Why I’m Blogging About Hijab.

January 25, 2011

Why do I wear hijab? It’s high time I started asking myself the question, from its superficial levels—why do I cover my head every morning?—to the deeper ones: how is this shaping my life, and why do I allow it to do so?

Am I having a change of heart, questioning the decision I made just over a decade ago?

Yes and no. Almost constant in my mind is the notion—reassurance, maybe—that I would be prettier, more attractive, maybe even more successful here in the U.S. without it. It goes without saying that I’m sometimes tempted to take it off.

Ultimately, however, the answer is no, if perhaps partly with the “wrong” motive. I remain convinced, for reasons long and complicated, that my hijab is linked directly to my self-esteem (which happens to run high these days). Without that, grooming and parading my hair is hardly worth the trouble.

So while it’s not the most altruistic reason, it’s the most compelling one for me at the moment.

As far as the blog is concerned, the idea that hijab is correlated to self-confidence is true exclusively in my case. I can’t speak for others, and have only my own experience to conclude from.

This blog is a self-conscious attempt to put words to that point—the choice to stick with it for now. I’ve always struggled in articulating the answer, whether for lack of vocabulary or conviction, so this is my trying to hash it out.

I get asked the question by plenty of people, but if I can’t first explain it to myself, however will I do it for others?


2 Responses to “Why I’m Blogging About Hijab.”

  1. “I remain convinced, for reasons long and complicated, that my hijab is linked directly to my self-esteem.”

    Omg I never thought I would hear anyone else think that as well, because I really do! As weird as it sounds, I don’t feel the religious reasoning for my decision to wear it almost 2 years ago is as paramount as my desire to understand my self-confidence, valuing of myself and my identity. It’s been such a strange, out-of-body experience observing the change in my behavior, thoughts and actions post-hijab and how I’m navigating the world and I’m very quick to question why I am feeling that self-consciousness as a visible Muslim. I definitely didn’t have so many doubts, anger and confusion before I started wearing it but I hope it’s a good thing that I’m being more confrontational and genuine about the relationship to my faith. It’s just hard when there’s a physical marker for everyone to see it by. It would be nice to be able to struggle with it in private on your own.
    Thanks so much for this blog and I really look forward to reading about your journey:)

    • Nesima, thanks so much for your comment! I agree that it’s hard to think about when it’s such a very public symbol (sometimes representing things I don’t want to identify myself with). On the other hand, I’m not sure I’d be able to think about it in the same way if it WEREN’T such a visible marker. In other words, I’m getting more and more convinced that self-perception has everything to do with perception by others.

      I hope that made sense! Thanks again for reading.

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