Creative Project 6 – Hijab As a Form of Expression, Not Oppression (Week 10)

Our class discussions involving women’s roles in Islam have drawn substantial attention towards the subject of the hijab. Our discussions about the hijab have mostly been in reference to nations that require women to wear the hijab, such as Saudi Arabia, and literary pieces that associate the hijab with oppression, such as Marjane Satrapi’s Persepolis (Reform and Revival Movements Iran Lecture Powerpoint). However, by predominantly casting the hijab in a negative light, our discussions have undermined the tens of thousands of Muslim hijabi women that wear the hijab by choice⁠—and love it. For this project, my goal was to shed light on some of these women, whose perspectives are valuable in the sense that they provide a more holistic view of the hijab in the Muslim World.

Like other flag-bearers of their religion, such as Jewish men who wear the kippot and Roman Catholic nuns who wear the habit, Muslim women who wear the hijab are visual representatives of Islam; this is empowering in the sense that it reaffirms Islam’s reverence for women and one of their many roles in the religion.

Depending on the culture of the region, the hijab generally takes on many different styles, colors, and designs throughout the Muslim world. However, it is very much a personalized accessory; many Muslim women have adopted certain styles of the hijab they feel most authentically themselves in, while others opt for a range of styles that can be worn interchangeably. Although the hijab is essentially a religious garment, culture and identity contribute to its fashionable qualities and ultimately make it a part of Islam’s aesthetic characteristics.

In order to showcase the diversity of hijab styles worn throughout the Muslim world, my hijabi friends and I have provided short video tutorials for how we tie in aestheticism with our hijabs. In this way, I hope to share with you the message of the hijab that often gets overlooked; rather than being a form of oppression, the hijab is a form of expression.

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