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 Why Do I Wear Hijab?

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Date d'inscription : 03/09/2008

MessageSujet: Why Do I Wear Hijab?   Mar 11 Aoû - 1:30

Why Do I Wear Hijab?


Description: A Muslim woman explains why she has chosen to wear the Hijab, not out of repression, but liberation.
BY Sultana Yusufali

I
probably do not fit into the preconceived notion of a “rebel”. I have
no visible tattoos and minimal piercing. I do not possess a leather
jacket. In fact, when most people look at me, their first thought
usually is something along the lines of “oppressed female.” The brave
individuals who have mustered the courage to ask me about the way I
dress usually have questions like: “Do your parents make you wear
that?” or “Don’t you find that really unfair?”
A
while back, a couple of girls in Montreal were kicked out of school for
dressing like I do. It seems strange that a little piece of cloth
would make for such controversy. Perhaps the fear is that I am
harboring an Uzi underneath it! Of course, the issue at hand is more
than a mere piece of cloth. I am a Muslim woman who, like millions of
other Muslim women across the globe, chooses to wear the hijab. And
the concept of the hijab, contrary to popular opinion, is actually one
of the most fundamental aspects of female empowerment.
When
I cover myself, I make it virtually impossible for people to judge me
according to the way I look. I cannot be categorized because of my
attractiveness or lack thereof.
Compare
this to life in today’s society: We are constantly sizing one another
up on the basis of our clothing, jewelry, hair and makeup. What kind
of depth can there be in a world like this? Yes, I have a body, a
physical manifestation upon this Earth. But it is the vessel of an
intelligent mind and a strong spirit. It is not for the beholder to
leer at or to use in advertisements to sell everything from beer to
cars!
Because
of the superficiality of the world in which we live, external
appearances are so stressed that the value of the individual counts for
almost nothing. It is a myth that women in today’s society are
liberated! What kind of freedom can there be when a woman can not walk
down the street without every aspect of her physical self being
“checked out”?
When
I wear the hijab I feel safe from all of this. I can rest assured that
no one is looking at me and making assumptions about my character from
the length of my skirt. There is a barrier between me and those who
would exploit me. I am first and foremost a human being, equal to any
man, and not vulnerable because of my sexuality.
One
of the saddest truths of our time is the question of the beauty myth
and female self-image. Reading popular teenage magazines, you can
instantly find out what kind of body image is “in” or “out.” and if
you have the “wrong” body type, well, then, you’re just going to have
to change it, aren’t you? After all, there is no way that you can be
overweight and still be beautiful.
Look
at any advertisement. Is a woman being used to sell the product? How
old is she? How attractive is she? What is she wearing? More often
than not, that woman will be no older than her early 20s, taller,
slimmer and more attractive than average, dressed in skimpy clothing.
Why do we allow ourselves to be manipulated like this?
Whether
the 90s woman wishes to believe it or not, she is being forced into a
mold. She is being coerced into selling herself, into compromising
herself. This is why we have 13-year-old girls sticking their fingers
down their throats and overweight adolescents hanging themselves.
When
people ask me if I feel oppressed, I can honestly say no. I made this
decision out of my own free will. I like the fact that I am taking
control of the way other people perceive me. I enjoy the fact that I
don’t give anyone anything to look at and that I have released myself
from the bondage of the swinging pendulum of the fashion industry and
other institutions that exploit females.
My
body is my own business. Nobody can tell me how I should look or
whether or not I am beautiful. I know that there is more to me than
that. I am also able to say “no” comfortably then people ask me if I
feel as though my sexuality is being repressed. I have taken control
of my sexuality. I am thankful I will never have to suffer the fate of
trying to lose/gain weight or trying to find the exact lipstick shade
that will go with my skin color. I have made choices about what my
priorities are and these are not among them.
So
next time you see me, don’t look at me sympathetically. I am not under
duress or a male-worshipping female captive from those barbarous Arabic
deserts! I’ve been liberated.
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