Hijab Day is here again

Yesterday was World Hijab Day, a slick piece of public relations that manages to push a religious agenda, including the second-class status of females under Islam, by appealing to liberal sentiments of Westerners. By donning this repressive garment, liberal Western women are said to empower not only themselves, but their Muslim sisters.

Of course I support a woman’s right to wear a hijab, and understand that the intent of this day is to dispel bigotry against Muslims; but I don’t support the coercion of some Muslim countries in which women don’t have a choice to cover, nor do I support social pressure in other places (including the US) for Muslim girls to start wearing the headscarf. After all, this is a garment worn as a nod to the supposedly uncontrollable lust of men, which Islam sees as a women’s duty to repress by covering their hair. (As we all know well, a few wisps of hair can lead to horrible things!) Celebrating Hijab Day is like celebrating a woman’s wearing of a ball and chain.

When I asked a friend their opinion of Hijab Day, I got this response:

I think the same as I would always think. It is a well-intentioned but pig-ignorant mush-brained gesture fetishizing a symbol of female oppression.

The site’s slideshow has these pictures. The first is the site’s header, and note that it speaks of “rights to cover” but doesn’t say something far more important: “Stand for a woman’s right NOT to cover.”


What about those countries that require the wearing of a hijab, and in which you can be beaten for not wearing one? What “rights” do those women have? But that’s ignored in the slides below:


“Modesty is a part of faith”.  Well, modesty is the part of faith that’s been inserted by men.


The conflation of modesty and liberation is demonstrated by the woman below.

But look at Kabul, Cairo, or Tehran 40 years ago. Women didn’t veil nearly as much then, for it wasn’t required. THEN they had a choice, and their choice was, by and large, not to cover (see my posts with photos here and here).  That, of course, is ignored on World Hijab Day.  And, as I’ve heard repeatedly, even women in Western countries are often forced to veil by social pressure—pressure imposed by their mosques, their family, and their peers.  I seriously doubt that even a majority of hijabis in Europe or the Americans can be said to have “chosen” a veil in the sense of having worn it in the absence of any social pressure.



h/t: Michael


  1. Saul Sorrell-Till
    Posted February 2, 2017 at 7:16 am | Permalink

    How interesting. All the supporting quotes from bearded old men.

    Perhaps we could push the envelope with a few more hashtags – #istandindoorsatalltimes, for example, which fights for a woman’s right to be kept indoors at all times, or #spreadtheworkload, which fights for a woman’s right to be part of a patriarchal harem.

    • darrelle
      Posted February 2, 2017 at 8:51 am | Permalink

      Yep. Nice smiles too.

      If their god created them to love modesty why do they have to have so many rules and punishments to enforce modesty? Perhaps I misunderstood. Perhaps it is only the men that their god created to love modesty. But then, what’s up with that 72 virgins thing? That doesn’t seem very modest.

      • jeffery
        Posted February 4, 2017 at 8:35 pm | Permalink

        There should be a bold aside to the men’s pictures: “All of MY women wear them!”

    • Posted February 2, 2017 at 1:21 pm | Permalink

      You’ve expressed the first thought I had about a day celebrating hijab.

      Perhaps, we also should celebrate Islamic male
      inability to think of women as more than sexual objects, and to believe rape is deserved by “immodest” women. They’re asking for it, right?! Keep them home. Keep them pregnant. Don’t let them outdoors without their male relative keeper. We have enough of that with certain ultra-religious Christians; now we must worry about a more virulent form propounded by those Muslims who want to make Sharia Law the law of the land everywhere.

  2. ThyroidPlanet
    Posted February 2, 2017 at 7:41 am | Permalink

    To illustrate how prone to thinking as if one is caught “resting on the back of their heels” – is that an idiom? – I am: the other day on Tw1##er, someone asked about the opposite of modesty. Made me think:

    The “modesty” trick is made plain when considering simply what it means if you do not wear a cover – is that immodest? And why would it matter if only females can achieve this property of immodesty? That is, can’t males be modest? Or not? And where did this male vs. female thing come from? And what is a “cover”? What about those other fashions from, say, Russia, or Eastern Europe, that have nothing to do with Islam?

    • eric
      Posted February 2, 2017 at 8:37 am | Permalink

      The concept of ‘modesty’ can still apply to men, but it tends to refer to behavior rather than dress. Someone who brags a lot about themselves is not modest.

      Though I doubt it’s a pure coincidence that a man who isn’t modest can be called ‘cocky.’ Looks like the double standard goes so far back that it’s entered our language.

