On Wearing A Hijab

Question: I'm 25 years old, and I have been wearing a hijab since junior high-school. Back then, I wore the hijab due to peer pressure. But now, I realised that my hijab has gradually became my identity as well as a fashion statement. The thing that I can't stand, is how society in our country have tendencies to attach a woman wearing a hijab with certain moral standards and expectations. From my experience, a conservative society like this, in many cases, is shocked if I, a hijab-wearer: drink beer or laugh loudly. Most would find me even more despicably weird if I, for example, skipped one of the 5 prayers. How do you think, would be best for me to respond to these attitudes towards me, a rather progressive hijab-wearer?

 Illustration.

Illustration.

Dear FReAK,

I am glad that you believe that your identity and fashion statement is your right. It is indeed your right as well to drink beer and laugh loudly. Looking back at the origin of your hijab-wearing, I do understand how teen peer-pressure can force you to conform with practices/identities set by a bigger crowd, like wearing a hijab.

And speaking of pressure, we have to admit that most of societies' cultures in Indonesia tend to encourage people to conform with certain standards. And most especially as a hijab wearer, our conventional muslim-majority society would most likely have some expectations that you need to fulfill in order to get their qualifications of the ‘good girl’ label. And in your experience, there were, in fact, some certain behaviors that you did which were considered ‘wrong’ among your muslim friends.

What I can suggest is that, you can try explaining to them that we as individuals have numerous choices and diverse backgrounds which have shaped us today that makes us different to one another, and that those differences are not a wrong thing to have. 

 Image: A girl wearing her unconventional hijab.

Image: A girl wearing her unconventional hijab.

Another important thing to tell them is this: just because you drink beer or laugh loudly, doesn’t mean that your moral standards are lower than those who doesn’t drink or laugh softly. Morality can not be judged by your fellow peers. You can emphasize other good things you have and show them that your behavior are not damaging yourself and others. And, for the skipping prayers part, well, we all have daily activities that sometimes pushed us to skip something as we need to prioritize things in our daily life. Once again, it is your right to scale your priorities as we all have our own considerations in dealing with things. This can help them understand that you have the right to express yourself and you have the right to choose whats best for you. (It’s 2017 and we as women do have the right to express what makes us comfortable!)

And don't forget to emphasize to your fellow peers that your faith can also come in the form of your fashion statement! And no one but you can measure the quality of your faith. And besides, the dynamics of Hijab-Wearing have gone a long way. If convincing your peers is a hard thing to do, then I suggest you to find other friends who can better support your individual choices and accepts you for who you are! But, its also your choice if you want to still be friends with your current peers. But life is too exciting to be bored by friendships that gives you pressure to reach standards that you are not comfortable with.

 

Freakily yours,

K.


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