I often get asked if I cover up or wear a hijab. The answer is, NO, I do not. The question usually sends me off into a mental rant. Although I have respect for a womenís choice to do such a thing, I often mistrust the reason by which they choose to do so. More often than not, it is not a choice thought out. And I feel it should be, considering it has consequences. I am not talking about discrimination in Western culture, here. I am talking about the continuing struggle for equality amongst men and women in Algeria. When a woman covers herself, she sends a message that she expects to be treated a certain way. Men are always Ďcarefulí not to expect too much from her. No touching? No talking to her? No eye-contact, maybe? It is confusing. So, you are left not making the girl/women accountable as an equal in society.
Here is a list of reasons for girls/women choosing to where a hijab or fully cover up in Algeria and my commentary:
∑ Thier father or husband requires them too - This reason is the the hardest one to swallow. Why would a man ask his daughter or wife to cover up? Is she that pretty? Does he want to protect her from men looking at her? What are the consequences to her if a man does have lude thoughts? None, in my opinion, unless she internalizes his response to her. Why donít the fathers and husbands work the system to make his fellow man respect women, instead? Women who give in to this pressure, often never had independence nor see it in their future. Usually, they are financially dependent on their fathers and husbands. Heaven forbid if they Ďbite the hand that feeds themí!
∑ Fashion Smashion - Yes, some do it for fashions sake. The fabrics come in all kinds of pretty colors and textures. And they,even, have little charms to keep the hijabs in place. Plus, you see pretty arabic girls modeling them on the television. Sometimes it looks cute. So, for some, why the hell not?
∑ They have difficult hair - Ok, so not all Algerian women have long flowing hair. Many have to visit the coiffure weekly, or daily if they could afford it, to manage their tresses. Itís much easier to cover it up then go through all the efforts of styling it just to exit the house.
∑ Insecurity - There exists a portion in society that suffers from low self-esteem. In any society they will find something to hide themselves. Enough said?
∑ They feel ĎConvictedí - Usually, a woman will be referring to some kind of spiritual conviction. Saying itís her religion. Still, I am suspect. I donít know why God would want a women to cover up. I believe itís out of Godís character to ask this. If you have more on this, please post it in the comments.
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