Feminist writer Hanna Yusuf stands up for a woman’s right to choose her appearance in a compelling video Op-Ed on the The Guardian’s website. Wearing a beautiful blue scarf, Yusuf says, “My hijab has nothing to do with oppression. It’s a feminist statement. It was probably the first thing you noticed.” To clear up any potential confusion, she says, “It’s just a scarf that some women wear to cover parts of their bodies.” She argues that, “In a world where a woman’s value is often reduced to her sexual allure, what could be more powerful than rejecting that notion? By covering up we reject the message that women must be sexy but not slutty, stick thin but still curvy, youthful yet natural.” Yusuf says the Hijab provides liberation, as a symbol of anti-capitalism, it helps women reject the consumer culture that molds them into images such as sex-symbols and shopaholics. “Liberation lies in the choice,” she says, acknowledging that women shouldn’t be legally forced to wear the hijab, but in some parts of the world, that’s precisely what happens. “By assuming all veiled women are oppressed, we belittle the choice of those who want to wear it,” she continues. “If pressure to wear the hijab is seen as oppression and, rightly so, why is social or legal pressure to not wear it seen as female emancipation?” She refers to cases where Muslim women have been pressured legally or socially for being too-covered up, adding that “the pseudo-feminist argument against the hijab reinforces existing power structures and goes against the feminist values it claims to defend.” In a provocative closing statement, Yusuf says, “the truth is that for many women the hijab allows them to reclaim their bodies and have full control over them, and that makes many people uncomfortable. But what do I know? I’m only a pacifist hijabi who can’t think for herself.”
Watch the full video at The Guardian.