Not living up to the online hijab fashion ideal

A recent article on Muslimah Media Watch delves into the issue of not feeling like you fit in with all the glamjabis out there.

What are your thoughts? do you ever feel like all these hijab tutorials and makeup videos and outfit of the day posts make you feel bad about yourself ? Or do you find it inspirational?

I wrote an article last year, that you can read again if you didn’t already. It explores the  issue of  body image and hijab fashion.

What I think is happening is a combination of things:

  • We are so connected now via social media
  • People publicly post what they are doing from all over the world
  • We now see happy, smiling, seemingly “perfect” hijabis who are portraying this perfect life.

Seeing beautiful people living a beautiful life? Who doesn’t want that? We used to only see celebrities or those that weren’t a visual representation of Islam, so we didn’t really feel like we fit in. Now there are people who look “just like us”, maybe now we can have what they are portraying in their photos!

So we try to emulate them. Maybe it’s the clothes, or the makeup, or the body, or the husband and kids or the job etc.

We start to think if we grasp at all these things that they “seem” to have, then we’ll be a perfect smiling picture like them.

The problem is, that world is completely one dimensional.

We don’t know what goes on behind the scenes. There is nothing showing you when they wake up and find they have a breakout all over their face. You don’t hear them complaining about their life. No one can see their kids running around unsupervised because, “hold on, mommy needs to take one more selfie”.

Just like you have so many things going on in your life, everyone else has other things going on in their lives that are much deeper and we will never be privy to that.

There are pros and cons to every situation, and this one is no exception.

I’m pretty sure for most hijab bloggers, it’s not their intention to make people feel bad.

The hijab bloggers are merely responding to what their legions of fans are asking of them. And some are having fun with being creative.

They are getting endorsement deals with hijab fashion companies.

The way those companies see it, they are putting out an image that is a positive representation of Muslim women in hijab that most folks like myself never saw growing up.

But at the same time, there is something subconsciously going on that is affecting us all.

No one is going to post a picture of themselves looking haggard. And thus the cycle begins.

“If she posts something and looks gorgeous, then I need to do the same.”

“I should show the world how amazing my life is, even though I’m not all that happy. But I can pretend for the camera!”

Once again, this is a one dimensional world.

We are in a time of rapid changes in technology and communication.

And my advice is to cut back on this consumption or it will drive you crazy.

There is so much more I want to write about, and other angles I’d like to tackle this topic from… so let’s just say that this is to be continued….

The next post will talk about the world of hijab fashion and the images that are being put out. I want to explore those glossy smiles and perfect hijab styles, and where we should draw the line. Or should we?


This article has 2 comments

  1. Mariam Sobh

    Thanks for sharing Jodi. I think it is definitely a touchy subject, because you don’t want to sound “judgy” and at the same time, it’s scary to me to see how materialistic we’re becoming. I often wonder if I wasn’t inundated with media, would I even care about how I dress or look? Probably not. I realize it’s all about balance, and that’s why when I find myself feeling down, it’s more likely because I’ve been browsing people’s photo shopped model poses that they post online. In any case that’s that hehe 🙂

  2. Jodi

    I am so glad you wrote about this Mariam because this has been both a burden and a triumph of my heart. Where media makes the lives of women more available and ‘in your face’ it’s sometimes hard to not watch every little detail because it can be so fascinating…seeing how other people live. Something I too never grew up with. Especially Youtube, it opens the door to so much, desirable or not. It can create unwanted things within us as well as wonderful new ideas and concepts that make our life better. It’s a balancing act. I know some sisters express thoughts that it makes them feel they have to ‘keep up with the Jones’ per se, or that they are lacking somehow….or that this world has just gone too materialistic when you see all of the ‘hauls’, hijabi this or that, vlogs, blogs, etc. I have a love hate relationship with it all. It seems to be spun around marketing images. I think you can go too far when revolving all this around hijab. It’s a touchy subject but extremely interesting to explore as well. Please share more when you can.

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