Little Hijabis: To Wear or Not to Wear?

Recently, a series of online shopping sites were brought to my attention: at first glance, they seemed to be the garden-variety online hijab shops. Some even had blanked-out faces – again, nothing that I hadn’t seen before. However upon a closer inspection, I noticed that the hijabi models on the website were smaller than usual – they were little girls.My immediate reaction was that of uneasiness. Even though in Singapore where I grew up, it is common for parents to dress their pre-pubescent … [Read more...]

And the Hijabs and Niqabs Won’t Go Away!

During a period of time right after my conversion to Islam, I contemplated the idea of wearing hijab. I rushed off to several stores and bought a giant scarf collection that now sits in my dresser. I experimented with the veil, and I was basically a weekend hijabi (I wore it to go to the mosque and to hang out with my Muslim friends). I even tried out niqab after a friend convinced me of wearing it to go shopping. Later on, I decided that neither hijab nor niqab were going to work out for me… In … [Read more...]

Muslim Women, Religious Neutrality, and Quebec’s Charter of Values

The news here in Quebec – and in many other parts of Canada – has been flooded in the past few weeks with stories about the newly-proposed Charter of Quebec Values.  Formally announced on Tuesday, September 10 (although some details had been leaked a couple weeks prior), the charter, if eventually passed as law, would prevent people working in the public sector from wearing “conspicuous religious symbols,” including headscarves, face veils, kippas, turbans, and large crosses.  Framed as a way of … [Read more...]

The H Word: A Piece of Cloth Loaded with More Than It Can Bear?

I have to admit that hijab narratives in media turn me off. Whether because it is exhaustively discussed or because most of these narratives rely heavily on clichés and fallacies, hijab is a subject that seems to me overloaded with notions that are not related in any way to what I see as the core of its true essence. However, being surrounded with multitudes of articles and reports on the topic, and being a Muslim woman living in a Muslim country that witnesses a shift in the way people perceive … [Read more...]

Burka Avenger: Lady in Black

When I wear hijab, I find that the average Pakistani takes me a lot more seriously.  Vendors at farmer's markets don't over charge me for being a “valaithi” (foreigner); the guy at the pharmacy limits eye contact and listens politely while I discuss the pros and cons of generic versus brand medications.  I get fewer curious stares and far less incidences of “accidental” brush-ups when maneuvering crowded streets.  Even match-making mamas are impressed by my modesty (not my age, but that's another … [Read more...]

Pink Burqas, Gagas and Madonnas

It gets me every time... it makes me upset and irrationally angry. The stereotyping, the orientalist exoticism and the appropriation are only some of the things that go on when niqab, hijabs and “Muslim clothing” in general is used for profit by non-Muslim Western stars.Today M.I.A., who was once described by Time Magazine as wearing “one of the most controversial garments of our era” while wearing a niqab, is no longer “unique.”  In early July, Madonna published pictures of herself wearing a … [Read more...]

6 Tips for Discussing Muslim Women during Ramadan

Ramadan Mubarak everyone!For many years now, Muslimah Media Watch has worked hard to problematize, counter, question and critique depictions of Muslim women in a variety of media outlets, as a way to provide new perspectives to looking at the “Muslim woman problem” (starting by questioning this statement).Since Ramadan 2013 has arrived, I would like to first wish you all a wonderful and blessed month. During this month, I am hoping my fellow MMW writers will have a break from horrid por … [Read more...]