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.
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.
There is surely something to learn from the power that women can have from being free of the shackles of being an object catering to a man’s every desire. We are not walking fantasies. We are people who should be able to spend our brain cells and precious time pursuing things beyond making our shells look as shiny as possible.
In this world where it sometimes seems that the only thing that matters is whether you’re a nice thing to look at or not, then I don’t want to be a thing to look at. Give me the choice of being the art or the artist, and I’ll choose the artist. Covering myself from head to toe is my liberation from the prying eyes of the public that expect something beautiful in return for the place I demand in the world.
Over time, I found that the questions couldn’t be shushed anymore. Whenever I was around women, these questions would come to me. “Do you ever consider taking it off?” I would ponder. “Now that you are wearing it, how did you get to this stage? Who are you wearing it for?” These questions demanded answers. These are topics we should be able to discuss at great length, but these subjects, whenever brought up in conversations, are met with stark disapproval and resignation, as though they were blasphemy.
It made me think about how many Muslims go through degradation and ridicule in America? Especially post 9/11? I believe what struck me the most was my cousin. I love my cousin, he knows that but what he said first stung a little then confused me. He stated, “Go learn that lesson then take it off ASAP. And make sure they ain’t teaching you how to wrap explosives in that head wrap”.
Wasn’t it both amusing and ridiculous that something as simple as a bicycle could hold that much significance when it came to the virtue of women. I finally said to myself, I’m going to buy a good bicycle someday and I’m going to start cycling.
Conversations around the struggles faced by Muslims every day are …