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Why Do White Guys Hate My Hijab?

By Zainab Khan

Just last week, I graduated from Wesleyan University in Middletown, CT. A few weeks before graduation, my best friend (the only other hijabi on Wesleyan’s 2600+ student campus) and I were taking one of our infamous long walks (we have preset one and a half, three, and five mile loops) around campus and the surrounding Middletown area. As was typical of our second-semester of senior year conversations, we were venting to each other about the many difficulties of finding post-undergrad work with our liberal arts degrees (she a government major and I a history major) and barely-there networks. As we paused our conversation to cross one of the many streets that interrupt our rather scenic routes, I turned around to “look both ways” when I heard a car honk at us and someone yell, “Take that shit off of your head!” Amused, all I could think was, “Hey look, it’s another one of those white guys who hates my hijab.” Unfazed (and quite honestly, used to such behavior at this point in our Wesleyan careers), we continued on our walk.

The next morning, I had to share this story with one of the librarians at Wesleyan’s Art Library, where I worked. During my shift the week before, much to her surprise, I mentioned to my supervisor how often Middletown residents (especially young white men in their red or white pickup trucks) verbally abused my friend and me when we left campus to walk into town. I even refused to walk into town for dinner the day after the Boston Bombings in fear that I would be attacked, like the many hijab-wearing Muslim women in Boston in the aftermath of the bombings. Horrified to hear what my friend and I go through (even though it doesn’t bother us very much), my boss mentioned that it was common for young white males in Middletown to drive around Wesleyan’s campus in the warmer months to “cruise for chicks” (her words, not mine). That’s when it hit me, “So that’s why these white guys hate my hijab – the way I look interrupts their ‘cruises for chicks.’”  More specifically, the way I dress denies them their privileged white male gaze – a privilege that society has taught them is their right, especially over women of color.

The male gaze.  The white male gaze. That infamous white male gaze. Kind of like the male gaze that permeates Hollywood and cinema. Except in this case, the white male gaze is separated from its objects of desire by car windows, not movie screens. And these young white men in their pickup trucks feel it’s their absolute right to “gaze” at women on and off campus. They drive around Wesleyan to see long flowing hair, short shorts, and even shorter dresses. Our hijabs, long-sleeved shirts, maxi skirts, and maxi dresses disrupt their cruises; we deny them their gazing privilege. And so, through their shielded windows and in their mobile getaways, they feel it’s their right to tell me to “take that shit off” of my head.

I hate to break it to you, white guys, but your male gaze is one of the major reasons (among many others, rest assured) I began to wear a hijab.

And let’s not kid ourselves:  the privileged white male gaze and the verbal abuse it provokes is not reserved for Middletown residents only. Although their remarks usually surfaced when they were under the influence, I’ve gone through the same phenomenon with white fraternity brothers at Wesleyan. On one Friday night in the spring of our junior year, my friend and I were taking a late walk when a couple of white fraternity brothers shouted out of their car, “Take that shit back to India.” I’ll admit, this time the words hurt a little more, mainly because neither of us is from India. All joking aside, it did hurt that these Wesleyan fraternity brothers – who we’ve sat in semester-long seven-student seminars with – felt that it was their right to openly and publically shame us for acting different, all because we choose to dress in a way that does not allow them to see us the way they want to.

_______________________________________

ZainabKhan-Why_do_White_Guys_Hate_my_Hijab_-zainabZainab Khan was born in Peshawar, Pakistan and was raised in the suburbs of Chicago, IL. She is a recent graduate of Wesleyan University in Middletown, CT, where she earned her Bachelor of Arts in History with a Certificate in Middle Eastern Studies. Zainab’s interests include advertising, branding, hijabi fashion and fashion theory, and studying the South Asian and Middle Eastern diasporas.

438 Comments

  1. Sidrah Mirza

    June 4, 2013 at 1:53 pm

    Salaam, great piece sister. Being a hijabi Muslim in this part of the world is not easy. Atleast their hostility towards hijab is unmasked. Wait till you enter the professional world and hear the passive hostility in the forms of demeaning, ignorant questions. Though, the questions asked do give us a chance to explain hijab to people who do not know much about it. Good luck on your job search 🙂

    • Anony

      June 5, 2013 at 2:25 pm

      As for white men, hijab IS about racism, and bigotry, not really about access to the woman. Or rather, it probably is for some men, but for the most part, it’s really blanket bigotry, “otherness”, racism, and xenophobia. I wore a hijab for many years and went through the same BS. Why let these dogs in your head? Trust me, racism has nothing to do with you, it’s their problem, in their head, and deserves about as much attention as the neighbor’s howling dog.

      • Incognito

        June 6, 2013 at 2:39 am

        Since when is a religion considered a race?

      • Incognito

        June 6, 2013 at 2:53 am

        First of all calling it racism is ludicrous. Since when is a religion considered a race?

        Secondly, thinking that American men are simply pissed off because they can’t see a hijabis booty is equally ludicrous. I can guarantee you that if you wore modest clothing without a hijab you would fade into the crowd. It’s your hijab that makes you stand out like a sore thumb. What do you expect. And go to Egypt, hijab and all, and you would get harassed far more often. So what’s up with that? Those are Arab men harassing you.

        Last but not least. There are just as many women who hate your hijab for what it stands for: female subjugation and ‘in your face’ religious superiority. Do you realize that even al-Azhar scholars have said that the head scarf is not a religious duty, and nowhere in the Quran does it specify the covering of the head.

        I have no problem with modest dress, the hijab, yes.

  2. Sidrah Mirza

    June 4, 2013 at 1:53 pm

    Salaam, great piece sister. Being a hijabi Muslim in this part of the world is not easy. Atleast their hostility towards hijab is unmasked. Wait till you enter the professional world and hear the passive hostility in the forms of demeaning, ignorant questions. Though, the questions asked do give us a chance to explain hijab to people who do not know much about it. Good luck on your job search 🙂

    • Anony

      June 5, 2013 at 2:25 pm

      As for white men, hijab IS about racism, and bigotry, not really about access to the woman. Or rather, it probably is for some men, but for the most part, it’s really blanket bigotry, “otherness”, racism, and xenophobia. I wore a hijab for many years and went through the same BS. Why let these dogs in your head? Trust me, racism has nothing to do with you, it’s their problem, in their head, and deserves about as much attention as the neighbor’s howling dog.

      • Incognito

        June 6, 2013 at 2:39 am

        Since when is a religion considered a race?

      • Incognito

        June 6, 2013 at 2:53 am

        First of all calling it racism is ludicrous. Since when is a religion considered a race?

        Secondly, thinking that American men are simply pissed off because they can’t see a hijabis booty is equally ludicrous. I can guarantee you that if you wore modest clothing without a hijab you would fade into the crowd. It’s your hijab that makes you stand out like a sore thumb. What do you expect. And go to Egypt, hijab and all, and you would get harassed far more often. So what’s up with that? Those are Arab men harassing you.

        Last but not least. There are just as many women who hate your hijab for what it stands for: female subjugation and ‘in your face’ religious superiority. Do you realize that even al-Azhar scholars have said that the head scarf is not a religious duty, and nowhere in the Quran does it specify the covering of the head.

        I have no problem with modest dress, the hijab, yes.

  3. Sidrah Mirza

    June 4, 2013 at 1:53 pm

    Salaam, great piece sister. Being a hijabi Muslim in this part of the world is not easy. Atleast their hostility towards hijab is unmasked. Wait till you enter the professional world and hear the passive hostility in the forms of demeaning, ignorant questions. Though, the questions asked do give us a chance to explain hijab to people who do not know much about it. Good luck on your job search 🙂

    • Anony

      June 5, 2013 at 2:25 pm

      As for white men, hijab IS about racism, and bigotry, not really about access to the woman. Or rather, it probably is for some men, but for the most part, it’s really blanket bigotry, “otherness”, racism, and xenophobia. I wore a hijab for many years and went through the same BS. Why let these dogs in your head? Trust me, racism has nothing to do with you, it’s their problem, in their head, and deserves about as much attention as the neighbor’s howling dog.

      • Incognito

        June 6, 2013 at 2:39 am

        Since when is a religion considered a race?

      • Incognito

        June 6, 2013 at 2:53 am

        First of all calling it racism is ludicrous. Since when is a religion considered a race?

        Secondly, thinking that American men are simply pissed off because they can’t see a hijabis booty is equally ludicrous. I can guarantee you that if you wore modest clothing without a hijab you would fade into the crowd. It’s your hijab that makes you stand out like a sore thumb. What do you expect. And go to Egypt, hijab and all, and you would get harassed far more often. So what’s up with that? Those are Arab men harassing you.

        Last but not least. There are just as many women who hate your hijab for what it stands for: female subjugation and ‘in your face’ religious superiority. Do you realize that even al-Azhar scholars have said that the head scarf is not a religious duty, and nowhere in the Quran does it specify the covering of the head.

        I have no problem with modest dress, the hijab, yes.

  4. Sidrah Mirza

    June 4, 2013 at 1:53 pm

    Salaam, great piece sister. Being a hijabi Muslim in this part of the world is not easy. Atleast their hostility towards hijab is unmasked. Wait till you enter the professional world and hear the passive hostility in the forms of demeaning, ignorant questions. Though, the questions asked do give us a chance to explain hijab to people who do not know much about it. Good luck on your job search 🙂

    • Anony

      June 5, 2013 at 2:25 pm

      As for white men, hijab IS about racism, and bigotry, not really about access to the woman. Or rather, it probably is for some men, but for the most part, it’s really blanket bigotry, “otherness”, racism, and xenophobia. I wore a hijab for many years and went through the same BS. Why let these dogs in your head? Trust me, racism has nothing to do with you, it’s their problem, in their head, and deserves about as much attention as the neighbor’s howling dog.

      • Incognito

        June 6, 2013 at 2:39 am

        Since when is a religion considered a race?

      • Incognito

        June 6, 2013 at 2:53 am

        First of all calling it racism is ludicrous. Since when is a religion considered a race?

        Secondly, thinking that American men are simply pissed off because they can’t see a hijabis booty is equally ludicrous. I can guarantee you that if you wore modest clothing without a hijab you would fade into the crowd. It’s your hijab that makes you stand out like a sore thumb. What do you expect. And go to Egypt, hijab and all, and you would get harassed far more often. So what’s up with that? Those are Arab men harassing you.

        Last but not least. There are just as many women who hate your hijab for what it stands for: female subjugation and ‘in your face’ religious superiority. Do you realize that even al-Azhar scholars have said that the head scarf is not a religious duty, and nowhere in the Quran does it specify the covering of the head.

        I have no problem with modest dress, the hijab, yes.

  5. sarah

    June 4, 2013 at 2:17 pm

    I love wat u’ve written…these people who abuse us bcz of our hijab do not undrstand that it is our life….just like anybody can wear a cap or anythng accrdong to their wish nd nobody has the rght to stop anyone,nobody has the right to stop us

    • luqman

      June 6, 2013 at 4:49 am

      We love our muslim sisters,mothers,daughters and all who wear hijab and we are proud of them.We still love even those muslim sisters who don’t put on the hijab and we pray that Allah will help them and in sha Allah,they will have their hijab on.Those who hurl insults and feel offended by our sisters covering themselves should know that they don’t know what they are talking about,they should know we are proud of our sisters as they are and their comments are not needed at all.I pray Allah opens their hearts and mind to see the truth

  6. sarah

    June 4, 2013 at 2:17 pm

    I love wat u’ve written…these people who abuse us bcz of our hijab do not undrstand that it is our life….just like anybody can wear a cap or anythng accrdong to their wish nd nobody has the rght to stop anyone,nobody has the right to stop us

    • luqman

      June 6, 2013 at 4:49 am

      We love our muslim sisters,mothers,daughters and all who wear hijab and we are proud of them.We still love even those muslim sisters who don’t put on the hijab and we pray that Allah will help them and in sha Allah,they will have their hijab on.Those who hurl insults and feel offended by our sisters covering themselves should know that they don’t know what they are talking about,they should know we are proud of our sisters as they are and their comments are not needed at all.I pray Allah opens their hearts and mind to see the truth

  7. sarah

    June 4, 2013 at 2:17 pm

    I love wat u’ve written…these people who abuse us bcz of our hijab do not undrstand that it is our life….just like anybody can wear a cap or anythng accrdong to their wish nd nobody has the rght to stop anyone,nobody has the right to stop us

    • luqman

      June 6, 2013 at 4:49 am

      We love our muslim sisters,mothers,daughters and all who wear hijab and we are proud of them.We still love even those muslim sisters who don’t put on the hijab and we pray that Allah will help them and in sha Allah,they will have their hijab on.Those who hurl insults and feel offended by our sisters covering themselves should know that they don’t know what they are talking about,they should know we are proud of our sisters as they are and their comments are not needed at all.I pray Allah opens their hearts and mind to see the truth

  8. sarah

    June 4, 2013 at 2:17 pm

    I love wat u’ve written…these people who abuse us bcz of our hijab do not undrstand that it is our life….just like anybody can wear a cap or anythng accrdong to their wish nd nobody has the rght to stop anyone,nobody has the right to stop us

    • luqman

      June 6, 2013 at 4:49 am

      We love our muslim sisters,mothers,daughters and all who wear hijab and we are proud of them.We still love even those muslim sisters who don’t put on the hijab and we pray that Allah will help them and in sha Allah,they will have their hijab on.Those who hurl insults and feel offended by our sisters covering themselves should know that they don’t know what they are talking about,they should know we are proud of our sisters as they are and their comments are not needed at all.I pray Allah opens their hearts and mind to see the truth

  9. Nichim

    June 4, 2013 at 3:14 pm

    Yes! The hijab WORKS! I know, as you mentioned, that there are many reasons to wear it, but denying the male gaze is one that I hadn’t thought of in quite the terms you put forth here. I hope some of the men who harass you will someday come to realize and question their entitlement.

