Nadiya Takolia writes in today’s UK Guardian an article entitled, “The hijab has liberated me from society’s expectations of women“.
I’d like to address some of her claims, but first I better make a couple of things clear.
The term “hijab” refers to a head covering worn by Muslim women, in other words its just a fancy scarf, we are not talking about a Burka. For an example, see the picture of the article’s author on the left.
I have no problem with this, people should, and indeed are, free to wear whatever they damn well like, its a personal choice.
So why am I blogging about it? Well basically because some of the claims she is making warrant some comment and should be challenged.
…From perfume and clothes ads to children’s dolls and X Factor finals, you don’t need to go far to see that the woman/sex combination is everywhere.
It makes many of us feel like a pawn in society’s beauty game …
…for me the hijab is political, feminist and empowering
Well, there are a few points to raise regarding this …
- She is judging others by the manner in which they dress and so claims that those who do not dress as she now does to to be reduced and demeaned … really!!! … says who?
- She can choose to wear it or not because she lives in a modern, pluralist democracy. Most of her sisters in theocratic hellholes like Iran and Saudi have no choice at all. I don’t really care how “empowering” she finds it, it’s still a symbol of female oppression in the vast majority of the world.
- The first thoughts that spring to mind when seen by most is “doormat” or “religious fundamentalist”, so in what way is adopting it feminist and empowering?
- She has also clearly said, “I don’t want to be part of a system that reduces and demeans women” … well then, it’s good that she lives in the UK, because within many Islamic societies, women are compelled to wear either a head covering or a face covering, either by their society or their male relatives. If she truly wishes not to be part of a system the reduces and demeans woman then she should seriously consider not adopting the religious symbol of a belief system that does exactly that.
- Claiming that this is a feminist statement is akin to me claiming that a white robe and pointy hood is a multicultural statement.
So as I said, she is quite free to wear whatever she wishes, I’m quite OK with that. What I can’t digest are the associated claims, she should not in any way fool herself into thinking that a religious symbol of female oppression is in any way feminist or empowering. In fact, for women who live in Saudi, not wearing either the hijab or a burka would be truly feminist and empowering.