Best-Of Advice

On questioning everything

I’m a young, black Muslim girl. I started wearing hijab last year and I’m still not used to the male-gaze/the white gaze. I get so uncomfortable, sad, and annoyed to have literally everyone stare at me constantly and make such weird attempts to grab my attention. I’m an introvert obviously. Other than the scarf, I dress not much differently than your average teenage girl. What do I do?

Question everything.

Question your religion. Question your morality. Question the Islamic culture that attempts to define female standards of modesty. Question the Western culture that attempts to define female standards of modesty differently than Islamic culture.

Question the male gaze that attempts to sexually objectify you. Question the white gaze that attempts to define your value in its own terms. Question every social institution that attempts to control you or label you as the “Other.”

Question your family’s expectations of you. Question the expectations you have for your life, and then once you’ve questioned everything, once you’ve come to terms with the way the world works, once you’ve freely and thoughtfully decided upon the kind of person you want to be, then you go and do whatever you think is best.

Whether you wear hijab is incidental. What matters is your freedom to choose, the depth of your choice, the courage of your convictions once you’ve decided for yourself.

Questioning everything is what gives you the inner strength to live your life however you damn well please, and tell anyone who doesn’t like it to go fuck themselves.


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