So I want to preface this post by saying that this isn’t going to be particularly articulate. Nor is this post an article – and it definitely has Islamic content, but no Islamic scholarship. This post is purely and simply an outlet for something that has been bugging me. And since I’ve got nowhere else to put this anger, I’m sharing it with the world – right here on this blog.
For me, hijab is a lot of things. First and foremost it is a reflection of my personal modesty, a personal modesty that I take up purely because Allah has commanded me to. I suppose after that, it is about self-identification and then identification as a Muslim to the outside world. It is also about how I want to express my spirituality and how I feel about my relationship with Allah.
But what I want to talk about right now is how hijab for me is such a height of femininity. This is not to take away from those who do not wear it, this is purely about me. I feel like hijab, veils, head-wraps, saris, head-dresses and more – all of these are such a beautiful expression and adornment of feminine beauty. This is a kind of female beauty that is world-wide and seen across many different cultures and religions. It is a way of expressing the epitome of all that is feminine without that having to be a sexual thing. Subhanallah, I probably can’t even describe properly how beautifully feminine hijab is, how intrinsically and how simply and strongly feminine it is. Just trust me that it is.
Inter-linked with this notion that hijab is a great way to express femininity without sexualising the female, is the counterpart to that, the role that men have been given by Allah, as expressed through Islam. So how do men express their height of masculinity, the counterpart to my femininity, without it becoming a sexual thing? What are the rules and regulations of our interaction as two sides to the human state of being?
Late last year there was an incident, hanging out with a group of male Muslim friends and a Muslimah (one of the brother’s wife) when one of the brother’s said something bawdy. The married brother said, “uhhhhhh, there are sisters present”, to which the brother apologised to the other Muslimah and then (from memory he was prompted and responded with) “Eugenia, oh no need to worry, she’s one of the guys”.
This experience really prompted the realisation that I have been mixing with some men, that perhaps (I don’t know because I can’t see in to their hearts, but this is how it seems to me) have, in their efforts to be good Muslim men and de-sexualise me, have also de-feminised me. To me (and I’m no scholar here, so correct me if I am wrong), this just seems completely wrong, because as my hijab indicates, I am a female who has the right to be treated as such. This means, I should not be treated like “one of the boys”, I should not have to listen to bawdy conversation and I should not have to be subjected to such behaviour…and here we perhaps hit the real issue, I think I should be afforded a real marriage from a strong masculine Muslim man who knows how to bring out my femininity and respond to that appropriately and as the counterpart to that.
Self-conscious as I feel, I’m still going to post this. I am a Muslimah who is well-educated, I’m opinionated, I like to think I am accomplished, I like Hip Hop and Rap music, I have a successful career and I love politics, hard-core thoughts and direct action. The really sensitive part of me feels like this makes people view me as masculine and perhaps that is why I get treated this way. The extra-sensitive part of me goes “this is why I continue to go unmarried” – viewed as unmarriagable by those men who are simply just not masculine enough to respond to the strength of my personal type of femininity. Sure, it may not be typical or it may not be like the other types of feminine that other Muslimahs put out there, BUT it is most definitely feminine.
At any rate, this post was just kind of a rant. One to remind people that I am not one of the boys (sometimes I get sick of being the only female in discussions, or having to constantly debate, share and engage in critical thought with mostly men). Two to let you all know that I will never again allow myself to be treated as a non-female, just because someone got lost on their way to de-sexualising me. Three to just get some anger out of my life.
Now let’s all hope and pray I never have to mention this again!
Oh and P.S. – who wants to bet on how long before I get all self-conscious and take this post down??? haha!