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From Slut Walk to Hijab: Expressions of Feminism

Hijab

What does it mean to be a feminist? That question alone has seemed to fill more volumes and articles than trees available to produce paper in some parts of the world. For some it is the ability to express and even flaunt the female figure, for others it is equal pay in society, and for others it is the freedom to choose from abortions to family decisions without male intervention or even presence.

I am a male and have little to say about the movement of the woman inside of feminism other than to say it is absolutely absurd that women who are a majority in number are yet treated as a minority in practice. All I can offer is an observation and a defense of women’s rights where injustice and/or abuse is happening.

With that said, there is also a continuous debate on the status of Muslim women. The covering seems to demean their bodies by hiding them from men. Their status in the community seems relegated to baby making and following orders from their husbands. But is this so for all Muslim women even if it may be true for some? What if choosing to fill those roles or even to dress as traditional Muslim women do is one of the most radical feminist statements a woman can make in a free country?

Sure the hijab was not the only way to express my feelings and frustrations; but knowing that our interpretation of liberal culture embraces, if not encourages, uncovering, I decided to reject what society expected me to do, and cover up.

This is more radical than the myth of bra burning in the 60’s and a very different way of responding to the same constellation of problems as the Slut Walk. I do wonder if many in the liberal feminist movement will dismiss this kind of protest and reclamation of the female image as being non-feminist or even post-feminist.

I do not believe that the hair in itself is that important; this is not about protection from men’s lusts. It is me telling the world that my femininity is not available for public consumption. I am taking control of it, and I don’t want to be part of a system that reduces and demeans women. Behind this exterior I am a person – and it is this person for which I want to be known.

What do you think? I am interested to hear from women here.

via The hijab has liberated me from society’s expectations of women | Nadiya Takolia | Comment is free | guardian.co.uk.

About Andrew Tatusko

Secularization, critical pedagogy, sometimes agnostic, politics, and a ton of running. Penn State is definitely not responsible for what I say.

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