    • Heather Hastie
      Posted February 2, 2017 at 12:21 pm | Permalink

      There are clothing rules that apply to men, but they’re far less stringent. Basically they boil down to keeping your genitalia covered.

      Men aren’t supposed to wear pure gold jewellery or silk underwear, for example, but it’s ok if they don’t know it’s pure gold or silk. Basically, for every rule applying to men, there’s an out.

    • somer
      Posted February 3, 2017 at 7:52 am | Permalink

      Like women have to be “Modest” in heaven in that a woman has one man – her husband = in heaven but the man somehow has 72 virgins and his penis “never bends”
      Palestinian-Jordanian cleric says “Allah gives a penis that never bends to women in Jannat” and explains the deal in Paradise

      • steve
        Posted February 4, 2017 at 10:22 am | Permalink

        His “logic” is virtually unassailable! Classic religious word salad.

  3. sensorrhea
    Posted February 2, 2017 at 7:56 am | Permalink

    Given the implied threat of coerced covering of all women as in Saudi Arabia, Iran, etc, I find hijabs & more extreme garments almost as aggressive and offensive as flying confederate flags.

  4. reasonshark
    Posted February 2, 2017 at 7:57 am | Permalink

    “Modesty” is nothing. It’s just a way of pretending an arbitrary dress code is a reliable and/or non-arbitrary symbol of virtue. If people want to wear a headscarf, fine, but who the hell do they think they are suggesting it’s wrong not to do so? Scientists of morality?

    Ultimately, what does it really matter whether someone’s arrogant or modest, flaunting it or keeping to themselves, big and brash or small and meek? It’s harmless and a matter of taste. What a meaningless moralization it is to curb or shame human diversity under the smug, vacuous claim of “modesty”.

    Unless there are genuine health and safety reasons for doing otherwise, people should be able to wear what they damn well want.

  5. Isaac
    Posted February 2, 2017 at 8:00 am | Permalink

    That is very telling indeed. How come there has never been a liberal movement which advocated for the right of women to live outside cloth bags?

  6. Sshort
    Posted February 2, 2017 at 8:01 am | Permalink

    I wonder how seductive and lust-inducing the hair of a man is versus a woman?

    Maybe these guys in the memes above should cover their hair in solidarity and modesty?

    And how about a beard-bra to be consistent? Those whiskers are certainly a flamboyant masculine fitness display.

    • HaggisForBrains
      Posted February 3, 2017 at 6:20 am | Permalink

      The first one looks as if he bought it in a cheap joke shop. Reminds me of the disguised women in the Life of Brian stoning sketch.

  7. Sastra
    Posted February 2, 2017 at 8:32 am | Permalink

    In her autobiographical book Infidel, Ayaan Hirsi Ali tells of being raised in countries in which women were veiled. Being “modest” was what respectable women did in order to honor God and themselves. She was told about places where women walked around shamelessly flaunting their bodies, and as a result men did not honor them. They were subject to taunts, contempt, abuse, and even rape. When you covered yourself as much as possible, however, men then considered you to be like a sister, rather than a slut. They treated you with courtesy.

    Need I mention that, the first time she walked around Amsterdam, she realized it was the exact opposite.

    Wearing a Hijab isn’t like wearing sensible shoes. It’s not like wearing clothes which aren’t revealing. It’s not even like wearing a cross. With the combination of ideology, religion, and politics, it’s demonstrating that one is buying into a saint/slut mentality.

    • rickflick
      Posted February 2, 2017 at 9:52 am | Permalink

      I’m sure the saint/slut mentality dates back to early herding culture when the cattle men owned included their women folk. Cattle rustlers were just over the next sand dune.

    • Posted February 2, 2017 at 12:47 pm | Permalink

      The hijab is the hole that Alice fell down.

      Imams can, and do, condemn Muslim women for wearing the wrong type of hijab irrespective of whether it covers all the hair or not. If your hijab is of ‘the camel’ variety, the one which looks as if you have a huge bun in your hair then you are deserving of death.

      This is precisely what Imam Suliman Gani of Tooting Islamic Centre in London decrees. He was the Imam at the centre of the London Mayoral hustings whom PM Cameron said, in the House of Commons, was an IS supporter, as Labour MPs shouted, “Racist!” at him. Gani doesn’t support IS: he supports AQ and the return of the Ottoman Empire.

      It never takes long to find the most reactionary political ideas in the dedicated followers of the fashion advice of the Muslim Brotherhood.

  8. Posted February 2, 2017 at 9:19 am | Permalink

    Here’s my take on that last image of the woman holding up the sign:

    • Kevin
      Posted February 2, 2017 at 11:00 am | Permalink

      Brilliant. +many

  9. Ken Kukec
    Posted February 2, 2017 at 9:20 am | Permalink

    “Allah created us to love modesty.”

