After watching the Somewhere In America video, which consists of Muslim hijabi women, that call themselves “Muslim hipsters” or “#Mipsterz”, dressed in stylish clothing, goofing around with friends, taking selfies, skateboarding in heels, and just having fun, I watched it again, and again, and again.
The video is very well-done; it’s a light, cute video of girls being girls. The colors are beautiful. The clothes are gorgeous. And the hijabi women look beautiful, for reasons other than their clothes. They look beautiful because they’re young, they’re adventurous, they’re grinning, they’re happy.
Just a bunch of really cool-looking hijabi women being girls, being happy, being goofy, expressing themselves, in a really well-done video.
All of a sudden I’m seeing post after post on Facebook and Twitter bashing the video, bashing the girls, dissecting imaginary ideas; people calling them “non-hijabis”, people calling them “disgusting”, people accusing them of “objectifying" Muslim women and promoting fitnah.
Firstly, the amount of MEN criticizing this video is ridiculous (just go read all the tweets for the hashtag #mipsterz). Dear men, until you have experienced how it feels to wear hijab in America, with all due respect, shut your mouth. Being a hijabi in America is a flashing neon sign that screams ISLAM, and we, as hijabis, constantly feel the pressure from our societies and Muslim communities to be perfect in order to represent a whopping 1.6 billion people. I constantly feel the judgemental eyes as I stand in line at the local grocery store, all too aware of the cloth on my head and what it represents. That said, I, being a hijabi, refuse to add to that pressure. As a human being, making mistakes helps us grow and discover ourselves and the world in which we live. Expressing myself through my style, thoughts, and hobbies, helps me grow, as an individual and as a Muslim woman.
Islam does not oppress women, so stop oppressing us by making unrealistic and outrageous expectations that we must all be the same, and must all follow your guidelines and expectations. Stop telling women that their hijab is “wrong” because they choose to wear it in a different way than the girls overseas do. There is a fine line between naseehah (advice) and blatant bashing. And most importantly, stop judging and shaming our women.
I will not be a walking figure for men in the community to judge and criticize as they please. I will not be a walking list of Men’s Expectations.
Secondly, I love (read: hate) how our community digs to find flaws in our women. That is offensive to me. Thank you, for ignoring all the ladies in the video wearing maxi skirts and dresses, layers, and loose clothing. Thank you for ignoring the beautiful smiles these women have. As Urooj said in her response,
"Most of [the women] are ignoring the camera altogether and are wrapped up in their own acrobatics- dancing, jumping, and goofing off with their friends. But because there is some gorgeous lighting and they look pretty in it, they’re being objectified? If that’s the case, is it possible for a hijabi to look good without it being a performance for the male gaze?"
Thank you also for taking that one line about Miley Cyrus twerking, and turning it into a “sexualizing and objectifying video.” Breathe for a second, and go Rap Genius the song first.
“This song is about racism still being alive in America, but #somewhereinamerica there are people of all races embracing African American culture, (wanting to be more tan, Miley Cyrus twerking, etc…) You can’t teach racism when your child is connected to the culture.”
Didn’t know that, did you? Exactly.
Thank you for making something so light and positive, so frustrating. Please continue to tell Muslim women how superficial and shameless they are. Because there really isn’t enough of that happening already.
Women find agency and empowerment in many different forms and #mipsterz proves exactly that. Wearing hijab does not mean you are required to lose your individuality and personality. Whether you are a fashionista or an athlete, no one has the right to stifle your freedom to express yourself. Wearing hijab confidently, proudly, modestly, and if you wish, fashionably, with your own (but halal) twist, creates a beautiful, confident, respected, strong, unique woman.
We are human. We are diverse. And we cannot be forced into boxes that are impossible to fit in.
عيش، حريه، فراخ و ملوخية #koloyeghames @ayahabasha
'Tis the season to be jolly ❄️⛄️
"Love doesn’t end just because we don’t see each other. People go on loving God all their lives without seeing Him."
Benedrix: That’s not my kind of love
Sarah: Maybe that’s the only kind there is. [“The End of the Affair” - Graham Greene] Take me back to Egypt. Miss you ya masr ❤️ #nofilter
Be proud of who you are. Don’t let society’s judgements hinder or limit your ability to dream and change the world. Yes, I am Egyptian-American. Yes, I am Muslim. Yes, I dream of the day the world will know true peace, justice, love, and freedom. Yes, I will let my voice be heard. My oppression is not within; I am confident with who I am and what I choose to believe. I am happy with the way I dress and the lifestyle I lead. My oppression lies with society’s brutal stereotypes and misconceptions of who I am.
Captured the perfect moment just around sunset. #egypt #city #damietta #sunset #perfect #beautiful
Ramadan Kareem from Cairo
"Beware of the wrath of a youth that loves/welcomes death (in the name of justice).
No to a constitution that differentiates between the Egyptian people”
Saw this today in the streets of Damietta, Egypt. Chills ran down my spine as I thought of Patrick Henry’s famous quote, “Give me liberty or give me death”
Heartbreaking to see a country that I call mine being killed for what they believe. For democracy. For freedom. Rising up against those that wish to smother and silence them. Even if it means death. The courage and strength of the Egyptian people is heartbreakingly and tragically beautiful.