I am a Muslim Woman
That statement can cause quite the reaction. Sometimes good, sometimes bad. Sometimes people look at me, in my hijab (head scarf) and I see pity, other times, I see anger. I want people to know something important. I chose to wear my hijab. In fact, I fought with my husband about it. He didn't want me to.
Yes. You read that right. My husband tried to talk me OUT of wearing it. I did it anyway.
I started wearing my hijab almost 13 years ago. I was 21. When my mom first saw me in it, she cried. It was like the final step - to go from being a non-practicing Christian who converted to Islam was one thing...but for her to see me "all Islamed up" was another. I think she mourned the loss of what she'd hoped for me.
But...fastforward 13 years - my hijab has not stopped me from achieving anything. It hasn't presented any obstacles (I still go to the health club, I still swim - yes, in a burkini) and I am educated, articulate and have pride in my abilities.
The funny thing is - when I started wearing my hijab and even until this very day - the reaction that I get from men (Muslim or not) astonishes me. Before, they used to look (openly or otherwise) at my chest. They would give my that head-to-toe size up. I was looked AT. I was talked AT. After hijab - men will hold open doors for me. They look into my eyes when they speak to me. They are polite - there is no unecessary touches of the arms, shoulders - or worse, my butt. Now, I am seen rather than looked at. I am spoken to and heard.
Ironically, it's the woman who's eyes fill with pity or sorrow. I think that this is mainly due to what is seen in the media. Sure, there are countries (and some people) who will take cultural practices and backwards thinking and then use Islam as a way to control their women. But that is not the case with me. It's not the case, in fact, with anyone that I know. And why? Why is there an issue with a Muslim woman in hijab? No one seems to have issues with Nuns who wear a Habit, or Orthadox Jewish woman covering her head...so why can't I do it without your glares?
To help fight this, my friends and I put together a video...check it out.