Are Muslim Women Oppressed? Ask One

Check out the post that I contributed to for BoingBoing one of the top blogs that covers a variety of topics from technology to pop culture. The piece I wrote is a response to people’s assumption that hijabis are oppressed.

This article has 11 comments

  1. layla

    by the way I think it is a great topic to discuss and talk about more because its the number one problem westerners have with Islam.. i just noticed its from 2009 it seems not alot changed lol

  2. layla

    That is what every non- Muslim thinks.. that we are suppressed and FORCED by men to wear it and cover.

    I’m American I know the ideas( i live in Egypt for years and im a 3rd generation American). I wear it for Allah and I also happen to love it.. I feel like a princess when im dressed and get seen as a princess. 🙂

    to comment on jodi, I agree… and have seen a lot and done alot pre-islam and thinking back i wonder why i dressed so scanty and the reason was mostly attention. women dont realize what we create. we show our bodies too much and men see us as sex objects and dont care about anything we have to say theyre busy fantasizing about our goods showing to the world. they dont respect it its for carnal desires only. thats the truth. Men especially Muslims see the woman covered as a treasure. even average american men have values they dont feel respect towards a woman who is half naked except to follow the law. the end result is we hurt ourselves by showing too much and get used. we need to get smart.

    what kind of world do we live in when we are told we CANT wear clothes???? very sick.

    i love hijabtrendz!

  3. Annie

    Hi, Mariam,

    I only stumbled across the BB article now, and came to your web site to see what it was about. I just wanted to say that I think that you were put in an unfair position in trying to talk about Muslim women and oppression. It’s a huge topic, and it’s impossible to cover in a blog post, especially when the post mostly concentrates on your own feelings regarding hijab and wearing it while living in the Western world.

    I disagree with what you said and I do think that your logic was flawed. I could totally spend hours debating you on the subject, but that’s not why I came here; I think you should know that nobody, even the meaner commenters on the site, felt that you were a bad person or disliked you. You seem well-spoken and kind, and like the sort of gal that most people would be lucky to be friends with. It was brave to put a face and a voice to the discussion, because let’s face it, it’s easy to make snide comments behind the veil (ha!) of internet anonymity.

    So, even though I don’t think that “oppressed Muslim women” was a topic that could be covered with a post about your personal experience with hijab, I do commend you for taking the time and effort to state your case. Those of us who disagree with it, or take some sort of issue with it, have nothing against you personally, I promise.

    Now, mind you, I know how hard it is to read stuff like that with a thick skin. Hell, I blog about frugal topics occasionally, and not a single post goes by that some idiot says something like “YOU ARE SO DUMM AND I HATE YOU”RE RITING AND YOU ARE AN IDEEUT.” And those comments make me want to punch someone, because I tried, you know?

    You tried. That’s important. I think you should be congratulated for that.

  4. Mariam Sobh

    @ Jodi You’re right sometimes I feel like 9/11 just gave people more excuses to become hateful. Maybe they were thinking stuff before but now it’s acceptable to just label and and accuse folks.

    @ Kelly yeah don’t know why people think we can’t do anything we want? If I want to swim in a potato sack that’s my perogative! Lol

    @ Sally thanks for the article!

  5. Kelly

    I hate it when a woman looks like ten pounds of sugar in a five pound bag lol.

    I honestly find it interesting that the only ones in my experience who are oppressing Muslim women are non Muslims. “Oh, you can’t do that in hijab!” “You can’t swim in that!” bla bla bla.

    Loved the article btw.

  6. Jodi

    I just get sick of hearing it all over and over again. I feel that people are more concerned about someone else than their own selves. I wonder if this would have been such a big issue if it were not for the tragedy of 9-11. That seemed to bring focus on everything Muslim. I saw a woman coming out of Walmart half naked the other day! Let me tell you, she had on something like a camisole with no bra and her bosom was barely able to be covered by the camisole. Not only that but she had on the shortest shorts I’ve ever seen! No one seemed to notice her walking out with her friends but I noticed right away because I was utterly shocked! I’m telling you, if she would have leaned over an inch everything would have fell out. Not only was I ashamed for her, but for all women! And now you want to make a head scarf an issue! People need to get a life and realize where to really place their focus….loose morals!

  7. Mariam Sobh

    @Sally .. you’re totally right!

  8. Sally

    I think you did a good job with the article. You said it as it is, what was on your mind. It is sad to read the comments, but, I believe the most negative ones come from people who already have preconceived ideas about hijab/Islam and are going to say something no matter how you explain it.

  9. Mariam Sobh

    Samira thank you so much for your well written comment. It’s as if you read my mind 🙂
    It’s so frustrating to read people’s comments on that article, so I just skimmed them in the beginning. I think they purposely ignored the line in which I said “words will always hurt” hmmm
    But thank you again for your wonderful comment, it’s refreshing to find more people who are on the same page 🙂

  10. Samira

    Assalaamualaikum-(My comment on your article is below)

    I’m glad you wrote it! I just hate reading (some) of these comments. I think this has little to do with us (Muslim women) and more to do with what makes the anti-hijab folks comfortable. Conformity seems to be the rule of the day even in the most “progressive/liberal” camps. On one hand, there are those who come from a school of feminist thought where any sign of gender difference means that someone is being oppressed. What they fail to realize is that no theory is universal.

    There are more ways to look at something than from within a Eurocentric paradigm-so that anything that falls outside it is easily labeled as “oppressive” or “abject”. For instance I come from an ethnic group of women who, for no religious reason, are prone to throw a scarf or wrap on. Dudes also like to cover their hair. My grandmother always covered her head with a hat or wrap. So the transition for me into headcovering was not as difficult because culturally it already represented a type of aesthetic. But if you only view Muslim women from one type of paradigm (typically Arab or Persion living in a dictatorship) you will not understand that each of us have a different path.

    It is strange how the most non-religious folks become the most dogmatic in protecting “their” ideals. Sounds a little fundamentalist if you ask me!

    As a young Muslim teen I never thought I would wear hijab-I carried that feeling all up into my 20s and then something changed. I wasn’t around any family, I didn’t have to go to a masjid, I was living free in NYC a la Sex and the City. In fact I was never forced to do anything my whole life. I made the choice. That is not everyone’s story but I can only tell my own.

    Another thing about hijab-it’s cute! It’s wonderful to wear. It’s fashionable. I don’t shun those girls who just love the look/feel of being wrapped up simply for style. The material feels gorgeous wrapped across the body. As my sweetie often says “it’s a perfect frame for a beautiful face.” By the way my sweetie is a Muslim man who covers his hair with a smaller covering every day. Where’s his crusade???

    While you all continue contemplating my oppression I’m off to live my life out loud. I’m a hijabi for life-deal with it!

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