They see the scarf on my head and they see oppression. They see me covering my hair and wearing loose clothing to hide the shape and figure of my body and they wonder how can I possibly be happy clothing myself this way. They see misogyny. Her husband must have forced her, they think to themselves. They see men’s orders and power over women. Unveil yourself, they say, show your beauty! Because the only way to have your value recognised is to show your beauty?
Beauty – the standards of which are dictated by the society we live in. Beauty standards which affect the mental wellbeing of many individuals. Beauty standards which have caused eating disorders to increase in prevalence in women, men and even in children as young as 9. These beauty standards which affect people’s self-esteem and instigates bullying towards people who do not conform to the specific expectations of beauty. Beauty standards which exclude individuals from minority backgrounds, different races and ethnicities.
These are the beauty standards which I happily choose to disregard and take no part in.
I see the scarf on my head and I see an ordainment from my Lord. I see a shield and protection for me. I see empowerment, liberation and freedom. I see my own choice and my own intentions and beliefs being fulfilled. I choose to cover my hair and dress modestly to veil my beauty which I choose only to share with my husband. I do not want society to judge me and value me on the basis of how beautiful I am by their standards, or by how on trend I am with the latest fashions. Value me for my opinions and how I contribute to society. Listen to me because I have a voice and not because I may or may not be beautiful.
They see Muslim women covering their beauty and they say let us help you, you are oppressed, don’t you see?!
How oppressive to be told that your own beliefs, values and opinions are irrelevant. I am not oppressed because I wear hijab, the only oppression I experience comes from non-Muslims telling me I am oppressed.
They see Muslim women covering their beauty and they don’t see individuals, they don’t see people. They don’t see personalities with different likes and dislikes. They don’t see strong, powerful women who are intelligent and bold. That’s what I see.