Feminism & The Modern Muslim Woman

Feminism & The Modern Muslim woman

I could write about this very topic every day for the next year and it still would not be enough.

Not all feminists think or act the same.

Well isn’t that news. It might surprise you to hear that it is my religion which has inspired me to want to speak up against the subordination of women. I know it’s hard to believe whilst living in a world painted with dominant western culture that a religion being tarnished as barbaric and a threat to modern civilisation was one of the first to recognise inequality and grant women with rights.

I’m not here to list a dozen ways that Islam liberated Muslim women, nor point out that Muslim women were emancipated from being the property of men fourteen hundred years before women in the west saw any light of such rights. All that I wish to make clear is that Islam, does not support the ill treatment of women.

The patriarchy which has governed most nations for centuries and manipulates laws, both theological and social, to their own advantage has allowed the largely prevailing misogynistic culture to impose certain rulings that feed hegemonic masculinity; by oppressing women.

Unfortunately, it is the misuse of religion which has created the notion that the Islamic faith is the enemy of the modern woman. However, it is also true that in certain ‘secular’ societies that claim to be ‘forward thinking’, women are still not treated as equals, in pay, under laws and by culture itself.

As a Muslim woman, it is devastating to see the hypocrisy practiced by the Muslim community and the wider non-Muslim society.

screenshot_2016-09-27-09-13-36-1.png Are there problems with the feminist movement? Absolutely.

However as a young participating member of society (regardless of my gender), I believe that referring to a supporter of equal rights as a ‘feminazi’ is the modern day digressing of human rights as a whole.

Why? Well, the movement itself holds the weight of the struggles and sacrifices made by women (and men) from whenever you believe feminism arose, up to present day. By calling someone a ‘feminazi’, you are undermining an entire era of change. Not only is the term degrading to feminism, I take it as multiple steps back for society. Whether you call yourself a feminist or a humanist is besides the point.

screenshot_2016-09-27-09-13-36-4.pngDo I see flaws in the feminist movement? Yes. No movement is perfect and most are prone to criticism, particularly one that is represented by people who are seen as ‘minorities’ or ‘inferior’. Insulting a struggle which was (and still is for many) an identity for equality and an advocate for awareness of inequality – is, for me, and should be for any living breathing member of the 21st century, is a ludicrous call to pull.

For me, the fact that some (yes, not all) feminists believe that most Muslim women are oppressed by their religion is a problem. Women, muslim women that are living under misogynist regimes ARE oppressed, yet little, or dare I say it NOTHING is being done to help them.

screenshot_2016-09-19-12-23-35-3.pngWe ought to see more coverage on sexual harassment, on FGM, on child marriages and the daily tenacity that women and girls go through – as well as attempts to help.

Yet all that is ever highlighted, all that I do see mainstream media debating on – is whether a veiled women is free, ‘oppressed’, or harbouring terrorists.

Come on.

A muslim woman does not need to lift her veil to prove that she is not oppressed. The fact that muslim women are forced to prove on a regular basis that they are not oppressed, to me – is real oppression.


Of course, this claim would be unfair if I didn’t point out the fact that I am speaking from an advantaged point of view. I do recognise that not all women are born under the same circumstances or under the same situation as me. Which is why I believe that our efforts need to be put to effective use, we should stop analysing a free walking Muslim woman, and use our privileges to create aid to those that DO need it. 

| do keep in mind, that me talking about Islam, does not in any way undermine or insinuate disrespect towards any other faith. Comments suggesting things of such a nature will be dismissed. Bigots will not be entertained. |

*you guessed it, this was a self-illustrated blogpost*

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2016: Veils Don’t Sail?

It is the year twenty sixteen and women still feel the need to walk around covering every inch of skin, including their face! You no longer need to bend under the misogynist standards set by the no longer ruling patriarchy. You don’t need to step outside clad in black floor length clothes in fear of your abusive male spouse. You have human rights.We all have human rights. We have feminism! Wait, I’ll save you…

That’s already a whole seventy-four words in and I haven’t even introduced the topics of interest I will be covering today.

Hello people of the internet. I am sure quite a few of you might have already contemplated jumping off my post as you might have judged from the opening paragraph, that I am here to ‘ridicule’ feminism; but I assure you, I am not. This post is written for the sole purpose of educating/informing and creating a platform for healthy discussion of queries and questions.

I was inspired to write about the misconceptions of veiled women and the hijab when I happened to trod upon a pretty heated discussion between what seemed to be a group of rather ignorant people in the comments on a post on Instagram. Ah Instagram, of course. Where ever else.

However my need to literate my thoughts comes from more than just that, I am a young woman living in Britain, who dresses up everyday the way that I choose to – and that happens to end with covering my hair with a headscarf. Therefore, to me, it is important that the people I interact with in the world are aware that I am not forced to wear the hijab.

There is a lot of talk on Muslim women in the media, particularly social media, but what it is, is rarely discussed. Scriptures of all Abrahamic religions indicate a notion towards the covering of the hair and body. Where the rules of most religions are absolute, the interpretation of such divine laws are subjective; generally speaking,

hijab is – a religious code which is to be implemented by both men and women,

since the topic of this post is women; the female covering consists of loose clothing which is not skin tight nor transparent and a piece of cloth to cover the head and chest.

Some women choose also to cover their face with a veil or niqaab, showing only their eyes. 

You might be getting the jist here. Choice. Women that cover more of their bodies than other women, do so out of their own free will. To question a woman’s freedom based off of what she wears does not empower her, rather – it restricts her choices. 

My opinion is not very humble when I say, that feminism without intersectionality is pointless. You need not to be an atheist or of a certain colour to believe in the equality of rights. You do however, need to take into account the individual experiences of different people based on the unique circumstances they were born into/live in and with. There are many women who believe that religion in fact inspires their inner feminist. 

Her choice to cover should certainly never offend you.

I get it. It’s extremely easy, to read the first few  poorly translated verses of a Holy Book of any religion ‘online’,  those that are clearly taken out of context – and say that this religion sets women back. Reading a few essays on Wikipedia, doesn’t make you a historian. You are far from the expert when you believe a Muslim woman is oppressed. 

Are women in some regions of the Middle East oppressed by a society that uses religion as a poor excuse to mistreat females? Yes. Do I deny the fact that in such cases, some women and young girls may be made to cover and live their lives deprived of the simple notion of making their own choices? Of course not. 

Women are still seen as second class citizens in many countries, It’s a fact. It happens. I am not here to hang such issues to rest, if anything – I believe more needs to be done to speak out for women who don’t have the opportunity to project their own voices. 

However, aren’t women in secular or Non Muslim developing countries abused? Are they not raped and forced into human trafficking? Are women in these countries not misused, mistreated and pushed aside too? They are. 

Shouldn’t our attentions and focus then, be on the women who need our efforts – rather than questioning why a free walking woman is covering her hair? 

Veils Don’t Sail 

Personally, I do not cover my face but I cover my hair, another woman may not cover her face nor her hair. 

Categorizing levels of covering/modesty to what can be worn and what cannot and judging the character of the women who choose to dress otherwise; is true oppression. 

I have seen fellow Muslim veiled women being spoken to in derogatory manners. A thin layer of fabric covering the face of a human does not devoid of the fact that she is a human. 

Her hair or face being covered should not come as a novelty in a world where almost anyone can mould, sculpt or mutilate/pierce their bodies to the way they like (literally).

Her choice to cover should certainly never offend you. 

Thank you for reading, feedback is always welcome on my blog.


* this was a self-illustrated blogpost, the doodles and drawings were created by yours truly *


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