  10. Nichim

    June 4, 2013 at 3:14 pm

    Yes! The hijab WORKS! I know, as you mentioned, that there are many reasons to wear it, but denying the male gaze is one that I hadn’t thought of in quite the terms you put forth here. I hope some of the men who harass you will someday come to realize and question their entitlement.

  11. Nichim

    June 4, 2013 at 3:14 pm

    Yes! The hijab WORKS! I know, as you mentioned, that there are many reasons to wear it, but denying the male gaze is one that I hadn’t thought of in quite the terms you put forth here. I hope some of the men who harass you will someday come to realize and question their entitlement.

  12. Nichim

    June 4, 2013 at 3:14 pm

    Yes! The hijab WORKS! I know, as you mentioned, that there are many reasons to wear it, but denying the male gaze is one that I hadn’t thought of in quite the terms you put forth here. I hope some of the men who harass you will someday come to realize and question their entitlement.

  13. Farah

    June 4, 2013 at 3:53 pm

    I empathize with this women’s experiences with racism. But that is all it is – racism, nothing more, nothing less. It is not their desire to be able to look at her “uncovered” head or whatever – that is only this woman’s khushfehmee/delusions of grandeur that they want to. :p

    In this article, this woman cleverly uses her experience of racism to promote victim-blaming, and to pretty much shame those women that do not wear the hijab:

    // “So that’s why these white guys hate my hijab – the way I look interrupts their ‘cruises for chicks.’” More specifically, the way I dress denies them their privileged white male gaze – a privilege that society has taught them is their right, especially over women of color//

    So, by extension, women who don’t wear the hijab are just these stupid “sluts” craving for “male attention”.

    //I hate to break it to you, white guys, but your male gaze is one of the major reasons (among many others, rest assured) I began to wear a hijab.//

    Yes – because only white men can have these “perversions” (as she would call it) – desi and Muslim men are all just angels that never creepily stare at anyone (Joke of the century!). I wonder what she even means by the “male gaze” here – I bet that for her “male gaze” is simply looking in the way that guys of *all* races naturally would look at someone they find attractive. Staring is rude, just looking at someone and admiring their beauty is NOT. But even if it is creepy stares than the woman does is not the one to be blamed for it – nor is her choice of dressing – and anyone who thinks otherwise along with this woman can go fuck themselves.

    She is just someone who is anti-sexuality and would like to glorify her sex-negative notions under the garb of racism, while making gross generalizations about white men, and victim-blaming women that don’t cover themselves.

    And guess what? People are so fucking stupid, that they won’t question her stupidity either, they’ll all just say, “Oh, whattay brave woman! Standing strong in the face of racism!”

    This article is basically just a piece of Muslim propaganda to glorify victim-blaming, to promote disgusting attitude towards sexuality AND to glorify hijab – something that has a lot of control and force associated with it.

    • Mackenzie

      June 4, 2013 at 6:04 pm

      I don’t think the author is going so far as to say “I wear a hijab, therefore I am not craving male attention, unlike women who don’t wear hijabs.” Rather, I read Zainab’s piece as placing the burden on the white men of Wesleyan (as the entitled majority). How you read her piece as glorified propaganda is ridiculous; if her editorial had been from a white woman who was discussing her choice not to wear revealing clothing and how she was perceived, you wouldn’t have said anything. The fact that it was a hijab denying the male gaze, rather than a secular hat or hood, only goes further to emphasize the entitlement these men feel when considering a woman, and the female body. Instead of just driving by on these “cruises,” these men felt indignant enough to openly comment on Zainab’s personhood, as though they held some sort of ownership or stake in what she “should’ be wearing. Having recently graduated from a university with a white majority, and as a woman of color (though sans-hijab wearing), I have experienced the same judgement from white males over the way I was dressed, or given looks if I wasn’t conforming to their standards. Obviously these critiques and judgments aren’t restricted to white males, but the history of white male ownership of diverse women’s bodies can’t be ignored in this discussion.

      • Lucia

        June 4, 2013 at 9:37 pm

        “if her editorial had been from a white woman who was discussing her choice not to wear revealing clothing and how she was perceived, you wouldn’t have said anything.”

        I’d say the case would be quite the opposite; if this were written by a white woman everyone, (including you, McKenzie), would have a negative reaction to the post because then it would be an issue of women being shamed and expected to hide their sexuality. I wouldn’t ave stated it as caustically, but I readily agree with the original poster.

      • Farah

        June 5, 2013 at 3:40 pm

        When you say things like:

        //“So that’s why these white guys hate my hijab – the way I look interrupts their ‘cruises for chicks.’” More specifically, the way I dress denies them their privileged white male gaze – a privilege that society has taught them is their right, especially over women of color//

        You are basically saying that women *are* responsible for controlling male gaze. Let’s not tiptoe around this…

        • Angela Denk

          June 6, 2013 at 9:28 am

          Farah, you are absolutely dead-on with your interpretation of that statement. The author has thrown control of, hence responsibility for, the “male gaze” onto the women.

        • MBS

          June 6, 2013 at 9:30 am

          I tire of people saying “since you said this you essentially mean that” If that is what she wanted to say that is what she would have said. IF it is simply an either or then YOU would be saying that it is her responsibility that she is getting the negative comments about her hijab. Following your logic no matter what… it is the woman’s fault/responsibility. BUT, I will not assume that is what you are saying unless you truly say it.

          Just because I chose not to wear a bikini because I don’t want to deal with rude people telling me my body shape should not be in a bikini does not mean that stupid comments are the fault of the women who wear bikini’s. It just means I don’t want to deal with the jerks.

    • Dez

      June 4, 2013 at 7:46 pm

      @Farah
      You took the words right out of my mouth. In the minds of these bigoted simpletons, they equate the hijab with muslims, and they hate muslims. The sexual component isn’t on their radar.
      But that shouldn’t stop us from hating white guys, right? Or projecting our own fallacious conjecture onto their “gaze”, nor painting with the accompanying broad brush?
      this stereotyping is equally dangerous, if not more subtle and insidious, due to the presupposition of moral high ground. at least their bigotry can be seen from a mile away.

      • Farah

        June 5, 2013 at 4:02 pm

        Thank you, Dez.

        But apart from this stereotyping, this article reeks of “holier than thou” mentality. She “defies” the “white male gaze” somehow by wearing the hijab and feels more “virtuous” than other women in doing so because, obviously, those other women are just these stupid fools who want their worth to be defined by the “white male gaze”. That’s pretty much the point she makes – knowingly or unknowingly.

        I have never worn the hijab and never will – I DO like it when someone admires my looks. However, if a guy was to give me creepy stares and made me feel uncomfortable, I would give him a middle finger for it – that is the way I will defy the male gaze (that is not restricted to just a particular race, FFS).

        To use the hijab to “defy” it somehow is to surrender to the notion that women’s clothes are responsible for creepy stares. No they are not – obscenity is in a person’s mind, not in a woman’s clothes. And my middle finger is enough to defy all such creep stares, thankfully. 🙂

        • Nancy

          June 5, 2013 at 9:06 pm

          I am a Muslim, hijab wearing, feminist.

          I think people here are over theorizing and over analyzing…excessively focusing on the “white male” and less on her actual reasoning..it has nothing to do with the white male…that was just her example, rooted in her particular society.

          She in no way says that white males are the sole problem…nor does she say that the hijab prevents them from gazing, nor is it merely a woman’s “responsibility” to stop the man from gazing.

          What she says is that she holds the power to limit what the man can see, deny them NOT of gazing, but of gazing at her in the sexual manner someone wearing shorts and a tank top would receive…it’s really as simple as that. They may gaze at here and start dreaming of what is underneath, that can’t be stopped. But in the end, that is mere imagination.

          The hijab is NOT meant to PREVENT sexual harassment…there is an entire set of precautionary guidelines for Muslims, both men and women, to follow so that you can avoid it as much as possible. The weight is on both the man and woman. We do NOT deny sexualization or the reality of it…on the contrary, these guidelines are enforced DUE TO the reality of our oversexualized societies…Both women and men lust, and that is why there are guidelines.

          Feeling powerful by wearing nearly nothing only gives men exactly what they want, and that is one reason why Muslim women cover, so to not give them that satisfaction….the ones that gaze at least..not every man.

          I know men who lower their gaze and would never disrespect women in this manner…that takes a lot of strength and is extremely difficult for a man to do…along with following a dress code as well…so it’s not really the mere responsibility of the woman.

          The fact of the matter is that the commandment to dress modestly for women, particularly the covering of her hair, is simply more visible in public than the commandments for men, such as lowering his gaze…, you simply wouldn’t notice it nor would you notice his dress code which is why there is a misunderstanding that only women bear the responsibility. It’s simply not the case.

    • Abu Fatimah al Britaani

      June 4, 2013 at 7:53 pm

      She never at any point said anything is anyones fault, just that she wishes to cover herself up to prevent men staring at her body like a piece of meat. Nothing wrong with that. I hardly think the current social trends equal sexual liberation, almost naked women getting stared at by loads of guys and putting out to different people, ending up with kids to different men etc. If a woman wanted to take a different root like the hijab we cant blame them for that. Stop with the self hating farah

      • Farah

        June 5, 2013 at 3:46 pm

        Hahaha. You equate my outright criticism of this woman’s stance as self-hating? :p

        //I hardly think the current social trends equal sexual liberation, almost naked women getting stared at by loads of guys and putting out to different people, ending up with kids to different men etc.//

        I think your main problem is with sex itself – that is your own issue, solve it on your own, not my problem.

    • Belle

      June 4, 2013 at 8:08 pm

      “Victim-blaming women that don’t cover themselves”? I’m so sick and tired of hearing women on the offensive about hijab. Just because a woman feels more secure in clothing that covers her body, and decides to write about her positive experiences following that dress-code, doesn’t mean she is victim-blaming anybody. Go write about your mini-skirts and how wonderful topless laws make you feel. And we can write about how covering our bodies make us feel. If we say we feel secure, stop assuming we are victim-blaming anybody. It’s you insecure women who see this reflection from us. Get a life. This was a great piece, Zainab.

      • Flowitshowitlongasgodcangrowit

        June 5, 2013 at 12:47 am

        Yeah, because there is no middle ground between wearing a hijab and being topless in a mini skirt. Typical victim-blaming rhetorics.

        • Belle

          June 5, 2013 at 1:51 pm

          My point was that it was a topless woman writing this article, about how “free” and fabulous and empowered she feels walking around like that, you would have no issues with that, and would argue that it’s her right and choice. But Western feminists can’t stand women who cover and talk about that empowerment. Y’all call it victim-blaming. At the end of the day, this article is about a woman who has chosen a way of dress that has made her secure and well. And instead of respecting her choice, you’ve gone on the offensive about it and labelled her as victim-blaming. Hypocracy.

          • Nancy

            June 5, 2013 at 9:27 pm

            Totally agree Belle. Covering simply doesn’t conform to modern standards of western feminism…what these women do not realize is that there are many different interpretations of feminism! I’m actually astounded by the uniformity of these responses, and the lack of knowledge on the various forms of feminism (which in Zeinab’s case is deemed “victim blaming”, rather than a feminist stride).

