Hijab and the objectification of women

Even though I wear a form of hijab myself (more compelled by my parents since I was 10, than anything, and I have yet to decide what my belief is on it since I have yet to research the Quran for myself), I find such memes as described in this post to be offensive. Why is it always about women? Have we ever seen a meme telling men how to dress? It’s not that I am saying we should do to Muslim men what is being done to Muslim women; I am saying that why is the focus on how one dresses? If it is indeed something that God commanded, it should be between God and the individual, and everybody else should just mind their own business and focus on their own relationship with God. And while I have yet to decide on my belief about hijab, there is one thing I definitely believe in: Modesty in thought and actions, intelligence, humility before God, acquiring of knowledge and spirituality, is possible WITHOUT it.

A Sober Second Look

Today, I tripped over a modern neo-traditionalist Muslim scholar’s discussion of reasons why hijab is a Good Thing when I was looking for something else.

According to him, there are three main benefits to wearing hijab. First, because women supposedly always dress with the idea of whether or not men will find them attractive (even when they are supposedly dressing in order to impress other women…), hijab protects women from being constantly concerned about the male sexual gaze. Second, because wearing hijab trains the wearer to behave in a chaste and self-disciplined way. And third, because it marks gender difference, allowing women to look like women while not also being sexually alluring to men.

This type of pro-hijab rhetoric was all too typical in the conservative community that I used to belong to. Back then, I used to say similar things when I was asked why I wore hijab. While…

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