Yesterday (2/1) was World Hijab Day. This was a day to show support for women around the world for their right to wear a hijab. This is the 5th year of the event and their goal is to focus on fighting bigotry, discrimination, and prejudice against Muslim women. I saw several hash tags being used throughout the day like #worldhijabday and #istand4hijab. There was a call to post a selfie or photo with these tags while wearing your hijab, Instagram is even full of post.
Well last week when I discovered that this was going to be a real thing, I did what anyone would do research and place an amazon order. Several things that I learned is that wearing a hijab is generally a 2 part deal. There is an under scarf or head covering (ninja cap or tube scarf) and then there is the hijab the free flowing scarf. Hijabs are made from many different materials and come in any color or design you can imagine. Now they are not supposed to be a fashion accessory, but some of them are super pretty. One thing that I didn’t know is that there are dozens of ways to tie wrap yourself and that they all require some sort of pinning. But of course the internet is full of videos but I watched Leena. The root purpose here is to cover your hair, chest and neck.
WHAT TO DO IF YOU SEE SOMEONE ASSAULT A WOMAN WEARING A HIJAB
This was important. If you see a woman who is assaulted by having her hijab pulled off it is recommended that you do not engage with the assailant. You should rush to her aid and help her by 1) consoling her; let her know you are there to help and 2) help her get covered, offer her your coat/sweater/scarf 3) help her get to safety. If you are wondering what the big deal is imagine for a moment you are in public and some tears down your bottoms and exposes to everyone; you’d be horrified and this the same feeling they have. This hijab is a covering, a showing of modesty and we ALL need to respect that.
What it felt like wearing a hijab
I made a trip into town to do some running. This is the first time I have ever worn head covering that wasn’t like being wrapped up for Indiana winters (you know when you can hardly move and all so you can go get sweaty in the snow). I didn’t have a normal under scarf, I used a tube top and tied it in the back with a hair band halving my pony tail. The weird things to me were having a ball of hair in a spot where I couldn’t sit back in the seat, guess I should have done a bun or something. The other thing was that I have crazy peripheral vision, I could see the scarf at all times. Since I didn’t really know what I was doing I had some minor wardrobe malfunctions in keeping everything in place. I am sure practice makes perfect and that having someone physically teach you really helps. I also figured out that Leena in the videos possibly always wears chiffons and light materials because I was hot (I was wearing 2 head coverings).
What Happened while wearing a hijab
Nothing really. But here is my account of the stops I made in order.
- The bank. My first stop I was intimidated, I didn’t know what to expect. I had to walk out past a few guys standing in line but I was busy looking down.
- Sam’s Club. Well this is interesting I forgot to get my card out when I walked in and no one asked for it. Also everyone working in the store was super nice and friendly, like everyone said “Hi” or “Good Morning”. Never had that happen at Sam’s.
- Wal-mart. There was one redneck looking dude that I felt like was following me for a little bit. But there was this exchange with the check out operator, after I told her about my hijab and she said it was really pretty.
- Publix. There was an older woman that gave me a disgusted look when I was entering the check outs.
- Liquor store, they know me so it was a non-issue.
Me: “Can’t protest without signs.” (I had a stack of poster board & markers.)
Her: “What are you protesting?”
Me: “I don’t know what ever comes next.”
Her: “No kidding, you can never be to prepared these days.”
Here I am ready to go!
Here I am feeling like I just can’t keep myself together.
Here are my protestor supplies! Markers and spray paint underneath!!!
All in all, I felt a tick scared when I walked out the door as I wasn’t sure what I might be faced with. So the next time I see a Muslim woman wearing a hijab I will smile and nod at her. I just wanted to show love, respect and support to others who are not like me but in the end I learned a great deal.