Hijab: Not My Body Not My Choice – Conversation with Eeman Abbasi from Traversing Tradition
This week the subject of the hijab was under the spotlight again. A famous Muslim You tuber posted a video where she explained why she had decided to no longer wear the head covering: khimarInshallah, in this episode I want to look at the main reasons why there is so much confusion around the simple act of wearing the hijab.To help me resolve the confusion I have Eeman Abbasi who wrote an article titled “ Hijab: Not my Body, Not my Choice” on the website Traversing Traditions.
About the author: Eeman Abbasi is a graduate in Physiology & Neurobiology and Human Rights, working in international development. Her interests include Hanafi jurisprudence, refugee advocacy, health and human rights, and the food industry. You can follow her on Twitter here.Listen to a previous podcast “Is hijab a choice?” where I spoke to Harvard graduate Umm Khalid about the reasons we as Muslim women give to the question of why we wear hijab.”I had completely bought into the idea that “the hijab is a choice,” that it was all about “freedom,” that it made me “empowered.” I wince now in embarrassment to remember that these cliché feminist talking points about hijab were part of my answer to her question of why I wear it. I proudly parroted back the stuff I’d heard other American Muslim women say hijab was about:
- Hijab is not mandatory—it is a choice! See, I’m not oppressed like you think! I chose to don this piece of fabric on my head out of my own free will and it is a sign of my unfettered personal agency.
- Hijab is all about freedom! Wearing it makes me free of the oppressive gaze of men. It gives me the freedom to go about my life in public unburdened with the sexualization that can result with showing too much skin. Covering my body in this way is a way for me to gain freedom, you see.
- Hijab makes me feel empowered! I wear it to show my independence and power as a proud Muslim woman who is not scared of others, of being different, or of expressing my ethnic or religious heritage! America is a melting pot!”