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  • GAYA Magazine

One woman's "slavery" is another woman's "liberation"...

Woman dressed in modest fashion and a fashionable turban. Modesty doesn't mean oppressed.

...And you won't understand the other until you walk in their shoes.

Media has recently gone frenzy with the Burkini ban. Not to mention the previous headlines after the French minister, Laurence Rossignol, and Pierre Berge (YSL's former business partner) called the hijab a form of slavery.

The majority of Muslim women chose to put on the hijab. There was no force behind the hijab other than the submission to God. If we are slaves then we are slaves to God. No one else. But that being said, it's a religious choice. And our own choice to make. We are free to decide and make that choice. One can argue that there are girls and women out there who are forced to cover up by their fathers or husbands. And whilst that is sad, that should be a separate discussion. Rossignol and Berge were referring to veiled Muslim women as a whole and as such we will be talking about that.

Personally I don't (yet) where the hijab. I do on certain religious occasions but I have my own reasons why I haven't done so full time yet. That isn't to say I'm never going to. I will eventually but I have my own reasons why and when I will. No one will force me to do it.

The fact that we have the freedom to choose, that's liberation. Slavery is when you don't have the freedom to choose. When you are forced by another human being to do something against your will that's slavery. Do we put on the hijab against our will? No. It's a form of expression. Just like it is a form of expression to take off all your clothes and pose nude on the cover of a magazine. On our magazine cover we have covered women in hijabs. That's your form of expression this is ours. I get that you're proud of what you have, curves and all and personally I don't judge you for that. If you want to shake it for the whole world to see go for it. More power to you. But if I want to cover up, show the same respect I show you. Let me be me.


"...the fact that we have the freedom to choose, that's liberation..."


Going back to the definition of slavery. If Muslim women wish to cover up and we're told we can't and have to conform to Western standards against our wishes then isn't that slavery? One can argue that forcing Muslim women to take off the burkini when they are on the beach causing absolutely no harm is a form of slavery. Wouldn’t you agree?

Now let's turn this on its head, shall we? Many Hollywood actresses have said in interviews that they would turn down roles if nudity was involved. Yet time and time again, many big movie roles require actresses to go nude. And they fall into it. Many have risen to fame cos of sex and nudity, even reality stars. It's reached such a peak that sex tapes are now the way to gain fame. With body shaming such a big issue now, women and even young girls now feel compelled to go down that route just for fame. One can argue that these "standards" are also a form of enslavement. Why? Cos again here in this example I am forced to conform just to make a name for myself.

In conclusion, one woman's "slavery" is another woman's "liberation". Whilst the West think we're enslaved, we find the hijab liberating cos we are free from Western standards of fashion and beauty. On the topic of the burkini, again it is considered liberation for us, because finally a hijab women (or a woman who’s not comfortable wearing a bikini) can finally enjoy the beach just like everyone else. Live and let live.

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