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Should All Women Wear Hijabs? Or Should We All Fit Society's Norm?

by Amanda Zeidan 4 years ago in feminism

A Muslim woman chimes in.

Enjoying the view in Jerusalem 

In 2018 you would think that women could choose how to dress, yet society continues to tell us what is OK and not OK to wear. Walking down the street you hear men making comments about the girl wearing the mini skirt, cat calls or insults, she is labeled one way or anything. Older generations telling her to cover up while peers tell her to wear less, voicing her right to dress as she wants.

However, when a woman in a hijab walks by, the same girl turns her head talking about how oppressed the woman is covering herself that way. Telling her to take that off, she lives in a free country and doesn't need to wear that anymore. Does she understand that the woman in the hijab wears it proudly? Will she ever understand that her comments are oppressive and the hijab is empowering to the other woman?

I am an American Muslim. I proudly wear a hijab. My hijab is a part of me. It is a piece of my story and my modesty, a choice made between God and I. I used to be that girl wearing less and trying to fit in with society's norm. I used to be the women telling others to take off their hijab. I may not have voiced it, but in my head I screamed it loudly. This was before I found myself and found more respect for myself than I ever knew.

The looks I get, the judgement I receive, and the hate I hear all because of the way I dress would astound others. But why do I wear a hijab? How does it empower me? And what would I love to tell that girl in the miniskirt?

My hijab protects me from others and from myself as well as social ills. My beauty is not in the amount of skin I show, nor in the hours put into making sure every hair is perfectly in place. I can be comfortable in myself and know that my value is not judged by the beauty standards of society, but on the beauty of my heart and soul. My hijab holds fast my modesty, it reminds me and honors my commitment to God and to carrying myself with pride and decency. It empowers me because of all the above and so much more that words can not describe it. A woman who once worried so much about her appearance, wanting others to look at her and tell her she was beautiful all, because I didn't feel it myself. I judged myself according to those around me that looked better in the same type of clothes. My hijab and dress now remind me that there are more important things than looking the best, being the most in shape, and getting the attention of the opposite gender. I gained more value for myself because I followed my faith and the teachings of God. It was a choice I had to make on my own. One that nobody could help me make. It was a choice between my Creator and I.

I want to tell that girl in the miniskirt that she chooses her dress. To not dress this way because of society norms or to impress others. How many times had she went shopping only to stand in the mirror doubting herself and running herself down in her thoughts? Dress for yourself. Be comfortable in your body. Proudly go out without worrying about not being good enough. Don't let anyone tell you that you have to show more skin to be more valued. This attitude does not equate to value. Value is your definition and only you hold the ability to make it count more. Those cat calls may sound good when the voice is attached to a handsome face, but does it mean he will respect you? Look at your past, failed relationships; did they value you more because you showed less? Being objectified is more oppressive and degrading than any piece of cloth I cover my head with.

Wearing a hijab is a personal choice. Wearing a mini skirt is a personal choice. I cannot say that you should do either one; this is each and every woman's personal choice, and nobody has the right to make that choice for her. This is your choice alone. You have to figure out which, or somewhere between, is best for you and your life. Be happy in your appearance. The way we carry ourselves is our choice. You are the only one who can decide this. My hope is that one day, all women feel the empowerment that I do, however they choose to find it.


Amanda Zeidan

Read next: 15 Things You Are Sick of Hearing When You Don't Want Kids

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