Islam: The Epitome of Girl Power

Aida Raza


Class of 2018


Islam: The Epitome of Girl Power

Welcome to mainstream media!

Here, we run a very strict agenda—

We’ll reward a woman for cutting a few extra inches off her dress!

With unrealistic standards, it’s our vulnerable consumers we depress!

We make every girl next door want to look just as fantastic.

We don’t like to remind them there’s a reason Barbies are made of plastic.

We push women built like mannequins to flaunt themselves without a second thought.

They are in their element, we say! This is what girls do!

Ah.. it’s more like what they are taught.

Muslim girls trying to take some pride in their religion,

Keeping their hair and their figure out of the public’s vision,

Are called oppressed, prude, downtrodden, and abused.

By wearing a hijab, it’s the men’s will they seem to amuse.

If women do not submit to fashion catalogues, I guess they are oppressed.

Women can wear whatever they please— But only if it’s the length of a mini dress!

Practicing muslim women are assumed to be products of oppression.

I wish to speak for the liberated women that prove this stereotype wrong.

Summer of 2015: I became fed up of my fears.

My future as a muslim I’d spent entertaining for years,

Would a hijab make me look like a fool,

By separating myself from manufactured women surrounded in men’s drool?

Would I scrap my reputation for my peers that I have formulated to no end?

The facade that I, with my individual ideals, was exactly like them?

That summer, I experienced a radical ideological reform

A bottle rocket of enlightenment—  the ultimate coke and mentos gag

Featuring a vigorous reaction between my internalized anxiousness and confusion,

And my question that: Why must I look left and right for others to validate my actions?

My decision to wear a hijab was not a bow to an Islamic culture of alleged misogyny,

Nor was it induced by an external pressure or suggestion.

My decision to wear a hijab was my declaration of independence,

Not a product of my oppression.

It was a product of understanding my identity, and my pride as a Muslim.

It marked my independence from stereotypes objectifying women.

It marked my freedom from fitting in with the crowd, my ticket to serenity.

My decision marked a bold step by letting my appearance speak for my identity,

By letting other people read the book by its cover—

So that I have a visible representation of my religious endeavor

Sure, I’ve gotten my fair share of uninformed remarks:

“So… were you forced to wear that?”

“Do you have… actual hair under there?”

“Do you wear that in the shower, or…?”

But I assure you that wearing a hijab has become a walk in the park,

Because hiding my hair or my chest doesn’t make me oppressed.

I can be valued for what really matters, rather than what media suggests,

Now that my character and my mind are what make me divine!

Here’s to the products of mainstream media:

Keep this in mind to end this divide between you and I.

I don’t keep you from showing your bodies,

So don’t keep me from veiling mine.

Categories: Culture, Web Exclusive

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