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It’s Not About The Headscarf

Written By: Elyse Keelani*

Why is a Muslim woman’s worth symbolized by a headscarf** or the lack thereof?

In Western societies, the lack of a headscarf makes a Muslim woman blend into secular society; whether or not she’s a practicing Muslim is less important. Usually, as long as she looks the part, she is accepted. A lack of a headscarf in the eyes of the West means that she is not oppressed, and that she has found freedom.

its not about the headscarf

However, the West fails to see that their own society confines women also, and that women are treated simply as objects. If a woman wears a bikini on the beach, she’s fine. If a woman wears a bikini on the street, she’s deemed “loose”. If a woman of the right body-type wears a low-cut top, she is seen as sexy; If a heavy woman does the same, she is trashy. There are so many rules to follow, it’s hard to keep up.

“Do I look confident or self-absorbed?” “Do I look strong or do I look overbearing?” “Do I look sexy or do I look slutty?” The lines are drawn according to a woman’s race, body type, socio-economic status, etc. Then a woman might find that the lines are drawn differently in some Western countries, or in some areas of Western countries.

The worth of a woman is often narrowed down to fabric, but that worth was taken away long before anyone saw how she was dressed. Being “Jane” means less opportunity in life, less pay, more risk of being a victim of violence, etc.

Clothing is simply a symbol of how well a woman is fitting into the society that already oppresses her.

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The Many Shades of Modesty

Written by Gracie Lawrence

I see you’re wearing pants today. Good for you. I chose to jazz things up with a shirt and a headscarf to boot. Too much you say?

Modesty means many things

Let’s be honest here, a whopping majority of us (Muslim, Christian, Jewish, Agnostic, or otherwise) do believe in some form of modesty–of course there are those outliers who believe in nothing at all–but I think most of us would agree that those conditions are not always very sanitary.

You don't quilt in the nude? YOU'RE THE PRUDE!
You don’t quilt in the nude?
YOU’RE THE PRUDE!

We women are especially notorious for scrutinizing one another and making harsh judgments, while men generally get a pass from our scrutiny.

Is that dress too low cut for her age? Does she have the body to pull off that outfit?  How can she wear that at a funeral/wedding? … 

Usually, to men, the more naked a woman-the better. Few from this gender do protest from seeing too much. And to those that are on the opposite side of the isle exclaiming that our covering isn’t enough–it isn’t like you will ever stop looking at us regardless of what we wear–lower your gaze, brother. There is no need to call the Haram Police.

While the judgments made between women can be harsh, it is in these critical comments where we decide where we want to draw our own personal modesty line–which helps us decide what amount of coverage makes us feel comfortable ourselves and in the company we keep.

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Top 5 Reasons to Wear a Scarf on World Hijab Day

Top 5 Reasons to Wear a Scarf on World Hijab Day

Written by Gracie Lawrence

In honor of World Hijab Day, coming up this February 1st, I thought it might be fun to list a few reasons why someone might want to participate in this event. (click the link to read all about it and read the experiences of others who have participated in the past.)

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Hijab is a word many Muslims (people who follow the Islamic religion) use when referring the scarf and modest clothing Muslim women wear in religious observance. The goal of hijab is to achieve a modest appearance and let any potential hungry eyes that like to scan the female form know “that this … ain’t happening”.

Actually, there are many reasons Muslim women might wear the hijab, and whether cultural or spiritual, World Hijab Day is a nice opportunity to show a little solidarity with your neighborhood Muslim female who sometimes has to go through a great number of obstacles to continue wearing a symbol she sees as important to herself, to her religion and to her identity.

For a more in depth review on hijab see Hijabology.

Now … introducing … the top 5 reasons to wear a scarf on February 1st: World Hijab Day!

Backpacker-insurance

5. To Increase Your Cultural Cred

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Shops at the Intersection of Hijab and Happening

Shops at the Intersection of Hijab and Happening

Written by Theresa Corbin
shopping

In my new year post, I mentioned something about being on what seemed like and eternal quest to find a long, denim skirt (that wasn’t super schoolmarm-y). Well I have great news for those of you who are in the same boat as I. I found an awesome site that sells a wide variety of denim skirts … Read on to find out 😉

And I thought to myself. Self!? If you- someone of astounding creativity and resourcefulness (you may insert eye roll here)- are having this problem, what other fabulously stylish, Muslim-American women (Be careful not to roll your eyes too much. They may get stuck.) are also having a hard time finding the clothing that suits their original/American aesthetic and their religious/modesty requirements?

Probably a lot. Over a period of almost 13 years of being a modest Muslimah, I have scowered the earth and the internet looking for covering clothing that also suits my own brand of style. It is a never ending journey. I have even taught myself to piece together sewing patterns to design and sew my own outfits, which is fun and challenging, but I know not everyone has the time, patience, or know-how to do the same.

So, I have compiled a list of the brick and mortar and internet shops (some tailored for Muslims, some not) that sell stuff that can suit the modest, modern Muslimah’s fashion diet.

1. Target

Who knew that one big box store could have so many suitable, stylish scarves? (Other big box shops that sell scarves and more flow-y clothing fall short on variety and quality).

Your first stop in Target is going to be the accessory section. You know, by the purses. They carry a wide array of scarves (at proper hijab proportions) from solid black, if that is your thing, to day-glow pink and everything in between.

While you may not find all of your outfitting needs here, they do offer a wide variety of layering options for the Modest Muslimah. They carry long sleeve shirts, blazers, maxi skirts and maxi dresses that can be paired with their comfy jean jackets, and all is offered at reasonable prices. (Target, you can make my advertising check out to Theresa Corbin at 1983 I Don’t Advertise for Big Box Stores for Free BLVD.)

2. theskirtoutlet.com

This site solved my denim skirt dilemma. But they don’t only have the cutest, long denim skirts. They also have khaki skirts, knits skirts, fancy skirts, casual skirts, maternity skirts, girl’s skirts, and whose its and whats its galore!
And the fact that their brick and mortar shop is located in Eureka, IL is just the ironic cherry on top.

3. eastessence.com

East Essence caters to the Muslimah, so you know you are getting something that won’t be see-through or super clingy. Many moons ago I ordered a gorgeous embroidered abaya from these folks. While it took a long time to ship (2 weeks), the price was so low it would have been insane to pass up ($14).  I expected the quality to be subpar at that price, but it exceeded all expectations.  

The company has a wide variety of offerings for its customers. From the abaya/jilbab crowd to the skirts and tops ladies, everyone will be satisfied with the price and product quality at East Essence.

4. zulily.com

zulily is a daily deal site that offers amazing discounts on fantastic boutique quality apparel and household products. At first glance you may think it is just for kids, but it is so much more. You might have to dig for hijabi approved apparel. But I have personally found gorgeous scarves, pizazzy palazzo pants, multitudes of maxi skirts, brilliant blazers and all from boutiques and name brands at a fraction of the retail cost.

And, no, I am not just saying this because they give you $20 if you refer a friend. I really love this site! Even if you don’t buy something at zulily for yourself, you will probably find something for the home or the kids.

Happy shopping and hijabing!

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