An essay titled “The Headscarf as a Feminist Statement,” caught my eye the other day. Nadiya Takolia had written a spirited defense of her right to wear the hijab, an Islamic scarf that conceals a woman’s hair yet leaves her face exposed. She calls her decision a radical act because she is opting out of “society’s beauty game” (“The Headscarf as a Feminist Statement,” The Guardian, reprinted in The Week, June 8, 12, pg. 14.) She argues that she feels no obligation to dress a certain way to attract men and is expressing that her “femininity is not available for public consumption.” (Ibid, pg. 14.)
At the close of her argument, after weighing the consequences of her decision – that Muslims will think her devout and westerners will feel some prejudice toward her — she raises her verbal fist to write:
‘I don’t give a damn what you think.’ You can’t get more feminist than that. (Ibid, pg. 14)
My reply, however is “Yes, Nadiya, you can.”
If I could meet this young woman face to face, I’d tell her that she mistakes rebellion for feminism, defiance for freedom. True, the feminist movement has had its strident moments, but rebellion was not at the heart of the movement. At its heart was the intent to be treated as an equal. By hiding her hair to avoid being viewed as a sex symbol she is reacting to the thoughts and behaviors of others. That is neither freedom nor is it equality. Feminism at its best is a state of mind which never questions its right to be.
(Courtesy of styledip.com)