            Many women who wear the hijab are feminists, and feel empowered, and feel they have agency by unilaterally taking the decision to cover, rather than uncover and conform(a KEY component of feminism)…including myself.

            Conforming by undressing to many hijabi women is merely another interpretation of conforming to our patriarchal society, men who desire and expect to see us undressed, expect to look at us like sexual objects. This may not prevent them from imagining us as that, but it certainly does not allow for them to go beyond imagining. This is the case for MANY women in the United States, Europe AND THE MIDDLE EAST, believe it or not.

    • VBS

      June 4, 2013 at 10:53 pm

      //So, by extension, women who don’t wear the hijab are just these stupid “sluts” craving for “male attention”//

      Um she never said anything close to this…
      I smell a guilty conscience here 😉

    • Mackenzie

      June 5, 2013 at 12:35 am

      You’re acting like the male gaze ISN’T already a well-known, frequently-discussed topic in feminism that has had a definition for decades. She didn’t invent it as a term for a look some guy gave her. It’s the lens through which women’s bodies are portrayed in the media.

    • Mackenzie

      June 5, 2013 at 10:40 am

      When a man tries to tell a woman that she must make her body available to him, “shove it up your ass” is the most feminist response I can think of. The point is, THAT is what her hijab means for her.

    • Anony

      June 5, 2013 at 2:15 pm

      There is a wide, wiiiiide culture gap in the comments here. Actually, there IS something wrong with men and women looking at each other, at least according to Islam. There are allowances for education and professions, but for the most part, both men and women are directed to “lower their gaze.” The reasoning is that repeated interaction leads to attraction, and chastity is a fundamental principle of Islam. Take it or leave it. You can criticize the religion for it, but in the end, it is (to its followers) the word of God, it’s NOT supposed to conform to your notions of practicality and justice. Furthermore, hijab is about modesty, NOT about a specific kind of dress. Some Muslims believe hijab does not refer to a head covering, but rather, a general form of dress that preserves modesty. As such, hijab is inherently about a mentality, not about a piece of cloth.

    • Cynthia

      June 5, 2013 at 5:46 pm

      I don’t think it’s JUST racism at all. Think how these same men probably react to a fat white woman on the street — screaming insults, mooing. Why? Because she is not playing out the role of a woman the way they want to see a woman. They object to her being there because she has refused (or simply can’t conform) to please the male gaze. In my life i’ve had insults yelled at me when I had short hair, or when I was wearing unisex clothes from the Goodwill (not conforming, refusing to please). I don’t feel like I’m being called out for not wearing hijab, by this article. In fact I felt a little thrill of empathy with the author, because there are many things that those of us who are not Muslims do in America to break the male gaze when we just don’t want to deal with it. I spent my 20s dressed like Ally Sheedy in the Breakfast Club and missed out on much of the sexual harassment that my more conforming peers experienced.

    • Delia

      June 6, 2013 at 9:23 am

      I agree with this post and would like to see the woman who wrote it try to walk down a street in some parts of Pakistan–her home country–or anywhere in Afghanistan or Saudi Arabia WITHOUT her hijab. She’d be facing just as much harrassment and possibly arrest as well.

  14. Farah

    June 4, 2013 at 3:53 pm

    I empathize with this women’s experiences with racism. But that is all it is – racism, nothing more, nothing less. It is not their desire to be able to look at her “uncovered” head or whatever – that is only this woman’s khushfehmee/delusions of grandeur that they want to. :p

    In this article, this woman cleverly uses her experience of racism to promote victim-blaming, and to pretty much shame those women that do not wear the hijab:

    // “So that’s why these white guys hate my hijab – the way I look interrupts their ‘cruises for chicks.’” More specifically, the way I dress denies them their privileged white male gaze – a privilege that society has taught them is their right, especially over women of color//

    So, by extension, women who don’t wear the hijab are just these stupid “sluts” craving for “male attention”.

    //I hate to break it to you, white guys, but your male gaze is one of the major reasons (among many others, rest assured) I began to wear a hijab.//

    Yes – because only white men can have these “perversions” (as she would call it) – desi and Muslim men are all just angels that never creepily stare at anyone (Joke of the century!). I wonder what she even means by the “male gaze” here – I bet that for her “male gaze” is simply looking in the way that guys of *all* races naturally would look at someone they find attractive. Staring is rude, just looking at someone and admiring their beauty is NOT. But even if it is creepy stares than the woman does is not the one to be blamed for it – nor is her choice of dressing – and anyone who thinks otherwise along with this woman can go fuck themselves.

    She is just someone who is anti-sexuality and would like to glorify her sex-negative notions under the garb of racism, while making gross generalizations about white men, and victim-blaming women that don’t cover themselves.

    And guess what? People are so fucking stupid, that they won’t question her stupidity either, they’ll all just say, “Oh, whattay brave woman! Standing strong in the face of racism!”

    This article is basically just a piece of Muslim propaganda to glorify victim-blaming, to promote disgusting attitude towards sexuality AND to glorify hijab – something that has a lot of control and force associated with it.

    • Mackenzie

      June 4, 2013 at 6:04 pm

      I don’t think the author is going so far as to say “I wear a hijab, therefore I am not craving male attention, unlike women who don’t wear hijabs.” Rather, I read Zainab’s piece as placing the burden on the white men of Wesleyan (as the entitled majority). How you read her piece as glorified propaganda is ridiculous; if her editorial had been from a white woman who was discussing her choice not to wear revealing clothing and how she was perceived, you wouldn’t have said anything. The fact that it was a hijab denying the male gaze, rather than a secular hat or hood, only goes further to emphasize the entitlement these men feel when considering a woman, and the female body. Instead of just driving by on these “cruises,” these men felt indignant enough to openly comment on Zainab’s personhood, as though they held some sort of ownership or stake in what she “should’ be wearing. Having recently graduated from a university with a white majority, and as a woman of color (though sans-hijab wearing), I have experienced the same judgement from white males over the way I was dressed, or given looks if I wasn’t conforming to their standards. Obviously these critiques and judgments aren’t restricted to white males, but the history of white male ownership of diverse women’s bodies can’t be ignored in this discussion.

      • Lucia

        June 4, 2013 at 9:37 pm

        “if her editorial had been from a white woman who was discussing her choice not to wear revealing clothing and how she was perceived, you wouldn’t have said anything.”

        I’d say the case would be quite the opposite; if this were written by a white woman everyone, (including you, McKenzie), would have a negative reaction to the post because then it would be an issue of women being shamed and expected to hide their sexuality. I wouldn’t ave stated it as caustically, but I readily agree with the original poster.

      • Farah

        June 5, 2013 at 3:40 pm

        When you say things like:

        //“So that’s why these white guys hate my hijab – the way I look interrupts their ‘cruises for chicks.’” More specifically, the way I dress denies them their privileged white male gaze – a privilege that society has taught them is their right, especially over women of color//

        You are basically saying that women *are* responsible for controlling male gaze. Let’s not tiptoe around this…

        • Angela Denk

          June 6, 2013 at 9:28 am

          Farah, you are absolutely dead-on with your interpretation of that statement. The author has thrown control of, hence responsibility for, the “male gaze” onto the women.

        • MBS

          June 6, 2013 at 9:30 am

          I tire of people saying “since you said this you essentially mean that” If that is what she wanted to say that is what she would have said. IF it is simply an either or then YOU would be saying that it is her responsibility that she is getting the negative comments about her hijab. Following your logic no matter what… it is the woman’s fault/responsibility. BUT, I will not assume that is what you are saying unless you truly say it.

          Just because I chose not to wear a bikini because I don’t want to deal with rude people telling me my body shape should not be in a bikini does not mean that stupid comments are the fault of the women who wear bikini’s. It just means I don’t want to deal with the jerks.

    • Dez

      June 4, 2013 at 7:46 pm

      @Farah
      You took the words right out of my mouth. In the minds of these bigoted simpletons, they equate the hijab with muslims, and they hate muslims. The sexual component isn’t on their radar.
      But that shouldn’t stop us from hating white guys, right? Or projecting our own fallacious conjecture onto their “gaze”, nor painting with the accompanying broad brush?
      this stereotyping is equally dangerous, if not more subtle and insidious, due to the presupposition of moral high ground. at least their bigotry can be seen from a mile away.

      • Farah

        June 5, 2013 at 4:02 pm

        Thank you, Dez.

        But apart from this stereotyping, this article reeks of “holier than thou” mentality. She “defies” the “white male gaze” somehow by wearing the hijab and feels more “virtuous” than other women in doing so because, obviously, those other women are just these stupid fools who want their worth to be defined by the “white male gaze”. That’s pretty much the point she makes – knowingly or unknowingly.

        I have never worn the hijab and never will – I DO like it when someone admires my looks. However, if a guy was to give me creepy stares and made me feel uncomfortable, I would give him a middle finger for it – that is the way I will defy the male gaze (that is not restricted to just a particular race, FFS).

        To use the hijab to “defy” it somehow is to surrender to the notion that women’s clothes are responsible for creepy stares. No they are not – obscenity is in a person’s mind, not in a woman’s clothes. And my middle finger is enough to defy all such creep stares, thankfully. 🙂

        • Nancy

          June 5, 2013 at 9:06 pm

          I am a Muslim, hijab wearing, feminist.

          I think people here are over theorizing and over analyzing…excessively focusing on the “white male” and less on her actual reasoning..it has nothing to do with the white male…that was just her example, rooted in her particular society.

          She in no way says that white males are the sole problem…nor does she say that the hijab prevents them from gazing, nor is it merely a woman’s “responsibility” to stop the man from gazing.

          What she says is that she holds the power to limit what the man can see, deny them NOT of gazing, but of gazing at her in the sexual manner someone wearing shorts and a tank top would receive…it’s really as simple as that. They may gaze at here and start dreaming of what is underneath, that can’t be stopped. But in the end, that is mere imagination.

          The hijab is NOT meant to PREVENT sexual harassment…there is an entire set of precautionary guidelines for Muslims, both men and women, to follow so that you can avoid it as much as possible. The weight is on both the man and woman. We do NOT deny sexualization or the reality of it…on the contrary, these guidelines are enforced DUE TO the reality of our oversexualized societies…Both women and men lust, and that is why there are guidelines.

          Feeling powerful by wearing nearly nothing only gives men exactly what they want, and that is one reason why Muslim women cover, so to not give them that satisfaction….the ones that gaze at least..not every man.

          I know men who lower their gaze and would never disrespect women in this manner…that takes a lot of strength and is extremely difficult for a man to do…along with following a dress code as well…so it’s not really the mere responsibility of the woman.

          The fact of the matter is that the commandment to dress modestly for women, particularly the covering of her hair, is simply more visible in public than the commandments for men, such as lowering his gaze…, you simply wouldn’t notice it nor would you notice his dress code which is why there is a misunderstanding that only women bear the responsibility. It’s simply not the case.

    • Abu Fatimah al Britaani

      June 4, 2013 at 7:53 pm

      She never at any point said anything is anyones fault, just that she wishes to cover herself up to prevent men staring at her body like a piece of meat. Nothing wrong with that. I hardly think the current social trends equal sexual liberation, almost naked women getting stared at by loads of guys and putting out to different people, ending up with kids to different men etc. If a woman wanted to take a different root like the hijab we cant blame them for that. Stop with the self hating farah

      • Farah

        June 5, 2013 at 3:46 pm

        Hahaha. You equate my outright criticism of this woman’s stance as self-hating? :p

        //I hardly think the current social trends equal sexual liberation, almost naked women getting stared at by loads of guys and putting out to different people, ending up with kids to different men etc.//

        I think your main problem is with sex itself – that is your own issue, solve it on your own, not my problem.

    • Belle

      June 4, 2013 at 8:08 pm

      “Victim-blaming women that don’t cover themselves”? I’m so sick and tired of hearing women on the offensive about hijab. Just because a woman feels more secure in clothing that covers her body, and decides to write about her positive experiences following that dress-code, doesn’t mean she is victim-blaming anybody. Go write about your mini-skirts and how wonderful topless laws make you feel. And we can write about how covering our bodies make us feel. If we say we feel secure, stop assuming we are victim-blaming anybody. It’s you insecure women who see this reflection from us. Get a life. This was a great piece, Zainab.

