Fetishising the hijab
Maajid Nawaz, a former Islamist radical who now advocates for reform within the religion, writes about Playboy magazine’s hijab hijinks.
Playboy magazine has just featured an article about a hijab-wearing Muslim-American, Noor Taguri, “making a forceful case for modesty.”
Yes. You read that correctly.
In its October “Renegades” issue, Playboy is showcasing a religious-conservative practice as emblematic of an independent woman.
In the West, the hijab should be a choice that faces the same liberal scrutiny that all other religious-conservative choices face, which it currently doesn’t.
Globally, though, it is not a choice.
Millions of girls are forced to be “modest” by wearing the hijab. Of course women should be left to choose what to wear, but it has only ever been male Quran exegetes who have told women that covering up equates to modesty.
As such, the hijab is enforced by law over female populations in theocratic Muslim states.This is why the Catholic nun’s habit is no comparison.
No state in the world enforces the Catholic habit over all women then punishes them for not complying. And rarely would a nun be glamorized by American liberals, or by Playboy, as a symbol of female emancipation.
The assumption made by some liberals is that the “authentic” Muslim woman is the hijab-wearing one, while non-hijabis are seen as Westernized, inauthentic Muslims.
Likewise, the religious-conservative Muslim assumption equates concealing the female form to “modesty,” as if a woman who shows her hair or reveals her figure is somehow immodest.
This is a not-so-subtle form of bigotry against the female form, and it has real consequences, including rising social-conservative attitudes across Muslim communities around gender and sexual freedom.
In too many instances across Muslim-majority societies, including those embedded in Europe, this “modesty theology” has led to slut-shaming of women who do not cover.
Worse yet, it can lead to so-called honor killings.
We must never forget that these garments are used to subjugate women…they are nothing but instruments of oppression.