    And you know that how, mister cleric?

    • Posted February 2, 2017 at 9:55 am | Permalink

      If you are ‘modest’ because you think people will love you for it you are doing modesty wrong.

      • Posted February 2, 2017 at 1:27 pm | Permalink

        If you are “modest” to keep from being beaten, raped or killed, you are protecting yourself in the only way you know how.

    • steve
      Posted February 4, 2017 at 10:26 am | Permalink

      Because he was born fully clothed, just like “allah” intended!

  10. Rasmo carenna
    Posted February 2, 2017 at 9:29 am | Permalink

    It makes me furious, really.
    What if, in the 30s and 40s of the last century, some Jews living safely out of Germany and occupied Europe decided to wear, as a fashion statement or for ‘identity’, the same armbands that their fellow people were forced to wear in the ghettos?
    Maybe I am exaggerating a little bit, but the way this symbol of female oppression is being celebrated by so many people as “liberating” and “empowering” makes me want to scream…

  11. craw
    Posted February 2, 2017 at 10:01 am | Permalink

    Where is the hijab actually banned? I know of bans of the veil, which hides the face, but not of the hijab, which does not. Anyone know the answer?

    • Heather Hastie
      Posted February 2, 2017 at 12:31 pm | Permalink

      In France, children can’t wear the hijab to school. I think the ban is pretty widespread throughout the country, but I don’t know the full details.

      Germany is considering a similar ban, and I think some schools have already introduced one.

      Of course, there are bans in multiple workplaces all over the world for health and safety reasons.

  12. Posted February 2, 2017 at 10:07 am | Permalink

    Is there not a case for using 21st-century technology to accommodate 7th-century customs? My modest proposal would enable faithful Muslims to display their devotion without coming into conflict with European sensibilities about individual freedom and equality. The main reason why Muslim women ought to keep their hair, if not their whole body, away from the gaze of men is that failure to do so could provoke irrepressible bursts of male lust.

    The simple solution I suggest, which could be called Virtuous Reality, is that men who find the sight of uncovered hair or inches of naked flesh too lustful to resist should wear virtual reality goggles which fit every girl and woman with a burka. The wearing of such goggles would identify the wearer as a devout Muslim, just as the wearing of a burka is supposed to do for a woman. Conversely, the refusal to wear the VR goggles would be a sign of impiety for men, just like the refusal to be covered head-to-toe is for women.

    The cost of the VR goggles is unlikely to be an issue, as they could be mass-produced in view of their many uses. Recovering alcoholics will no longer be tormented by images of bottles of wines, as the VR goggles can easily perform a reverse Marriage-at-Cana miracle. Vegetarians struggling with beef steaks, pork sausages, and lamb livers blatantly displayed in butchers’ windows and supermarket stalls can see them transformed into aubergines, turnips, and carrots. Annoyed by Celtic FC green-and-white loops? My VR goggles will turn them into a tasteful tartan pattern of your choice.

    • Posted February 2, 2017 at 1:29 pm | Permalink

      A much kinder solution than the one I was thinking of: a surgical option for uncontrollable male appendages.

  13. Kevin
    Posted February 2, 2017 at 11:01 am | Permalink

    Hijab. n. Wearable oppression.

  14. madonzubin
    Posted February 2, 2017 at 12:07 pm | Permalink

    Ultra conservative men propounding this nonsense is expected. But Leftists and feminists jumping on the hijab-wagon is despicable. We saw it at the Washington March as well. If there is any hope of stemming the rise of the far-right, the Left must get its house in order, and rouse its liberal conscience.

    • Heather Hastie
      Posted February 2, 2017 at 12:44 pm | Permalink

      I agree. This “hijab as a feminist statement” nonsense has to stop.

      Of course someone should have the right to wear the hijab if they want to. But it has nothing to with feminism.

      The hijab is a symbol of the oppression of women. Wear it as a sign of your religiosity and in solidarity with your fellow Muslims if you choose, but don’t pretend it has anything to do with equality for women.

      Any reading of the Qur’an and hadiths makes it clear that the hijab is part of maintaining the status of women as less than men. Imams admit this openly. The statements by the men in Jerry’s post make it clear.

      The hijab is NOT a feminist statement. The hijab is a symbol of women’s oppression.

      • Claudia Baker
        Posted February 2, 2017 at 4:08 pm | Permalink


  15. Posted February 4, 2017 at 2:29 am | Permalink

    Great post. Check tis out as an example of real feminism we can be proud of, a stark contrast to the twistd so-called feminism of Hijab Day:

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