      • Flowitshowitlongasgodcangrowit

        June 5, 2013 at 12:47 am

        Yeah, because there is no middle ground between wearing a hijab and being topless in a mini skirt. Typical victim-blaming rhetorics.

        • Belle

          June 5, 2013 at 1:51 pm

          My point was that it was a topless woman writing this article, about how “free” and fabulous and empowered she feels walking around like that, you would have no issues with that, and would argue that it’s her right and choice. But Western feminists can’t stand women who cover and talk about that empowerment. Y’all call it victim-blaming. At the end of the day, this article is about a woman who has chosen a way of dress that has made her secure and well. And instead of respecting her choice, you’ve gone on the offensive about it and labelled her as victim-blaming. Hypocracy.

          • Nancy

            June 5, 2013 at 9:27 pm

            Totally agree Belle. Covering simply doesn’t conform to modern standards of western feminism…what these women do not realize is that there are many different interpretations of feminism! I’m actually astounded by the uniformity of these responses, and the lack of knowledge on the various forms of feminism (which in Zeinab’s case is deemed “victim blaming”, rather than a feminist stride).

            Many women who wear the hijab are feminists, and feel empowered, and feel they have agency by unilaterally taking the decision to cover, rather than uncover and conform(a KEY component of feminism)…including myself.

            Conforming by undressing to many hijabi women is merely another interpretation of conforming to our patriarchal society, men who desire and expect to see us undressed, expect to look at us like sexual objects. This may not prevent them from imagining us as that, but it certainly does not allow for them to go beyond imagining. This is the case for MANY women in the United States, Europe AND THE MIDDLE EAST, believe it or not.

    • VBS

      June 4, 2013 at 10:53 pm

      //So, by extension, women who don’t wear the hijab are just these stupid “sluts” craving for “male attention”//

      Um she never said anything close to this…
      I smell a guilty conscience here 😉

    • Mackenzie

      June 5, 2013 at 12:35 am

      You’re acting like the male gaze ISN’T already a well-known, frequently-discussed topic in feminism that has had a definition for decades. She didn’t invent it as a term for a look some guy gave her. It’s the lens through which women’s bodies are portrayed in the media.

    • Mackenzie

      June 5, 2013 at 10:40 am

      When a man tries to tell a woman that she must make her body available to him, “shove it up your ass” is the most feminist response I can think of. The point is, THAT is what her hijab means for her.

    • Anony

      June 5, 2013 at 2:15 pm

      There is a wide, wiiiiide culture gap in the comments here. Actually, there IS something wrong with men and women looking at each other, at least according to Islam. There are allowances for education and professions, but for the most part, both men and women are directed to “lower their gaze.” The reasoning is that repeated interaction leads to attraction, and chastity is a fundamental principle of Islam. Take it or leave it. You can criticize the religion for it, but in the end, it is (to its followers) the word of God, it’s NOT supposed to conform to your notions of practicality and justice. Furthermore, hijab is about modesty, NOT about a specific kind of dress. Some Muslims believe hijab does not refer to a head covering, but rather, a general form of dress that preserves modesty. As such, hijab is inherently about a mentality, not about a piece of cloth.

    • Cynthia

      June 5, 2013 at 5:46 pm

      I don’t think it’s JUST racism at all. Think how these same men probably react to a fat white woman on the street — screaming insults, mooing. Why? Because she is not playing out the role of a woman the way they want to see a woman. They object to her being there because she has refused (or simply can’t conform) to please the male gaze. In my life i’ve had insults yelled at me when I had short hair, or when I was wearing unisex clothes from the Goodwill (not conforming, refusing to please). I don’t feel like I’m being called out for not wearing hijab, by this article. In fact I felt a little thrill of empathy with the author, because there are many things that those of us who are not Muslims do in America to break the male gaze when we just don’t want to deal with it. I spent my 20s dressed like Ally Sheedy in the Breakfast Club and missed out on much of the sexual harassment that my more conforming peers experienced.

    • Delia

      June 6, 2013 at 9:23 am

      I agree with this post and would like to see the woman who wrote it try to walk down a street in some parts of Pakistan–her home country–or anywhere in Afghanistan or Saudi Arabia WITHOUT her hijab. She’d be facing just as much harrassment and possibly arrest as well.

  15. Farah

    June 4, 2013 at 3:53 pm

    I empathize with this women’s experiences with racism. But that is all it is – racism, nothing more, nothing less. It is not their desire to be able to look at her “uncovered” head or whatever – that is only this woman’s khushfehmee/delusions of grandeur that they want to. :p

    In this article, this woman cleverly uses her experience of racism to promote victim-blaming, and to pretty much shame those women that do not wear the hijab:

    // “So that’s why these white guys hate my hijab – the way I look interrupts their ‘cruises for chicks.’” More specifically, the way I dress denies them their privileged white male gaze – a privilege that society has taught them is their right, especially over women of color//

    So, by extension, women who don’t wear the hijab are just these stupid “sluts” craving for “male attention”.

    //I hate to break it to you, white guys, but your male gaze is one of the major reasons (among many others, rest assured) I began to wear a hijab.//

    Yes – because only white men can have these “perversions” (as she would call it) – desi and Muslim men are all just angels that never creepily stare at anyone (Joke of the century!). I wonder what she even means by the “male gaze” here – I bet that for her “male gaze” is simply looking in the way that guys of *all* races naturally would look at someone they find attractive. Staring is rude, just looking at someone and admiring their beauty is NOT. But even if it is creepy stares than the woman does is not the one to be blamed for it – nor is her choice of dressing – and anyone who thinks otherwise along with this woman can go fuck themselves.

    She is just someone who is anti-sexuality and would like to glorify her sex-negative notions under the garb of racism, while making gross generalizations about white men, and victim-blaming women that don’t cover themselves.

    And guess what? People are so fucking stupid, that they won’t question her stupidity either, they’ll all just say, “Oh, whattay brave woman! Standing strong in the face of racism!”

    This article is basically just a piece of Muslim propaganda to glorify victim-blaming, to promote disgusting attitude towards sexuality AND to glorify hijab – something that has a lot of control and force associated with it.

    • Mackenzie

      June 4, 2013 at 6:04 pm

      I don’t think the author is going so far as to say “I wear a hijab, therefore I am not craving male attention, unlike women who don’t wear hijabs.” Rather, I read Zainab’s piece as placing the burden on the white men of Wesleyan (as the entitled majority). How you read her piece as glorified propaganda is ridiculous; if her editorial had been from a white woman who was discussing her choice not to wear revealing clothing and how she was perceived, you wouldn’t have said anything. The fact that it was a hijab denying the male gaze, rather than a secular hat or hood, only goes further to emphasize the entitlement these men feel when considering a woman, and the female body. Instead of just driving by on these “cruises,” these men felt indignant enough to openly comment on Zainab’s personhood, as though they held some sort of ownership or stake in what she “should’ be wearing. Having recently graduated from a university with a white majority, and as a woman of color (though sans-hijab wearing), I have experienced the same judgement from white males over the way I was dressed, or given looks if I wasn’t conforming to their standards. Obviously these critiques and judgments aren’t restricted to white males, but the history of white male ownership of diverse women’s bodies can’t be ignored in this discussion.

      • Lucia

        June 4, 2013 at 9:37 pm

        “if her editorial had been from a white woman who was discussing her choice not to wear revealing clothing and how she was perceived, you wouldn’t have said anything.”

        I’d say the case would be quite the opposite; if this were written by a white woman everyone, (including you, McKenzie), would have a negative reaction to the post because then it would be an issue of women being shamed and expected to hide their sexuality. I wouldn’t ave stated it as caustically, but I readily agree with the original poster.

      • Farah

        June 5, 2013 at 3:40 pm

        When you say things like:

        //“So that’s why these white guys hate my hijab – the way I look interrupts their ‘cruises for chicks.’” More specifically, the way I dress denies them their privileged white male gaze – a privilege that society has taught them is their right, especially over women of color//

        You are basically saying that women *are* responsible for controlling male gaze. Let’s not tiptoe around this…

        • Angela Denk

          June 6, 2013 at 9:28 am

          Farah, you are absolutely dead-on with your interpretation of that statement. The author has thrown control of, hence responsibility for, the “male gaze” onto the women.

        • MBS

          June 6, 2013 at 9:30 am

          I tire of people saying “since you said this you essentially mean that” If that is what she wanted to say that is what she would have said. IF it is simply an either or then YOU would be saying that it is her responsibility that she is getting the negative comments about her hijab. Following your logic no matter what… it is the woman’s fault/responsibility. BUT, I will not assume that is what you are saying unless you truly say it.

          Just because I chose not to wear a bikini because I don’t want to deal with rude people telling me my body shape should not be in a bikini does not mean that stupid comments are the fault of the women who wear bikini’s. It just means I don’t want to deal with the jerks.

    • Dez

      June 4, 2013 at 7:46 pm

      @Farah
      You took the words right out of my mouth. In the minds of these bigoted simpletons, they equate the hijab with muslims, and they hate muslims. The sexual component isn’t on their radar.
      But that shouldn’t stop us from hating white guys, right? Or projecting our own fallacious conjecture onto their “gaze”, nor painting with the accompanying broad brush?
      this stereotyping is equally dangerous, if not more subtle and insidious, due to the presupposition of moral high ground. at least their bigotry can be seen from a mile away.

      • Farah

        June 5, 2013 at 4:02 pm

        Thank you, Dez.

        But apart from this stereotyping, this article reeks of “holier than thou” mentality. She “defies” the “white male gaze” somehow by wearing the hijab and feels more “virtuous” than other women in doing so because, obviously, those other women are just these stupid fools who want their worth to be defined by the “white male gaze”. That’s pretty much the point she makes – knowingly or unknowingly.

        I have never worn the hijab and never will – I DO like it when someone admires my looks. However, if a guy was to give me creepy stares and made me feel uncomfortable, I would give him a middle finger for it – that is the way I will defy the male gaze (that is not restricted to just a particular race, FFS).

        To use the hijab to “defy” it somehow is to surrender to the notion that women’s clothes are responsible for creepy stares. No they are not – obscenity is in a person’s mind, not in a woman’s clothes. And my middle finger is enough to defy all such creep stares, thankfully. 🙂

        • Nancy

          June 5, 2013 at 9:06 pm

          I am a Muslim, hijab wearing, feminist.

          I think people here are over theorizing and over analyzing…excessively focusing on the “white male” and less on her actual reasoning..it has nothing to do with the white male…that was just her example, rooted in her particular society.

          She in no way says that white males are the sole problem…nor does she say that the hijab prevents them from gazing, nor is it merely a woman’s “responsibility” to stop the man from gazing.

          What she says is that she holds the power to limit what the man can see, deny them NOT of gazing, but of gazing at her in the sexual manner someone wearing shorts and a tank top would receive…it’s really as simple as that. They may gaze at here and start dreaming of what is underneath, that can’t be stopped. But in the end, that is mere imagination.

          The hijab is NOT meant to PREVENT sexual harassment…there is an entire set of precautionary guidelines for Muslims, both men and women, to follow so that you can avoid it as much as possible. The weight is on both the man and woman. We do NOT deny sexualization or the reality of it…on the contrary, these guidelines are enforced DUE TO the reality of our oversexualized societies…Both women and men lust, and that is why there are guidelines.

          Feeling powerful by wearing nearly nothing only gives men exactly what they want, and that is one reason why Muslim women cover, so to not give them that satisfaction….the ones that gaze at least..not every man.

          I know men who lower their gaze and would never disrespect women in this manner…that takes a lot of strength and is extremely difficult for a man to do…along with following a dress code as well…so it’s not really the mere responsibility of the woman.

          The fact of the matter is that the commandment to dress modestly for women, particularly the covering of her hair, is simply more visible in public than the commandments for men, such as lowering his gaze…, you simply wouldn’t notice it nor would you notice his dress code which is why there is a misunderstanding that only women bear the responsibility. It’s simply not the case.

    • Abu Fatimah al Britaani

      June 4, 2013 at 7:53 pm

      She never at any point said anything is anyones fault, just that she wishes to cover herself up to prevent men staring at her body like a piece of meat. Nothing wrong with that. I hardly think the current social trends equal sexual liberation, almost naked women getting stared at by loads of guys and putting out to different people, ending up with kids to different men etc. If a woman wanted to take a different root like the hijab we cant blame them for that. Stop with the self hating farah

      • Farah

        June 5, 2013 at 3:46 pm

        Hahaha. You equate my outright criticism of this woman’s stance as self-hating? :p

        //I hardly think the current social trends equal sexual liberation, almost naked women getting stared at by loads of guys and putting out to different people, ending up with kids to different men etc.//

        I think your main problem is with sex itself – that is your own issue, solve it on your own, not my problem.

