By Sofia Naqvi ‘14
Tuesday, March 24th marked Hijab Awareness Day at Skidmore College. Hayat asked the Skidmore campus to don the headscarf or turban for one day to gain a better understanding for the piece of fabric itself, what it represents, and to bring awareness to this topic that has created huge opposing movements all over the globe.
Now many would think. “Isn’t that cultural appropriation?” To some people, yes it is. But, as a Muslim woman who chose to bring this experience to her campus, the intention was greater than the fear of cultural appropriation.
|Students Stella Langat, Ahmed Wheida, Abdu Almsellati, |
We as Americans are taught to tolerate yet is tolerating good enough? Is that really what humanity should strive for? To just tolerate? We see something different and automatically need to label it, to put it in some type of category because actually attempting to understand it seems just a bit too hard. Instead we set our way of life as the standard, and when something does not mesh with our way, it obviously is not right.
|Skidmore students at discussion for Hijab Awareness Day|
The mission statement of the event was Better Awareness, Greater Understanding, Peaceful World. The event was successful in making a dent to get a little closer to that goal. Tabling for the event involved students speaking about the role of the hijab in their lives, whether they wore it, their sister, or someone they know. Students came up to the table and learned about how to tie a scarf, the up and coming trends in the muslimah fashion scene (yes, you can wear a scarf and be a fashionista). Most students were very hesitant to come up to the table on their own, they usually would ask a friend to come up with them. But once at the table, the questions started to pour in and people were very interested in understanding the topic. Other students came up and were slightly concerned and would refuse to partake in the event.
The next day students were asked to wear the scarf to classes and around school. This was the hardest part. A lot of students wore it in the beginning of the day and then took it off after stares and questioning looks from others. A few students did push through and continue to wear it for the entire day and said that after a while they forgot they even had it on. The discussion that followed the event was really powerful and ranged from what the hijab means in America to cultural appropriation to effects of globalization to white privilege.
If there is anything that can be learnt from all of this is each individual has a voice, and that that voice is solely their own and no one has the right to speak for them or to take away their voice. Thank you to everyone who participated in any way shape or form.
I would like to end by sharing #LifeOfAMuslimFeminist article about a group of women that don’t need saving, from any man or woman: 32 Powerful and Brutally Honest Tweets from #LifeOfAMuslimFeminist