For a long while, I was struggling to understand the phenomenon of the turban hijab. I can somewhat understand its gain in popularity – fashion icons, celebrities, companies repackaging the ‘traditional Muslim headgear’ into something that’s more ‘modern’, digestible and acceptable to the masses, but I cannot understand the prevalence of it in terms of it being the normalized representation of the Modern Muslim Woman. The obsession of adapting it, the okaying of it in ‘modern’ context. I feel that this failure to truly diversify the image of Muslim women in general unknowingly creates a divide between the Traditional (therefore not progressive and oppressed) and Modern (therefore progressive and not oppressed). And the unspoken pressure about having to look good and desirable and sometimes compromising our faith’s modesty standards despite being in a hijab, is as though the hijab itself reduces the Muslim women’s beauty and intelligence.
As mentioned in the article, this is not to assume the religiosity of Muslim women in this kind of headgear – it’s just a question of representation and how true it actually is and to really think about how we have been represented. Are we more successful and modern now that we are being represented in this certain way? Is it just another way of silencing us ‘traditional’ Muslim women into thinking that we will never be ‘modern’ or ‘progressive’ enough? Will we always be blindly swayed by whatever society dictates?
So thank you, Afia Ahmed, for penning my thoughts into this thoughtful article. Couldn’t have worded it any better. Something to think about?
The reformation of hijab to fit beauty ideals is an exceptionally heart-breaking but very real reality, and though I can’t and won’t judge anyone’s intentions, the public portrayal of these acts is diluting the message of hijab on a severe scale. Why is it that whenever we see hijab anywhere, it’s always portrayed in the context of ‘Muslim fashion’ or ‘breaking stereotypes’? Why is it never spoken about from a context of Islamic values? And God forbid should you try to address this without being marred as a judgemental ‘extremist’ who doesn’t appreciate the struggles of wearing the hijab.
Read the full article by clicking here.