    • Belle

      June 4, 2013 at 8:08 pm

      “Victim-blaming women that don’t cover themselves”? I’m so sick and tired of hearing women on the offensive about hijab. Just because a woman feels more secure in clothing that covers her body, and decides to write about her positive experiences following that dress-code, doesn’t mean she is victim-blaming anybody. Go write about your mini-skirts and how wonderful topless laws make you feel. And we can write about how covering our bodies make us feel. If we say we feel secure, stop assuming we are victim-blaming anybody. It’s you insecure women who see this reflection from us. Get a life. This was a great piece, Zainab.

      • Flowitshowitlongasgodcangrowit

        June 5, 2013 at 12:47 am

        Yeah, because there is no middle ground between wearing a hijab and being topless in a mini skirt. Typical victim-blaming rhetorics.

        • Belle

          June 5, 2013 at 1:51 pm

          My point was that it was a topless woman writing this article, about how “free” and fabulous and empowered she feels walking around like that, you would have no issues with that, and would argue that it’s her right and choice. But Western feminists can’t stand women who cover and talk about that empowerment. Y’all call it victim-blaming. At the end of the day, this article is about a woman who has chosen a way of dress that has made her secure and well. And instead of respecting her choice, you’ve gone on the offensive about it and labelled her as victim-blaming. Hypocracy.

          • Nancy

            June 5, 2013 at 9:27 pm

            Totally agree Belle. Covering simply doesn’t conform to modern standards of western feminism…what these women do not realize is that there are many different interpretations of feminism! I’m actually astounded by the uniformity of these responses, and the lack of knowledge on the various forms of feminism (which in Zeinab’s case is deemed “victim blaming”, rather than a feminist stride).

            Many women who wear the hijab are feminists, and feel empowered, and feel they have agency by unilaterally taking the decision to cover, rather than uncover and conform(a KEY component of feminism)…including myself.

            Conforming by undressing to many hijabi women is merely another interpretation of conforming to our patriarchal society, men who desire and expect to see us undressed, expect to look at us like sexual objects. This may not prevent them from imagining us as that, but it certainly does not allow for them to go beyond imagining. This is the case for MANY women in the United States, Europe AND THE MIDDLE EAST, believe it or not.

    • VBS

      June 4, 2013 at 10:53 pm

      //So, by extension, women who don’t wear the hijab are just these stupid “sluts” craving for “male attention”//

      Um she never said anything close to this…
      I smell a guilty conscience here 😉

    • Mackenzie

      June 5, 2013 at 12:35 am

      You’re acting like the male gaze ISN’T already a well-known, frequently-discussed topic in feminism that has had a definition for decades. She didn’t invent it as a term for a look some guy gave her. It’s the lens through which women’s bodies are portrayed in the media.

    • Mackenzie

      June 5, 2013 at 10:40 am

      When a man tries to tell a woman that she must make her body available to him, “shove it up your ass” is the most feminist response I can think of. The point is, THAT is what her hijab means for her.

    • Anony

      June 5, 2013 at 2:15 pm

      There is a wide, wiiiiide culture gap in the comments here. Actually, there IS something wrong with men and women looking at each other, at least according to Islam. There are allowances for education and professions, but for the most part, both men and women are directed to “lower their gaze.” The reasoning is that repeated interaction leads to attraction, and chastity is a fundamental principle of Islam. Take it or leave it. You can criticize the religion for it, but in the end, it is (to its followers) the word of God, it’s NOT supposed to conform to your notions of practicality and justice. Furthermore, hijab is about modesty, NOT about a specific kind of dress. Some Muslims believe hijab does not refer to a head covering, but rather, a general form of dress that preserves modesty. As such, hijab is inherently about a mentality, not about a piece of cloth.

    • Cynthia

      June 5, 2013 at 5:46 pm

      I don’t think it’s JUST racism at all. Think how these same men probably react to a fat white woman on the street — screaming insults, mooing. Why? Because she is not playing out the role of a woman the way they want to see a woman. They object to her being there because she has refused (or simply can’t conform) to please the male gaze. In my life i’ve had insults yelled at me when I had short hair, or when I was wearing unisex clothes from the Goodwill (not conforming, refusing to please). I don’t feel like I’m being called out for not wearing hijab, by this article. In fact I felt a little thrill of empathy with the author, because there are many things that those of us who are not Muslims do in America to break the male gaze when we just don’t want to deal with it. I spent my 20s dressed like Ally Sheedy in the Breakfast Club and missed out on much of the sexual harassment that my more conforming peers experienced.

    • Delia

      June 6, 2013 at 9:23 am

      I agree with this post and would like to see the woman who wrote it try to walk down a street in some parts of Pakistan–her home country–or anywhere in Afghanistan or Saudi Arabia WITHOUT her hijab. She’d be facing just as much harrassment and possibly arrest as well.

  16. Farah

    June 4, 2013 at 3:53 pm

    I empathize with this women’s experiences with racism. But that is all it is – racism, nothing more, nothing less. It is not their desire to be able to look at her “uncovered” head or whatever – that is only this woman’s khushfehmee/delusions of grandeur that they want to. :p

    In this article, this woman cleverly uses her experience of racism to promote victim-blaming, and to pretty much shame those women that do not wear the hijab:

    // “So that’s why these white guys hate my hijab – the way I look interrupts their ‘cruises for chicks.’” More specifically, the way I dress denies them their privileged white male gaze – a privilege that society has taught them is their right, especially over women of color//

    So, by extension, women who don’t wear the hijab are just these stupid “sluts” craving for “male attention”.

    //I hate to break it to you, white guys, but your male gaze is one of the major reasons (among many others, rest assured) I began to wear a hijab.//

    Yes – because only white men can have these “perversions” (as she would call it) – desi and Muslim men are all just angels that never creepily stare at anyone (Joke of the century!). I wonder what she even means by the “male gaze” here – I bet that for her “male gaze” is simply looking in the way that guys of *all* races naturally would look at someone they find attractive. Staring is rude, just looking at someone and admiring their beauty is NOT. But even if it is creepy stares than the woman does is not the one to be blamed for it – nor is her choice of dressing – and anyone who thinks otherwise along with this woman can go fuck themselves.

    She is just someone who is anti-sexuality and would like to glorify her sex-negative notions under the garb of racism, while making gross generalizations about white men, and victim-blaming women that don’t cover themselves.

    And guess what? People are so fucking stupid, that they won’t question her stupidity either, they’ll all just say, “Oh, whattay brave woman! Standing strong in the face of racism!”

    This article is basically just a piece of Muslim propaganda to glorify victim-blaming, to promote disgusting attitude towards sexuality AND to glorify hijab – something that has a lot of control and force associated with it.

    • Mackenzie

      June 4, 2013 at 6:04 pm

      I don’t think the author is going so far as to say “I wear a hijab, therefore I am not craving male attention, unlike women who don’t wear hijabs.” Rather, I read Zainab’s piece as placing the burden on the white men of Wesleyan (as the entitled majority). How you read her piece as glorified propaganda is ridiculous; if her editorial had been from a white woman who was discussing her choice not to wear revealing clothing and how she was perceived, you wouldn’t have said anything. The fact that it was a hijab denying the male gaze, rather than a secular hat or hood, only goes further to emphasize the entitlement these men feel when considering a woman, and the female body. Instead of just driving by on these “cruises,” these men felt indignant enough to openly comment on Zainab’s personhood, as though they held some sort of ownership or stake in what she “should’ be wearing. Having recently graduated from a university with a white majority, and as a woman of color (though sans-hijab wearing), I have experienced the same judgement from white males over the way I was dressed, or given looks if I wasn’t conforming to their standards. Obviously these critiques and judgments aren’t restricted to white males, but the history of white male ownership of diverse women’s bodies can’t be ignored in this discussion.

      • Lucia

        June 4, 2013 at 9:37 pm

        “if her editorial had been from a white woman who was discussing her choice not to wear revealing clothing and how she was perceived, you wouldn’t have said anything.”

        I’d say the case would be quite the opposite; if this were written by a white woman everyone, (including you, McKenzie), would have a negative reaction to the post because then it would be an issue of women being shamed and expected to hide their sexuality. I wouldn’t ave stated it as caustically, but I readily agree with the original poster.

      • Farah

        June 5, 2013 at 3:40 pm

        When you say things like:

        //“So that’s why these white guys hate my hijab – the way I look interrupts their ‘cruises for chicks.’” More specifically, the way I dress denies them their privileged white male gaze – a privilege that society has taught them is their right, especially over women of color//

        You are basically saying that women *are* responsible for controlling male gaze. Let’s not tiptoe around this…

        • Angela Denk

          June 6, 2013 at 9:28 am

          Farah, you are absolutely dead-on with your interpretation of that statement. The author has thrown control of, hence responsibility for, the “male gaze” onto the women.

        • MBS

          June 6, 2013 at 9:30 am

          I tire of people saying “since you said this you essentially mean that” If that is what she wanted to say that is what she would have said. IF it is simply an either or then YOU would be saying that it is her responsibility that she is getting the negative comments about her hijab. Following your logic no matter what… it is the woman’s fault/responsibility. BUT, I will not assume that is what you are saying unless you truly say it.

          Just because I chose not to wear a bikini because I don’t want to deal with rude people telling me my body shape should not be in a bikini does not mean that stupid comments are the fault of the women who wear bikini’s. It just means I don’t want to deal with the jerks.

    • Dez

      June 4, 2013 at 7:46 pm

      @Farah
      You took the words right out of my mouth. In the minds of these bigoted simpletons, they equate the hijab with muslims, and they hate muslims. The sexual component isn’t on their radar.
      But that shouldn’t stop us from hating white guys, right? Or projecting our own fallacious conjecture onto their “gaze”, nor painting with the accompanying broad brush?
      this stereotyping is equally dangerous, if not more subtle and insidious, due to the presupposition of moral high ground. at least their bigotry can be seen from a mile away.

      • Farah

        June 5, 2013 at 4:02 pm

        Thank you, Dez.

        But apart from this stereotyping, this article reeks of “holier than thou” mentality. She “defies” the “white male gaze” somehow by wearing the hijab and feels more “virtuous” than other women in doing so because, obviously, those other women are just these stupid fools who want their worth to be defined by the “white male gaze”. That’s pretty much the point she makes – knowingly or unknowingly.

        I have never worn the hijab and never will – I DO like it when someone admires my looks. However, if a guy was to give me creepy stares and made me feel uncomfortable, I would give him a middle finger for it – that is the way I will defy the male gaze (that is not restricted to just a particular race, FFS).

        To use the hijab to “defy” it somehow is to surrender to the notion that women’s clothes are responsible for creepy stares. No they are not – obscenity is in a person’s mind, not in a woman’s clothes. And my middle finger is enough to defy all such creep stares, thankfully. 🙂

        • Nancy

          June 5, 2013 at 9:06 pm

          I am a Muslim, hijab wearing, feminist.

          I think people here are over theorizing and over analyzing…excessively focusing on the “white male” and less on her actual reasoning..it has nothing to do with the white male…that was just her example, rooted in her particular society.

          She in no way says that white males are the sole problem…nor does she say that the hijab prevents them from gazing, nor is it merely a woman’s “responsibility” to stop the man from gazing.

          What she says is that she holds the power to limit what the man can see, deny them NOT of gazing, but of gazing at her in the sexual manner someone wearing shorts and a tank top would receive…it’s really as simple as that. They may gaze at here and start dreaming of what is underneath, that can’t be stopped. But in the end, that is mere imagination.

          The hijab is NOT meant to PREVENT sexual harassment…there is an entire set of precautionary guidelines for Muslims, both men and women, to follow so that you can avoid it as much as possible. The weight is on both the man and woman. We do NOT deny sexualization or the reality of it…on the contrary, these guidelines are enforced DUE TO the reality of our oversexualized societies…Both women and men lust, and that is why there are guidelines.

          Feeling powerful by wearing nearly nothing only gives men exactly what they want, and that is one reason why Muslim women cover, so to not give them that satisfaction….the ones that gaze at least..not every man.

          I know men who lower their gaze and would never disrespect women in this manner…that takes a lot of strength and is extremely difficult for a man to do…along with following a dress code as well…so it’s not really the mere responsibility of the woman.

