Let’s get one thing straight – we Muslim women are more than capable of looking after ourselves.
Those who are facing injustice stand up for themselves, and those who cannot, are defended by other Muslims. And sure, I believe that we are one people, one humankind, so it is only reasonable that when no one else has come to her aid, a Muslim woman will be defended by others, no matter who they are.
However, I absolutely refuse the ‘help’ that old, cranky, out of touch, racist, privileged, unenlightened, xenophobic, men wish to provide by legally mandating that I can no longer cover myself. And the women who do the same? I’ll get to them later.
I refuse to be labelled as part of a weak minority, totally incapable of speaking up. Totally incapable of knowing what I want. Needing to literally be stripped of a piece of a cloth that covers my body the way I want it to be covered. Needing to be rescued. I don’t need your help. So sit down; you don’t own my voice..
I refuse to be stripped down with every other Muslim woman who wears a hijab or niqab – stripped of my personality, my strength, my dreams, my intelligence, my beliefs, my desires, my culture, my family, my upbringing – stripped of literally everything I am and melted in with every other Muslim woman, only to be labelled as a stupid slave, incapable of caring for myself, unaware of the chains that bind me. Unaware of my own oppression.
Let me, as eloquently as possible, tell you to kindly fuck off.
Let’s get another thing straight – Muslims make up approximately TWENTY-THREE PERCENT OF ALL OF HUMANITY AND COUNTING. If we assume that 50% of those are women; you’re telling me that 11% of the world’s population is completely moronic and does not realise that it is enslaved? We are not a minority.
840 million of us. A population over 3 times that of the USA is completely stupid.
But of course we are! We’re women, after all. All we know about is kitchens and periods.
Let’s break down this silly conversation, one step at a time.
I do not understand this desire that people have to remove a woman’s hijab. In fact, they’re so confused about why they want to do it that they don’t even know what to call it. A veil. A scarf. They’re so sincere in their effort to liberate a Muslim woman that they don’t even know what they are liberating her from.
So let us clarify what we are talking about here.
Muslim women will cover up for a number of different reasons.But there are different ways to do it.
- Burqa is a full face covering which includes the covering the eyes.
- Niqab covers the entire face but the eyes are visible.
- Hijab is a generalised term for a head covering that falls over one’s hair and neck but does not cover the face.
- Chador is an outer covering worn by Iranian women.
I can accept that the burqa and niqab will be confused with one another by people who are speaking in layman’s terms. But those kicking and screaming about banning either need to know what they’re talking about.
The fight to ban any of the Islamic head coverings or forms of clothing is couched in many different arguments. Let’s get through some of them.
Muslim women are forced to cover up and need to be liberated.
This one is simple. Uh. No.
A minority of Muslim women may be forced into covering up – there is no denying that. However, this is not a problem caused by Islam. This is a problem caused by men who are pigs. This is a problem caused by a patriarchal society that walks all over women in a manner that disregards the basic Islamic principles regarding the treatment of women.
Forcing these women to take off whichever covering they wear will do nothing to help their plight. It will only make matters worse. Imagine what would happen when women who are forced to cover up when they go out are not allowed to cover up any more. How many trips out of the house do you think they would make? How many beaches would they go to (read more about France’s burkini ban here)?
Instead of trying to strip all Muslim women, we must try to empower them and to teach men what their religion says about the treatment of women. Unfortunately, the same way in which anti-rape advertising is focused on telling women to ‘prevent’ their own rape instead of telling men to stop being pathetic, sorry excuses for human beings; the world is telling Muslim women – all Muslim women – to take off their religious attire because some men like to use it for control.
Some men like to use vaginas for control. BAN ALL VAGINAS.
By covering your face, you pose a security threat. How do I know who you are?
Alright, fair enough. If your face is covered, you are essentially unknown. Herein lies the problem – Muslim women who are covering their faces don’t want to be known by you. They want to be a person and that is all. So when male politicians say that Muslim women shouldn’t cover up because they’re attractive (yes, seriously), they miss the point entirely.
However, in looking at the security threat that exists – there is no evidence that women who choose to wear a niqab are a threat. They’re not running around committing crimes. If needed, women in niqab can show their faces; most will happily show themselves to another woman.
These women are losing their identities. THEY LOSE THEIR FREEDOM.
These women have their freedom, and by banning their religious attire you’re taking away their freedom.
They want full control over who sees their features. Are they full of themselves? Maybe. But why is it okay for a woman like Kim Kardashian to flaunt it by posting pictures of her buttcheeks on Instagram but not for a woman to flaunt it by completely controlling it?
My hijab forms part of my identity. I’ve worn it for over half of my life. I don’t know where I’d be if I was forced to walk around in the streets without it. I literally could not function. I will wear my hijab regardless of what anyone says. It’s just not coming off. Consider it an extra limb.
Removing your hijab will help you become more accepted/integrated in society. We RESPECT our women.
This is probably the most laughable part of the whole thing. Let’s pretend that I did take off my hijab; that all Muslim women did. That we did start dressing like everyone else.
Is it going to prevent people trying to dictate what we wear?
No matter what we women do, no matter how we dress and express our personalities; we will always be doing it wrong; we will always be provocative – whether it’s because we refuse to show our bodies or because we choose to do exactly that.
So when women get on the ‘let’s liberate hijabis by stripping them down’ bandwagon, all they’re doing is feeding a system that tries to dictate every aspect of a woman’s life. It’s a system that takes away our ability to speak for, fend for and live for ourselves. At its core, the divisive nature of women trying to tell other women how to dress is just another way that we feed a system that is built to work against us.
It is a nasty, vindictive creature that results in:
- a pay gap of 16.2% in Australia.
- over 12 months, on average, one woman being killed every week as a result of intimate partner violence.
- one in three women experiencing physical and/or sexual violence perpetrated by someone known to them.
- the cost of violence against women to the Australian economy is estimated to rise to $15.6 billion per annum.
- one in five women experiencing harassment within the workplace and being stalked during her lifetime.
- women being under-represented in so many fields.
So that’s enough, society. I don’t need you to look after me. I will be fine as long as you stop trying to undress me against my will.
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I just read a fascinating article on the Guardian https://www.theguardian.com/world/2016/sep/01/muslim-women-veil-integrate-study
This is so thought provoking- great read! x
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I’m opposed to a state mandated ban too. I mean, what business does the government have over how people dress? I think many people don’t realize than any modesty standard is cultural and pretty arbitrary. There’s no solid right or wrong universally. In Western culture, a woman’s chest, especially her breasts are covered as uncovered like a males chest is considered indecent. In some African cultures, it is perfectly acceptable, but other parts are indecent that are not over here. Should a culture that does not see women’s breasts as indecent to expose in public ban Western women from wearing shirts? Are Western women “oppressed” since they can’t go topless like a man can? I see the hijab issue the same way. If one’s culture dictates that a woman’s hair should not be seen, how is it any different from the line we draw at seeing a woman’s exposed breast? I accept different cultures think differently and it’s okay. To judge one as misinformed through the eyes of your own culture is mistaken. I think the women who support the hijab ban should think what it would be like to have to expose their breasts to the world from then on too! I don’t decry women from other cultures who expose more than what is acceptable over here, nor women who cover more than what we would either ❤
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