237: THE HIJAB: just for modesty, or a symbol of oppression?

“A very warm welcome to the Zingcreed blog, where I think aloud about religion today. You are welcome to eavesdrop on my thoughts and your comments would be most welcome. You can use the Comment box at the end of each Post for this. Negative reactions will be as welcome as positive ones (Honest!)” Peter Turner, M.A., M.Sc.

Are some moslem women forced to cover up because their menfolk command them to? Or is this just an assertion of feminine modesty in the face of male aggression and comments in society today?

I am not qualified to answer this question. I would merely like to offer a few observations, based on my own travels and on things I have seen on Al Jazeera, my fave TV channel (top equal with RT).

  • I saw 2 kids in hijabs in Selfridges’ hat department trying on ladies hats over their head scarves and giggling hysterically – they were having a whale of a time
  • Imagine a leather clad biker taking off her full face motorcycle helmet to reveal a hijab underneath
  • I saw a traffic cop in KL in a dayglo yellow tabard, black pants and a black hijab
  • I have noticed that London schoolgirls I have taught sometimes have designer hijabs bearing such logos as YSL and Dior
  • One young woman in the mid West saying “I’m fed up of stereotyped views of moslem women. I make a point of breaking one of these  stereotypes every day.”
  • It is noticable the lack of uniformity in hijab design: just compare what you see in a metropolis like London alone. Nigeria, the Emirates, Malaysia, Somalia, Indonesia, Pakistan etc – they’re all quite different in style
  • I have seen groups of young moslem schoolgirls all wearing white hijabs as part of their school uniforms
  • After years in the hijab, some moslem women switch back to free flowing hair, often tinted and stylish (though who’s to say it isn’t the same under the hijabs?)
  • I have noticed that sometimes some hair is showing below the hem of the hijab at the back
  • From the plane window at KL airport I saw a woman worker on the apron dressed in a red jump suit, heavy gloves and yellow ear protectors over a black hijab
  • Imagine a model skate-boarding in high-heels and a hijab
  • When in Malaysia last week I saw a great variety of colours, no two seemed to be the same. All were neatly ironed and skillfully secured around the face
  • Imagine a photographic model climbing up on a monument to pose next to a statue, in her hijab
  • I gather some top designers in the East are  really producing trendy shalwa camisas as well as hijabs and scarfs
  • Again in Malaysia I saw a woman construction worker up some scaffolding wearing a hijab

A thought: no-one says women in non-moslem countries who wear headscarves are doing so as protection against predatory males. From the Caribbean to the Balkans, from the Steppes to South Africa, women working outdoors wear a head scarf to keep the sun off and to keep the dust out of their hair.

Just mulling things over…..

Related Zingcreed Posts:
Zingcreed on Ramadan
I love Syria
549: Faith can be bad for your health #7: Hijabs in hospital

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