          The fact of the matter is that the commandment to dress modestly for women, particularly the covering of her hair, is simply more visible in public than the commandments for men, such as lowering his gaze…, you simply wouldn’t notice it nor would you notice his dress code which is why there is a misunderstanding that only women bear the responsibility. It’s simply not the case.

    • Abu Fatimah al Britaani

      June 4, 2013 at 7:53 pm

      She never at any point said anything is anyones fault, just that she wishes to cover herself up to prevent men staring at her body like a piece of meat. Nothing wrong with that. I hardly think the current social trends equal sexual liberation, almost naked women getting stared at by loads of guys and putting out to different people, ending up with kids to different men etc. If a woman wanted to take a different root like the hijab we cant blame them for that. Stop with the self hating farah

      • Farah

        June 5, 2013 at 3:46 pm

        Hahaha. You equate my outright criticism of this woman’s stance as self-hating? :p

        //I hardly think the current social trends equal sexual liberation, almost naked women getting stared at by loads of guys and putting out to different people, ending up with kids to different men etc.//

        I think your main problem is with sex itself – that is your own issue, solve it on your own, not my problem.

    • Belle

      June 4, 2013 at 8:08 pm

      “Victim-blaming women that don’t cover themselves”? I’m so sick and tired of hearing women on the offensive about hijab. Just because a woman feels more secure in clothing that covers her body, and decides to write about her positive experiences following that dress-code, doesn’t mean she is victim-blaming anybody. Go write about your mini-skirts and how wonderful topless laws make you feel. And we can write about how covering our bodies make us feel. If we say we feel secure, stop assuming we are victim-blaming anybody. It’s you insecure women who see this reflection from us. Get a life. This was a great piece, Zainab.

      • Flowitshowitlongasgodcangrowit

        June 5, 2013 at 12:47 am

        Yeah, because there is no middle ground between wearing a hijab and being topless in a mini skirt. Typical victim-blaming rhetorics.

        • Belle

          June 5, 2013 at 1:51 pm

          My point was that it was a topless woman writing this article, about how “free” and fabulous and empowered she feels walking around like that, you would have no issues with that, and would argue that it’s her right and choice. But Western feminists can’t stand women who cover and talk about that empowerment. Y’all call it victim-blaming. At the end of the day, this article is about a woman who has chosen a way of dress that has made her secure and well. And instead of respecting her choice, you’ve gone on the offensive about it and labelled her as victim-blaming. Hypocracy.

          • Nancy

            June 5, 2013 at 9:27 pm

            Totally agree Belle. Covering simply doesn’t conform to modern standards of western feminism…what these women do not realize is that there are many different interpretations of feminism! I’m actually astounded by the uniformity of these responses, and the lack of knowledge on the various forms of feminism (which in Zeinab’s case is deemed “victim blaming”, rather than a feminist stride).

            Many women who wear the hijab are feminists, and feel empowered, and feel they have agency by unilaterally taking the decision to cover, rather than uncover and conform(a KEY component of feminism)…including myself.

            Conforming by undressing to many hijabi women is merely another interpretation of conforming to our patriarchal society, men who desire and expect to see us undressed, expect to look at us like sexual objects. This may not prevent them from imagining us as that, but it certainly does not allow for them to go beyond imagining. This is the case for MANY women in the United States, Europe AND THE MIDDLE EAST, believe it or not.

    • VBS

      June 4, 2013 at 10:53 pm

      //So, by extension, women who don’t wear the hijab are just these stupid “sluts” craving for “male attention”//

      Um she never said anything close to this…
      I smell a guilty conscience here 😉

    • Mackenzie

      June 5, 2013 at 12:35 am

      You’re acting like the male gaze ISN’T already a well-known, frequently-discussed topic in feminism that has had a definition for decades. She didn’t invent it as a term for a look some guy gave her. It’s the lens through which women’s bodies are portrayed in the media.

    • Mackenzie

      June 5, 2013 at 10:40 am

      When a man tries to tell a woman that she must make her body available to him, “shove it up your ass” is the most feminist response I can think of. The point is, THAT is what her hijab means for her.

    • Anony

      June 5, 2013 at 2:15 pm

      There is a wide, wiiiiide culture gap in the comments here. Actually, there IS something wrong with men and women looking at each other, at least according to Islam. There are allowances for education and professions, but for the most part, both men and women are directed to “lower their gaze.” The reasoning is that repeated interaction leads to attraction, and chastity is a fundamental principle of Islam. Take it or leave it. You can criticize the religion for it, but in the end, it is (to its followers) the word of God, it’s NOT supposed to conform to your notions of practicality and justice. Furthermore, hijab is about modesty, NOT about a specific kind of dress. Some Muslims believe hijab does not refer to a head covering, but rather, a general form of dress that preserves modesty. As such, hijab is inherently about a mentality, not about a piece of cloth.

    • Cynthia

      June 5, 2013 at 5:46 pm

      I don’t think it’s JUST racism at all. Think how these same men probably react to a fat white woman on the street — screaming insults, mooing. Why? Because she is not playing out the role of a woman the way they want to see a woman. They object to her being there because she has refused (or simply can’t conform) to please the male gaze. In my life i’ve had insults yelled at me when I had short hair, or when I was wearing unisex clothes from the Goodwill (not conforming, refusing to please). I don’t feel like I’m being called out for not wearing hijab, by this article. In fact I felt a little thrill of empathy with the author, because there are many things that those of us who are not Muslims do in America to break the male gaze when we just don’t want to deal with it. I spent my 20s dressed like Ally Sheedy in the Breakfast Club and missed out on much of the sexual harassment that my more conforming peers experienced.

    • Delia

      June 6, 2013 at 9:23 am

      I agree with this post and would like to see the woman who wrote it try to walk down a street in some parts of Pakistan–her home country–or anywhere in Afghanistan or Saudi Arabia WITHOUT her hijab. She’d be facing just as much harrassment and possibly arrest as well.

  17. maheen

    June 4, 2013 at 3:54 pm

    I disagree and the only reason i disagree with your analysis or at least the line of reasoning is that unfortunately, this sort of acceptance places the burden on the woman for the man’s gaze. It really does not matter how one is dressed, we have the right to whatever and however we want to dress…men’s control on their gaze has nothing to do with our hijabs…these men perhaps do at some level dislike it because they are missing out on precious display of skin and therefore react in their testosterone filled ignorant manner. In reality, they have an issue because we are women, and we made the CHOICE to not fit in the media liked way of being a woman…but, i don’t think that the hijab in itself automatically averts their gaze. Plenty of men will look irrespective and that hs to do with their self-control than our display of skin or lack thereof.

    I have been lucky enough to not face such overt display of ignorance Allahumdullilah–of course, looks of disapproval are the norm. The way i see it is, idiots are idiots, they will find one thing or another to react in their idiotic way …

    • Abu Fatimah al Britaani

      June 4, 2013 at 7:50 pm

      And what do you propose instead? Outlawing looking at people? Men checking women out is a fact of life and muslim women arent going to just walk around naked in the hope that men act responsibly, because as we can clearly see, they arent going to do so

      • Gambetto

        June 5, 2013 at 4:00 am

        Different dynamics are at play here. Your comment seems to imply that the hijab actually does stop men from noticing, staring at or abusing women. It does not. It does nothing, less than nothing. Ask the women in Pakistan and Egypt, for starters. Ask the hijab and burqa-wearing women in those countries. Heck, ask the women in Saudi Arabia.

        I would also like to add that there is nothing wrong with looking at the opposite sex (what you call “checking out”). Street and sexual harassment encompasses more than mere looking. Women look at men too but seldom do they harass them. There is a difference.

        Zainab seems to have mixed up a case of pure racism and street harassment with the thought that perhaps men are abusing her because she is robbing them of looking at her. Yes, street harassment is not always “complimentary”, many women get abuse for not meeting the expectations of harassers and they are not all hibajis…case in point, me. But I am going to focus on the racism for starters.

        I am not easily identifiable as a brown woman despite being a Pakistani because I don’t look exactly how they picture a brown woman and I wear clothes that make me blend in with everyone around me. I still encountered racism once when I told someone where I was from. The person had been perfectly normal with me before he knew my nationality after which would drop horrid comments about the Middle East. He was somehow convinced Pakistan was in the Middle East and when I called him out on his racism (and misinformation), he cut all contact. But I have had only one such incident. The city matters. Middletown is not nearly as ethnically, nationally or religiously diverse as NYC or other large cities. That you state that there is only one other hijabi in your campus is telling. NYC, where I’ve lived the longest, has a significant brown/Muslim population. The racism a person will encounter in the US will vary significantly depending on which city you are in.

        I’m sorry that you have to suffer through such vile comments but please try to view the events more objectively. I was walking around today and there was a black woman in a burqa walking right by me. No one so much as looked either in her direction OR mine. Harlem is full of Muslims so there is nothing to notice about it. Short train rides away you have Jackson Heights in Queens which is known for its huge desi population. In the other direction, in Brooklyn, you have Little Pakistan. Columbia University itself has a huge Muslim population. I was doing research on Pakistani Muslims and one of my contacts was an undergrad student at Columbia. When I met her in the cafeteria, I saw at least 4 hijabi wearing women in that small space. I assure you, from my interviews, most of the sexual harassment Pakistani women face in NY is not by “white guys” but by their own brown country men. This was to the extent that they were discouraged from attending the Eid melas due to the behavior of Pakistani men “cruising for chicks” in the crowd.

        That is not to single out any community for being the only one to engage in sexual harassment but, just like you, I do tend to notice locations which are unsafe and the kind of people who sexually harass me and the women around me the most. In New York, it’s black men and brown men, not white men who, in my experience, resort to the most street harassment. I could get into the reasons why but they would have nothing to do with their skin color or sex. Men checking out women may be a fact of life (as is the reverse) but street harassment is a different ball game and can be curbed without cloaking all woman in swathes of clothes. How much harassment do you see on nudist beaches or in tribes across the globe where women go bare-breasted, for instance? Some men may look at me, some may harass me, but most do not even look my way. Your clothes, and the excess or lack thereof, does not matter. Attitudes towards women do.

        Peace.

        • Imran

          June 5, 2013 at 12:03 pm

          Agree with Gambetto. This has nothing to do with white guys being upset for disallowing them to see more of what they want. This is pure racism–and it happens everywhere.

          As a guy and one who was born and raised here as well as went to college in the Midwest, I know what most testorene late-teens/early-20s dudes are thinking. And if they can’t get the “chick” of their choice, or get to stare at one which they like, they’ll just move on to the next. So by them yelling at Zainab, is not a retort to being denied–its just the fact they didn’t like her. And while ALL guys are not guilty of prejudice or vindictiveness towards a woman making her own personal choice of attire, most of us are intelligent enough to figure out there are plenty of girls out there who we can find appealing, attractive, etc., whatever most guys use to justify their own gaze.

      • Delia

        June 6, 2013 at 9:28 am

        During the times I travelled through Egypt and Palestine, I didn’t wear hijab but I did wear mirrored sunglasses. Everywhere I was, at any time–indoors or outdoors, day or night–there were PLENTY of Moslem men leering at me, winking, rolling their tongues around in a suggestive manner, etc.–right to my face, except they couldn’t be sure whether or not I was looking at them. If the premise that White men “hate” the hijab because it interrupts their so-called right to “gaze,” what do lustful, disrespectful reactions to a White-looking woman without hijab say about Moslem Arab men?

    • Saif

      June 5, 2013 at 5:24 am

      Actually the command to lower the gaze for both men and women is in the Quran itself. Men and women are both required to dress modestly and even after that they are commanded to lower their gaze. First men are told to lower their gaze and the verse following it commands women to do the same.

      “Say to the believing men that they should lower their gaze and guard their modesty: that will make for greater purity for them: And Allah is well acquainted with all that they do.” [Quran 24:30]

      If I were to object to anything in this article it would be the reference to white men. This sort of behaviour is not restricted to white men only but all men.

      • male

        June 5, 2013 at 4:06 pm

        I feel that the requirements upon Muslim men and women to lower their gaze is the primary requirement, and it is a beautiful requirement. It nips the problem in the bud. While “gazing” itself can’t be considered inherently problematic, it is the first step in cases of harassment. 100% of gazing doesn’t lead to harassment, but 100% of harassment can be curbed by making it socially unacceptable to gaze at someone with those kinds of intentions. Obviously this doesn’t address harassment in private, but if people follow a set of moral guidelines that prevent you from staring at a strange woman, even if no one is around to call you out on it, then we will see more “responsible” men.

