Dunia Alshamiri Dunia Alshamiri writes about gender issues in the Middle East and around the globe.

Please Stop Trying To ‘Liberate’ Me

1 min read

Living in the west has allowed me to accomplish personal goals I would never have accomplished living in Yemen.

This is not said begrudgingly and my allegiance to the USA has never wavered even at the height of Islamophobia post-911.

My gratitude to the country that took me and my family in has actually intensified in the past few years as a result of witnessing first-hand how a fair judiciary and compassionate public helped curb and ultimately destroy the Muslim travel ban.

All this, however, comes with a price…we’re not in Aden anymore. Being tolerant has to go beyond withholding your tongue and repressing your disgust at alien cultural norms, but accepting that people are different.

Living in college dorms allowed me to reflect on how I am perceived and how others perceive me:

Me: This immoral American girl dresses that way so guys can hit on her.

Them: This poor oppressed Muslim girl is forced to wear head gear.

Nothing could have been further from the truth. Through dialog with my room mate, and it took nothing more than 10 minutes and listening to each other, we dispelled these misconceptions.

No, she wasn’t immoral. She dresses in short skirts because…well, she looks good in them and it makes her feel better about herself; it has nothing whatsoever to do with boys.

And I wasn’t repressed. I choose to wear this Hijab because of my religious beliefs, which I choose to adhere to. This is what most non-Muslims need to understand.

I chose to wear the hijab. Most of us do – including feminists. Not wearing a hijab in an Arab country does, admittedly, draw frowns from the locals, but so does wearing the niqab (full head and body covering) in New York.

What I don’t need is sympathetic looks from commuters and a friendly face asking me if ‘I’m safe’. I don’t need liberation. Accept and protect my right to wear what I choose if you want to liberate me.

Dunia Alshamiri
Dunia Alshamiri Dunia Alshamiri writes about gender issues in the Middle East and around the globe.

11 Replies to “Please Stop Trying To ‘Liberate’ Me”

  1. The head covering itself is not the problem. It’s what it has come to represent, not only among non-Muslims but Muslims themselves.

    A lot of Arab and Muslim males see a woman wearing the hijab and believe she will be more compliant and easier to subjugate than other women – bingo!….wife found. It no longer represents chastity or modesty but rather meekness and someone they can mould.

    It’s not the hijab’s fault, however, rather Arab men with warped views of Muslim women.

  2. she wears mini because it makes her feel good and nothing to do with boys? suuure

    You must be fresh or some asexual. Do you think high heels are comfortable or mini skirts are comfortable? Think they will dress that way if there are no guys around?

    I get your trying to be nice to them but don’t make up nonsense to cover the truth. They dress that way for men!

  3. To Eljawhara

    Believe it or not….feeling sexy and looking beautiful in of itself is rewarding! Why do women get dolled up when they attend ‘women only’ weddings? That blows your theory right out of the water.

    1. How so? At weddings…Arab weddings anyway.. we dress nice because it’s what were supposed to do and we don’t wear trashy clothes. I’m not talking about haflaat. I’m talking about women who dress like hookers in public. They atent dressing like that for a wedding are they? So what is it for….not for men? To look good? Theres better ways to look good than have a skirt that i cant walk comfortably and shoes that crush your feet.

  4. Welcome to America. Where a piece of cloth measuring less than a foot can generate hate. I’ve seen Americans up in arms over the smell of Indian food and hijab women yet completely shtum when their children walk down streets littered with syringes, hookers and drug dealers.

  5. No one is asking you to intervene or make eye contact. In fact, keep your distance. Ignorance is contagious.

  6. That crap about girls who dress trashy are just trying to look nice and feel good about themselves is just you trying to make them sound misunderstood so you can say it works both ways and make your arguments look more balanced which they don’t need to be since you’re the one that’s dressing modestly and you have every right to presume they’re sluts because Girls who dress like sluts are 9 TIMES OUT OF TEN SLUTS.

  7. Women who don’t adhere to your dress standards are sluts? Maybe you should worry about what’s going on in your mind than presuming to know what this author thinks. What a mentality draining way to live.

    To Dunia, great insight and we need more of you!

  8. Muslimandproud said 9 out of 10 are sluts because they wear revealing clothes yet he calls himself a Muslim and in Islam you need 4 witnesses to prove promiscuity- 4 witnesses who saw a woman or man in the actual act – and this guy is calling millions of women sluts based on how they dress which is as far from Islam as you can get. What an ignorant misinformed fool.

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