Wednesday, February 13, 2013

My Day Wearing the Hijab: Guest Post from Laura

The following post originally appeared on Laughin Lalo.

As a devout, practicing Mormon the idea of wearing a hijab is somewhat strange. I originally heard of the idea on FMH ( a Mormon feminist group on facebook) and I instantly was hooked on the idea.

Muslim women challenged non-muslim women to try wearing a hijab for one day and then talk about our experience. My thoughts were "are we allowed" and "what will people think" many of you know me quite well and I hate to admit it, but I really do care what other people think of me! But I signed up and took pictures and really lived the day and was much more observant of those around me. It took a lot of courage for me to do this, I was scared, excited, and a little apprehensive of the reaction in my mostly mormon community here in Utah.

First what is a hijab?! It's the scarf muslim women wear for modesty, there are literally hundreds of styles and fabrics to wear. They are absolutely GORGEOUS!
Muslim women aren't forced to wear the hijab, it's a choice they make for Allah (God) to be modest for him. In some ways it's very similar to the garments we mormons wear for modesty and a reminder of our love for God.

I looked up tons of videos on how to tie a hijab, and what to wear. I didn't have a bonnet so I fashioned one out of black fabric, and then tied my hijab!

I was very modest,  I made sure to wear a long sleeve black lose shirt with jeans.

Then I took off to school!

The day was interesting, I got a lot of stares from men mostly in trucks or passing in traffic. When I arrived at school I took a very awkward elevator ride with a gentleman who literally stared at me the whole time. More like in awe that he is actually seeing a muslim woman (but he wasn't haha) I went to class and some people were a little startled (my class is of 250 people so I definitely could blend) but people sat next to me and didn't shy away. After class I walked down the hallway to the elevator and some people walked away from me and some walked too close almost brushing me while there was tons of room on either side (I assume they were proving to me they weren't scared or whatever). People in shops were wonderful, they were nice and I didn't feel discriminated.

I felt completely empowered by my appearance, I felt feminine and beautiful completely covered up and I felt like I was respecting myself. It was a really beautiful experience and I'm glad I stepped out of my comfort zone and participated. I understand so much more about the muslim religion and the women who wear the hijab.

As a woman who wears modest clothing in general (for my religion) I don't think I'll ever second guess my modesty again because of the beauty I felt with in myself that day. I won't feel like I have to spill out of my blouse in order to get attention from anyone including my husband.

As for my husband Andrew, he was all for it! He loved that I was getting out of my comfort zone and educating myself. I appreciate his support, I'm a lucky gal!

Laura is a student, artist and blogger who lives in Utah with her husband and their two cats. She is studying photography, and in her spare time likes to garden, watch British shows, and seek out new tasty restaurants. To read more of her work (art, photography, and writing), check out her blog, Laughin Lalo.

1 comment:

  1. I also love the idea of wearing a hijab, and have done so a few times (I lived in the Middle East for a few months and sometimes needed to blend in). I love how modest they feel, and how beautiful they are.

    The problem that I have with wearing the hijab is that when women don't wear them they are looked down on in the Muslim world, kind of like a Mormon woman would be looked down on for wearing a halter top to church. Nobody forces her to change her halter top, but everyone is silently judging her. In Muslim countries, and especially Egypt now, women are much more likely to get sexually assaulted if they are not wearing a hijab. So although they aren't forced to wear it, society and safety almost forces them to.