        Right now feminism expects men to follow common sense and not harass their fellow humans, but simply calling for it is not an effective or practical STRATEGY towards making this expectation a reality.

        Islam’s requirement to lower the gaze acknowledges this problem, and finds an effective pre-emptive solution. In fact, Islam even says to never be alone in the same room as a member of the opposite sex (wit the exception of spouses) in order to pre-empt any unsavory situation. I think the reason we don’t see this being as effective as it was during the early days of Islam is because for it to work it needs to be a social norm (which it was for a time), so that society polices itself, as well as something ingrained in people from their early adult lives (especially in males) so that it sticks with them in moments of privacy. This is far from the case today.

        A major problem is that Muslims (usually males) consider this requirement of lowering one’s gaze secondary to the covering of the body, which is also commanded. The explanation for this problem is simple, and understanding it is essential for solving the problem: people find it far easier to correct the mistakes of others than to correct their own shortcomings. Muslim men see the woman who is dressed skimpily and get all bent out of shape instead of correcting their own behavior. It suddenly becomes paramount to ensure that everyone is conforming to the external requirements of Islam rather than the internal, introspective aspects of it. This is a problem that has been plaguing Muslims with regard to a number of topics, and when it comes to how men and women interact it becomes painfully apparent.

        I’m not an expert on any of this, I just think a lot of problems and questions raised by feminists are addressed in many places by the proper application of Islam. That’s my opinion, and I would love discussion and criticism. I consider myself a learner with an open mind, so please don’t feel the need to write me off as a chauvinist if that is what I come across as.

        Peace.

        • Nancy

          June 5, 2013 at 8:49 pm

          This is perfectly said:

          “Right now feminism expects men to follow common sense and not harass their fellow humans, but simply calling for it is not an effective or practical STRATEGY towards making this expectation a reality.

          Islam’s requirement to lower the gaze acknowledges this problem, and finds an effective pre-emptive solution. In fact, Islam even says to never be alone in the same room as a member of the opposite sex (wit the exception of spouses) in order to pre-empt any unsavory situation. I think the reason we don’t see this being as effective as it was during the early days of Islam is because for it to work it needs to be a social norm (which it was for a time), so that society polices itself, as well as something ingrained in people from their early adult lives (especially in males) so that it sticks with them in moments of privacy. This is far from the case today.”

  18. maheen

    June 4, 2013 at 3:54 pm

    I disagree and the only reason i disagree with your analysis or at least the line of reasoning is that unfortunately, this sort of acceptance places the burden on the woman for the man’s gaze. It really does not matter how one is dressed, we have the right to whatever and however we want to dress…men’s control on their gaze has nothing to do with our hijabs…these men perhaps do at some level dislike it because they are missing out on precious display of skin and therefore react in their testosterone filled ignorant manner. In reality, they have an issue because we are women, and we made the CHOICE to not fit in the media liked way of being a woman…but, i don’t think that the hijab in itself automatically averts their gaze. Plenty of men will look irrespective and that hs to do with their self-control than our display of skin or lack thereof.

    I have been lucky enough to not face such overt display of ignorance Allahumdullilah–of course, looks of disapproval are the norm. The way i see it is, idiots are idiots, they will find one thing or another to react in their idiotic way …

    • Abu Fatimah al Britaani

      June 4, 2013 at 7:50 pm

      And what do you propose instead? Outlawing looking at people? Men checking women out is a fact of life and muslim women arent going to just walk around naked in the hope that men act responsibly, because as we can clearly see, they arent going to do so

      • Gambetto

        June 5, 2013 at 4:00 am

        Different dynamics are at play here. Your comment seems to imply that the hijab actually does stop men from noticing, staring at or abusing women. It does not. It does nothing, less than nothing. Ask the women in Pakistan and Egypt, for starters. Ask the hijab and burqa-wearing women in those countries. Heck, ask the women in Saudi Arabia.

        I would also like to add that there is nothing wrong with looking at the opposite sex (what you call “checking out”). Street and sexual harassment encompasses more than mere looking. Women look at men too but seldom do they harass them. There is a difference.

        Zainab seems to have mixed up a case of pure racism and street harassment with the thought that perhaps men are abusing her because she is robbing them of looking at her. Yes, street harassment is not always “complimentary”, many women get abuse for not meeting the expectations of harassers and they are not all hibajis…case in point, me. But I am going to focus on the racism for starters.

        I am not easily identifiable as a brown woman despite being a Pakistani because I don’t look exactly how they picture a brown woman and I wear clothes that make me blend in with everyone around me. I still encountered racism once when I told someone where I was from. The person had been perfectly normal with me before he knew my nationality after which would drop horrid comments about the Middle East. He was somehow convinced Pakistan was in the Middle East and when I called him out on his racism (and misinformation), he cut all contact. But I have had only one such incident. The city matters. Middletown is not nearly as ethnically, nationally or religiously diverse as NYC or other large cities. That you state that there is only one other hijabi in your campus is telling. NYC, where I’ve lived the longest, has a significant brown/Muslim population. The racism a person will encounter in the US will vary significantly depending on which city you are in.

        I’m sorry that you have to suffer through such vile comments but please try to view the events more objectively. I was walking around today and there was a black woman in a burqa walking right by me. No one so much as looked either in her direction OR mine. Harlem is full of Muslims so there is nothing to notice about it. Short train rides away you have Jackson Heights in Queens which is known for its huge desi population. In the other direction, in Brooklyn, you have Little Pakistan. Columbia University itself has a huge Muslim population. I was doing research on Pakistani Muslims and one of my contacts was an undergrad student at Columbia. When I met her in the cafeteria, I saw at least 4 hijabi wearing women in that small space. I assure you, from my interviews, most of the sexual harassment Pakistani women face in NY is not by “white guys” but by their own brown country men. This was to the extent that they were discouraged from attending the Eid melas due to the behavior of Pakistani men “cruising for chicks” in the crowd.

        That is not to single out any community for being the only one to engage in sexual harassment but, just like you, I do tend to notice locations which are unsafe and the kind of people who sexually harass me and the women around me the most. In New York, it’s black men and brown men, not white men who, in my experience, resort to the most street harassment. I could get into the reasons why but they would have nothing to do with their skin color or sex. Men checking out women may be a fact of life (as is the reverse) but street harassment is a different ball game and can be curbed without cloaking all woman in swathes of clothes. How much harassment do you see on nudist beaches or in tribes across the globe where women go bare-breasted, for instance? Some men may look at me, some may harass me, but most do not even look my way. Your clothes, and the excess or lack thereof, does not matter. Attitudes towards women do.

        Peace.

        • Imran

          June 5, 2013 at 12:03 pm

          Agree with Gambetto. This has nothing to do with white guys being upset for disallowing them to see more of what they want. This is pure racism–and it happens everywhere.

          As a guy and one who was born and raised here as well as went to college in the Midwest, I know what most testorene late-teens/early-20s dudes are thinking. And if they can’t get the “chick” of their choice, or get to stare at one which they like, they’ll just move on to the next. So by them yelling at Zainab, is not a retort to being denied–its just the fact they didn’t like her. And while ALL guys are not guilty of prejudice or vindictiveness towards a woman making her own personal choice of attire, most of us are intelligent enough to figure out there are plenty of girls out there who we can find appealing, attractive, etc., whatever most guys use to justify their own gaze.

      • Delia

        June 6, 2013 at 9:28 am

        During the times I travelled through Egypt and Palestine, I didn’t wear hijab but I did wear mirrored sunglasses. Everywhere I was, at any time–indoors or outdoors, day or night–there were PLENTY of Moslem men leering at me, winking, rolling their tongues around in a suggestive manner, etc.–right to my face, except they couldn’t be sure whether or not I was looking at them. If the premise that White men “hate” the hijab because it interrupts their so-called right to “gaze,” what do lustful, disrespectful reactions to a White-looking woman without hijab say about Moslem Arab men?

    • Saif

      June 5, 2013 at 5:24 am

      Actually the command to lower the gaze for both men and women is in the Quran itself. Men and women are both required to dress modestly and even after that they are commanded to lower their gaze. First men are told to lower their gaze and the verse following it commands women to do the same.

      “Say to the believing men that they should lower their gaze and guard their modesty: that will make for greater purity for them: And Allah is well acquainted with all that they do.” [Quran 24:30]

      If I were to object to anything in this article it would be the reference to white men. This sort of behaviour is not restricted to white men only but all men.

      • male

        June 5, 2013 at 4:06 pm

        I feel that the requirements upon Muslim men and women to lower their gaze is the primary requirement, and it is a beautiful requirement. It nips the problem in the bud. While “gazing” itself can’t be considered inherently problematic, it is the first step in cases of harassment. 100% of gazing doesn’t lead to harassment, but 100% of harassment can be curbed by making it socially unacceptable to gaze at someone with those kinds of intentions. Obviously this doesn’t address harassment in private, but if people follow a set of moral guidelines that prevent you from staring at a strange woman, even if no one is around to call you out on it, then we will see more “responsible” men.

        Right now feminism expects men to follow common sense and not harass their fellow humans, but simply calling for it is not an effective or practical STRATEGY towards making this expectation a reality.

        Islam’s requirement to lower the gaze acknowledges this problem, and finds an effective pre-emptive solution. In fact, Islam even says to never be alone in the same room as a member of the opposite sex (wit the exception of spouses) in order to pre-empt any unsavory situation. I think the reason we don’t see this being as effective as it was during the early days of Islam is because for it to work it needs to be a social norm (which it was for a time), so that society polices itself, as well as something ingrained in people from their early adult lives (especially in males) so that it sticks with them in moments of privacy. This is far from the case today.

        A major problem is that Muslims (usually males) consider this requirement of lowering one’s gaze secondary to the covering of the body, which is also commanded. The explanation for this problem is simple, and understanding it is essential for solving the problem: people find it far easier to correct the mistakes of others than to correct their own shortcomings. Muslim men see the woman who is dressed skimpily and get all bent out of shape instead of correcting their own behavior. It suddenly becomes paramount to ensure that everyone is conforming to the external requirements of Islam rather than the internal, introspective aspects of it. This is a problem that has been plaguing Muslims with regard to a number of topics, and when it comes to how men and women interact it becomes painfully apparent.

        I’m not an expert on any of this, I just think a lot of problems and questions raised by feminists are addressed in many places by the proper application of Islam. That’s my opinion, and I would love discussion and criticism. I consider myself a learner with an open mind, so please don’t feel the need to write me off as a chauvinist if that is what I come across as.

        Peace.

        • Nancy

          June 5, 2013 at 8:49 pm

          This is perfectly said:

          “Right now feminism expects men to follow common sense and not harass their fellow humans, but simply calling for it is not an effective or practical STRATEGY towards making this expectation a reality.

          Islam’s requirement to lower the gaze acknowledges this problem, and finds an effective pre-emptive solution. In fact, Islam even says to never be alone in the same room as a member of the opposite sex (wit the exception of spouses) in order to pre-empt any unsavory situation. I think the reason we don’t see this being as effective as it was during the early days of Islam is because for it to work it needs to be a social norm (which it was for a time), so that society polices itself, as well as something ingrained in people from their early adult lives (especially in males) so that it sticks with them in moments of privacy. This is far from the case today.”

  19. maheen

    June 4, 2013 at 3:54 pm

    I disagree and the only reason i disagree with your analysis or at least the line of reasoning is that unfortunately, this sort of acceptance places the burden on the woman for the man’s gaze. It really does not matter how one is dressed, we have the right to whatever and however we want to dress…men’s control on their gaze has nothing to do with our hijabs…these men perhaps do at some level dislike it because they are missing out on precious display of skin and therefore react in their testosterone filled ignorant manner. In reality, they have an issue because we are women, and we made the CHOICE to not fit in the media liked way of being a woman…but, i don’t think that the hijab in itself automatically averts their gaze. Plenty of men will look irrespective and that hs to do with their self-control than our display of skin or lack thereof.

    I have been lucky enough to not face such overt display of ignorance Allahumdullilah–of course, looks of disapproval are the norm. The way i see it is, idiots are idiots, they will find one thing or another to react in their idiotic way …

    • Abu Fatimah al Britaani

      June 4, 2013 at 7:50 pm

      And what do you propose instead? Outlawing looking at people? Men checking women out is a fact of life and muslim women arent going to just walk around naked in the hope that men act responsibly, because as we can clearly see, they arent going to do so

      • Gambetto

        June 5, 2013 at 4:00 am

        Different dynamics are at play here. Your comment seems to imply that the hijab actually does stop men from noticing, staring at or abusing women. It does not. It does nothing, less than nothing. Ask the women in Pakistan and Egypt, for starters. Ask the hijab and burqa-wearing women in those countries. Heck, ask the women in Saudi Arabia.

