By Nika Apriliani (Indonesia)
“Don’t you ever feel…. You know…. [hands gesturing around face and neck] like……. You know….”
“Oppressed?” I answered back.
I laughed a little. It was nice that someone was concerned for my safety because of all of the stereotypes, but at the end of the day, I wanted to wear it. It was my decision to wear it. No one forced me to wear it.
What is that “it” that I keep referring to? It’s the hijab. The mandatory female Muslim garment worn after puberty in Islam.
After kind of getting asked if I felt “oppressed”, I felt a little awkward because that was the second time someone asked me that question at that time.
“No,” I replied, “it was something I chose to do, believe it or not. If I was oppressed, I would’ve called the police or official authorities to help me out.”
I know that there are people out there that force and oppress females into wearing the hijab (which is something I am completely and strongly against), but sometimes I feel like the “oppressed Muslim girl/woman” is the only image people have when they see Muslim girls wearing the hijab. So I just simply want to start off by saying this:
1) I’m not oppressed
2) I strongly disagree with oppression in general
3) Point #2 also means that I strongly disagree with oppressing females into wearing the hijab
Hijab, to me, is simply my way of practicing my religion. My religion (Islam) doesn’t say to force or to do any of the cruel things as seen on the news. I don’t hate those that don’t wear the hijab, and I don’t go up to them or judge them or do anything.
I still joke, laugh, draw, smile, run, play volleyball, bike, do my push-ups during gym class (which I’m terribly bad at, haha!), and I still go outside and breathe the fresh air.
The idea that females should wear whatever they want is a pretty common idea of liberty and freedom these days. However, when it comes to the hijab, people sometimes forget that it’s also female’s right to wear the hijab, and therefore people continue to judge. I’ve realized that the reason for this is because of how much females cover when wearing the hijab and because of the common ideas and images that are associated with Muslim females. The standard way of wearing the hijab is mentioned in the Qur’an, which states that females are to cover everything but the face and hands in public. Many think that we’re oppressed for not going with the usual fashion trends, when, personally speaking, I still love wearing the hijab.
Overall, I do know that there are females that are oppressed and I hope that the oppressed gain their freedom. At the same time, I also just simply want to show you the other side of the story. Thank you!