Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Hijabi for a Day

On Tuesday I went fully covered for the entire day - yes, that includes a hijab.  Aside from a frustrating half an hour trying to get the blessed thing to settle around my shirt collar, the experience was mostly remarkable for how unremarkable it was.

I got a few inquisitive looks from the other participants, and a number of approving looks and compliments from my professors and the Moroccans working in the program, but it had no negative impact on how I myself felt.  I've read other accounts of western women who don the hijab for a day and most of them relate intense feelings of discomfort or, in one reporter's case, loss of sense of self.  Granted, I performed this experiment in a Muslim country - a very different playing field from the US, where I hope to repeat the experiment.  (I have thought of flying back to the country and going through customs wearing a hijab, though I'm sure that's not the smartest idea on the face of the planet.)  All I felt, however, was happy and possibly a little bit proud.  I certainly didn't feel as if I had lost some portion of myself - I might even be able to say I felt somewhat more protected, secure, confident.  Maybe even prettier.

I think this depends heavily on the individual, but my experience with the hijab was, without exception, a positive one.  I don't intend to spend the rest of the program hijabi, mostly because of the heat (never have I been so glad for the air conditioning in my room) and because I don't have enough appropriate clothing.  I do, however, intend to try fasting during Ramadan, which is just around the corner.  Though I can't say I'm thrilled by the prospect of giving up water during the day during one of the hottest parts of the year, I am looking forward to the experience.  In sha' Allah it will be just as positive of an experience as that of donning the hijab.

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