A large number of Muslim men who advocate for women’s right to wear the hijab do not actually think of the hijab as a right. They are not fighting for the Muslim woman’s right to self-determination and freedom of choice.
We know that forceful penetration is rape. But what does one call a forced handshake? A forced hug? Or a forced kiss? In my opinion, unwillingness is the common denominator regardless of the action. And as such, it is just as shameful, as debasing and as ugly as rape.
if she pays no mind to fancy dressing. Then, she has liberated herself from the shallow needs of regular girls and is now on par with her male counterparts. This sentiment has given us oxymoronic slogans like “substance over beauty” and “beauty and brains” and “not like other girls”.
But why do non-Muslim feminists in the West have such a hard time connecting the dots between Muslim women’s struggle to wear what they want, whether that be a hijab on a run or a burkini to swim, and Great Britain’s Paralympian Olivia Breen’s fight to wear the length of shorts that make her feel comfortable during her long jump.
The position of being held to the highest moral and social standards comes with a singular pitfall: women are afforded little to no grace in the catastrophic event that they make mistakes.
The way women are treated across the Muslim world; the way sons see their fathers dominate their mothers, and the way scholars and imams regurgitate age-old ideas of women’s positions in life are all things that not only need unlearning but clear accessible actions.
I remember my father telling me that I must not see the world from the perspective of a man, but from my own perspective which will only develop once I venture out into the world.
In the exercise of individual ‘choice’, ‘freedom’ and ‘agency’, this new image of the neoliberal female subject has become an autonomous consuming subject, for even while loving our bodies, we need to ask ourselves whether patriarchy and capitalism have a right to profit from it?
We don’t need men explaining the concept of equality to us. Women are not a group of dumb, confused individuals who have no sense of what they’re talking about and no idea of what they want. When we demand gender equality, we are demanding that irrespective of differences, the intrinsic equality of all human beings be recognised.
It is okay for me to change my views as I grow and develop from an impressionable, fearful girl into a self-assured young woman. My strength of faith is not and will not be defined by how I choose to dress. If anything, it is a reflection on your behalf if you judge me based on the amount of hair on my head that is showing.