By Chelsea Flores (Non-Muslim, USA)
Please stop. Pretty please with a cherry on top. Stop.
Feminism, in its most simple form, is about achieving economic, social, and political equality. When one looks at feminism on a deeper level, they realize that feminism also encompasses the desire for comprehensive women’s health care. Feminism is about ending the worldwide epidemic of domestic violence. It’s about ending the use of rape as a weapon of war; it’s about ending rape. It’s about women’s voices being heard and respected alongside the voices of their male counterparts. It’s about closing the gender pay gap. It’s about equal representation of women, more specifically, women of color, in the media. It’s about ending the use of the phrase, “stop acting like a girl!” as an insult. It’s about choice.
It is not about rescuing women from hijab. Hijab is about choice, just as feminism is. By attempting to liberate women from the “oppression of the hijab,” you’re actually being counterproductive to your cause. Take some time to educate yourself on the practice of wearing hijab. View the practice from a religious, social, and feminist perspective. Understand that religion, feminism, and societies are not mutually exclusive; they can (and do!) exist in harmony with one another. The next time you see a veiled woman in the grocery store or classroom, dismantle the train of thought running through your mind about her big, bad, Arab husband or father.
Expand your narrow view of feminism to embrace veiled women. Use your voice and your privilege to advocate alongside them for their right to choose. Promote discourse about hijab and put to rest the stereotypes and misconceptions many feminists have about hijab.
DISCLAIMER: I, Chelsea Flores, absolutely identify as a feminist, and the intended audience are those with a narrow, Western view of feminism that lacks diversity and intersectionalism.