she chose not to let the scarf alone define her. And rightfully, that was her choise. I forget that person’s name over the years, but thank you, for opening my eyes, even if a little.
Why would a hijabi feel this way?
I know you are only trying to enlighten them to the modern ways of the world. Why are they resisting enlightenment?
If you are still asking this question, ask your nearest relative who has chosen a hijab? They might articulate it better. Or read the original linked article again.
And I can’t wait for the day when the veil (queue scary music) is looked at as what it is: a piece of fabric. You don’t need to understand what it means to me, why I wear it, or how I stand the heat. You just need to respect my decision to wear it.
You can follow the author or shout at him on Twitter