Saturday, 9 April 2016

THE HIJAB


AUTHOR: AISHAT (@THATOTHERNIGERIANGIRL)
   As a covered lady, old enough to be referred to as 'youth' and young enough to be addicted to instagram, you witness series of experiences which your sixth sense instantly identify as being related to your status as 'covered'. I am going to use the word 'covered' in relation to women who generally decide to exhibit a level of modesty through their clothing, and take note that these women do not necessarily have to be Muslim.

  One of the major and most prominent of these experiences is the struggle to establish an identity. Take for example, you attend a mixed school/university and have series of friends who do not particularly care for or agree with your beliefs, and you suddenly decide to embrace the term 'covered'. You'd have to stop unnecessary physical contacts with the opposite gender, usually shaking, you'd suddenly feel awkward and lost any time your friends ask you if you'd go to parties that encourages social vices as these lifestyles do not go hand in hand with your new status. These, in addition to other case scenarios, gradually create a huge tornado of doubts in one's self and lack of self confidence. This is because you're caught between chosing to fit in and doing your own thing. Some ladies look past the awkwardness and struggle to create a new identity that gives room for their 'covered' status while others relinquish whatever hold they have on being 'covered'. Another negative issue badly affecting the status 'covered' is the lack of social acceptance. I see this being exhibited day in day out in schools, universities, business establishments, social centres, public facilities and even medical health centres. Some institutions even go as far as to talk about or place bans on certain definitions of 'covered', mostly the hijab. This issue, worse than the former,as it encompasses the individuals who do not experience the former challenge, those who are going through it as well as those who have gone through it. This issue is entirely critical as some ladies stay away from public places because they feel as though their security is being threatened.

   Some ladies do not even bother pursing whatever interest they have in certain career sectors due to the fact that they'd have to chose between their identity as 'covered' individuals and their passion. This create terrible emotional dilemmas for these ladies and one wonder why ladies are not all that involved in some career sectors in the society. On a lighter note, another strong issue experienced by the 'covered' lady is availability of clothes to suit her status. Up until really recently, there wasn't many brands or shops that catered for the fashion sense,style and status of the 'covered' lady. This makes dressing up modestly somewhat difficult. Some sisters just had to make use of everything around them in terms of resources while others took the bull by its horns and learnt the art of clothes making in order for them to make outfits that suits their status.

   Now, a lot of people make the mistake of assuming that these women who chose to be covered, close off some aspect of their lives that are purely human such as falling in love and finding a spouse. This couldn't be farther from the truth as these women also have dreams and fantasies of finding the right man, falling in love and happy ever afters. Their choice to embrace the term 'covered' did not in any way close them off to love. The only difference between their idea of love and the popular opinion is that they chose to put forward what is within rather than using their physical appearances and beauty in creating attractions with their love interests. These are just few of issues which a covered lady go through, talk to that covered lady in your class, school, work place, street, neighbourhood, e.t.c and find out more about her challenges and lifestyle.

 

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