        I would also like to add that there is nothing wrong with looking at the opposite sex (what you call “checking out”). Street and sexual harassment encompasses more than mere looking. Women look at men too but seldom do they harass them. There is a difference.

        Zainab seems to have mixed up a case of pure racism and street harassment with the thought that perhaps men are abusing her because she is robbing them of looking at her. Yes, street harassment is not always “complimentary”, many women get abuse for not meeting the expectations of harassers and they are not all hibajis…case in point, me. But I am going to focus on the racism for starters.

        I am not easily identifiable as a brown woman despite being a Pakistani because I don’t look exactly how they picture a brown woman and I wear clothes that make me blend in with everyone around me. I still encountered racism once when I told someone where I was from. The person had been perfectly normal with me before he knew my nationality after which would drop horrid comments about the Middle East. He was somehow convinced Pakistan was in the Middle East and when I called him out on his racism (and misinformation), he cut all contact. But I have had only one such incident. The city matters. Middletown is not nearly as ethnically, nationally or religiously diverse as NYC or other large cities. That you state that there is only one other hijabi in your campus is telling. NYC, where I’ve lived the longest, has a significant brown/Muslim population. The racism a person will encounter in the US will vary significantly depending on which city you are in.

        I’m sorry that you have to suffer through such vile comments but please try to view the events more objectively. I was walking around today and there was a black woman in a burqa walking right by me. No one so much as looked either in her direction OR mine. Harlem is full of Muslims so there is nothing to notice about it. Short train rides away you have Jackson Heights in Queens which is known for its huge desi population. In the other direction, in Brooklyn, you have Little Pakistan. Columbia University itself has a huge Muslim population. I was doing research on Pakistani Muslims and one of my contacts was an undergrad student at Columbia. When I met her in the cafeteria, I saw at least 4 hijabi wearing women in that small space. I assure you, from my interviews, most of the sexual harassment Pakistani women face in NY is not by “white guys” but by their own brown country men. This was to the extent that they were discouraged from attending the Eid melas due to the behavior of Pakistani men “cruising for chicks” in the crowd.

        That is not to single out any community for being the only one to engage in sexual harassment but, just like you, I do tend to notice locations which are unsafe and the kind of people who sexually harass me and the women around me the most. In New York, it’s black men and brown men, not white men who, in my experience, resort to the most street harassment. I could get into the reasons why but they would have nothing to do with their skin color or sex. Men checking out women may be a fact of life (as is the reverse) but street harassment is a different ball game and can be curbed without cloaking all woman in swathes of clothes. How much harassment do you see on nudist beaches or in tribes across the globe where women go bare-breasted, for instance? Some men may look at me, some may harass me, but most do not even look my way. Your clothes, and the excess or lack thereof, does not matter. Attitudes towards women do.

        Peace.

        • Imran

          June 5, 2013 at 12:03 pm

          Agree with Gambetto. This has nothing to do with white guys being upset for disallowing them to see more of what they want. This is pure racism–and it happens everywhere.

          As a guy and one who was born and raised here as well as went to college in the Midwest, I know what most testorene late-teens/early-20s dudes are thinking. And if they can’t get the “chick” of their choice, or get to stare at one which they like, they’ll just move on to the next. So by them yelling at Zainab, is not a retort to being denied–its just the fact they didn’t like her. And while ALL guys are not guilty of prejudice or vindictiveness towards a woman making her own personal choice of attire, most of us are intelligent enough to figure out there are plenty of girls out there who we can find appealing, attractive, etc., whatever most guys use to justify their own gaze.

      • Delia

        June 6, 2013 at 9:28 am

        During the times I travelled through Egypt and Palestine, I didn’t wear hijab but I did wear mirrored sunglasses. Everywhere I was, at any time–indoors or outdoors, day or night–there were PLENTY of Moslem men leering at me, winking, rolling their tongues around in a suggestive manner, etc.–right to my face, except they couldn’t be sure whether or not I was looking at them. If the premise that White men “hate” the hijab because it interrupts their so-called right to “gaze,” what do lustful, disrespectful reactions to a White-looking woman without hijab say about Moslem Arab men?

    • Saif

      June 5, 2013 at 5:24 am

      Actually the command to lower the gaze for both men and women is in the Quran itself. Men and women are both required to dress modestly and even after that they are commanded to lower their gaze. First men are told to lower their gaze and the verse following it commands women to do the same.

      “Say to the believing men that they should lower their gaze and guard their modesty: that will make for greater purity for them: And Allah is well acquainted with all that they do.” [Quran 24:30]

      If I were to object to anything in this article it would be the reference to white men. This sort of behaviour is not restricted to white men only but all men.

      • male

        June 5, 2013 at 4:06 pm

        I feel that the requirements upon Muslim men and women to lower their gaze is the primary requirement, and it is a beautiful requirement. It nips the problem in the bud. While “gazing” itself can’t be considered inherently problematic, it is the first step in cases of harassment. 100% of gazing doesn’t lead to harassment, but 100% of harassment can be curbed by making it socially unacceptable to gaze at someone with those kinds of intentions. Obviously this doesn’t address harassment in private, but if people follow a set of moral guidelines that prevent you from staring at a strange woman, even if no one is around to call you out on it, then we will see more “responsible” men.

        Right now feminism expects men to follow common sense and not harass their fellow humans, but simply calling for it is not an effective or practical STRATEGY towards making this expectation a reality.

        Islam’s requirement to lower the gaze acknowledges this problem, and finds an effective pre-emptive solution. In fact, Islam even says to never be alone in the same room as a member of the opposite sex (wit the exception of spouses) in order to pre-empt any unsavory situation. I think the reason we don’t see this being as effective as it was during the early days of Islam is because for it to work it needs to be a social norm (which it was for a time), so that society polices itself, as well as something ingrained in people from their early adult lives (especially in males) so that it sticks with them in moments of privacy. This is far from the case today.

        A major problem is that Muslims (usually males) consider this requirement of lowering one’s gaze secondary to the covering of the body, which is also commanded. The explanation for this problem is simple, and understanding it is essential for solving the problem: people find it far easier to correct the mistakes of others than to correct their own shortcomings. Muslim men see the woman who is dressed skimpily and get all bent out of shape instead of correcting their own behavior. It suddenly becomes paramount to ensure that everyone is conforming to the external requirements of Islam rather than the internal, introspective aspects of it. This is a problem that has been plaguing Muslims with regard to a number of topics, and when it comes to how men and women interact it becomes painfully apparent.

        I’m not an expert on any of this, I just think a lot of problems and questions raised by feminists are addressed in many places by the proper application of Islam. That’s my opinion, and I would love discussion and criticism. I consider myself a learner with an open mind, so please don’t feel the need to write me off as a chauvinist if that is what I come across as.

        Peace.

        • Nancy

          June 5, 2013 at 8:49 pm

          This is perfectly said:

          “Right now feminism expects men to follow common sense and not harass their fellow humans, but simply calling for it is not an effective or practical STRATEGY towards making this expectation a reality.

          Islam’s requirement to lower the gaze acknowledges this problem, and finds an effective pre-emptive solution. In fact, Islam even says to never be alone in the same room as a member of the opposite sex (wit the exception of spouses) in order to pre-empt any unsavory situation. I think the reason we don’t see this being as effective as it was during the early days of Islam is because for it to work it needs to be a social norm (which it was for a time), so that society polices itself, as well as something ingrained in people from their early adult lives (especially in males) so that it sticks with them in moments of privacy. This is far from the case today.”

  20. maheen

    June 4, 2013 at 3:54 pm

    I disagree and the only reason i disagree with your analysis or at least the line of reasoning is that unfortunately, this sort of acceptance places the burden on the woman for the man’s gaze. It really does not matter how one is dressed, we have the right to whatever and however we want to dress…men’s control on their gaze has nothing to do with our hijabs…these men perhaps do at some level dislike it because they are missing out on precious display of skin and therefore react in their testosterone filled ignorant manner. In reality, they have an issue because we are women, and we made the CHOICE to not fit in the media liked way of being a woman…but, i don’t think that the hijab in itself automatically averts their gaze. Plenty of men will look irrespective and that hs to do with their self-control than our display of skin or lack thereof.

    I have been lucky enough to not face such overt display of ignorance Allahumdullilah–of course, looks of disapproval are the norm. The way i see it is, idiots are idiots, they will find one thing or another to react in their idiotic way …

    • Abu Fatimah al Britaani

      June 4, 2013 at 7:50 pm

      And what do you propose instead? Outlawing looking at people? Men checking women out is a fact of life and muslim women arent going to just walk around naked in the hope that men act responsibly, because as we can clearly see, they arent going to do so

      • Gambetto

        June 5, 2013 at 4:00 am

        Different dynamics are at play here. Your comment seems to imply that the hijab actually does stop men from noticing, staring at or abusing women. It does not. It does nothing, less than nothing. Ask the women in Pakistan and Egypt, for starters. Ask the hijab and burqa-wearing women in those countries. Heck, ask the women in Saudi Arabia.

        I would also like to add that there is nothing wrong with looking at the opposite sex (what you call “checking out”). Street and sexual harassment encompasses more than mere looking. Women look at men too but seldom do they harass them. There is a difference.

        Zainab seems to have mixed up a case of pure racism and street harassment with the thought that perhaps men are abusing her because she is robbing them of looking at her. Yes, street harassment is not always “complimentary”, many women get abuse for not meeting the expectations of harassers and they are not all hibajis…case in point, me. But I am going to focus on the racism for starters.

        I am not easily identifiable as a brown woman despite being a Pakistani because I don’t look exactly how they picture a brown woman and I wear clothes that make me blend in with everyone around me. I still encountered racism once when I told someone where I was from. The person had been perfectly normal with me before he knew my nationality after which would drop horrid comments about the Middle East. He was somehow convinced Pakistan was in the Middle East and when I called him out on his racism (and misinformation), he cut all contact. But I have had only one such incident. The city matters. Middletown is not nearly as ethnically, nationally or religiously diverse as NYC or other large cities. That you state that there is only one other hijabi in your campus is telling. NYC, where I’ve lived the longest, has a significant brown/Muslim population. The racism a person will encounter in the US will vary significantly depending on which city you are in.

        I’m sorry that you have to suffer through such vile comments but please try to view the events more objectively. I was walking around today and there was a black woman in a burqa walking right by me. No one so much as looked either in her direction OR mine. Harlem is full of Muslims so there is nothing to notice about it. Short train rides away you have Jackson Heights in Queens which is known for its huge desi population. In the other direction, in Brooklyn, you have Little Pakistan. Columbia University itself has a huge Muslim population. I was doing research on Pakistani Muslims and one of my contacts was an undergrad student at Columbia. When I met her in the cafeteria, I saw at least 4 hijabi wearing women in that small space. I assure you, from my interviews, most of the sexual harassment Pakistani women face in NY is not by “white guys” but by their own brown country men. This was to the extent that they were discouraged from attending the Eid melas due to the behavior of Pakistani men “cruising for chicks” in the crowd.

        That is not to single out any community for being the only one to engage in sexual harassment but, just like you, I do tend to notice locations which are unsafe and the kind of people who sexually harass me and the women around me the most. In New York, it’s black men and brown men, not white men who, in my experience, resort to the most street harassment. I could get into the reasons why but they would have nothing to do with their skin color or sex. Men checking out women may be a fact of life (as is the reverse) but street harassment is a different ball game and can be curbed without cloaking all woman in swathes of clothes. How much harassment do you see on nudist beaches or in tribes across the globe where women go bare-breasted, for instance? Some men may look at me, some may harass me, but most do not even look my way. Your clothes, and the excess or lack thereof, does not matter. Attitudes towards women do.

        Peace.

        • Imran

          June 5, 2013 at 12:03 pm

          Agree with Gambetto. This has nothing to do with white guys being upset for disallowing them to see more of what they want. This is pure racism–and it happens everywhere.

          As a guy and one who was born and raised here as well as went to college in the Midwest, I know what most testorene late-teens/early-20s dudes are thinking. And if they can’t get the “chick” of their choice, or get to stare at one which they like, they’ll just move on to the next. So by them yelling at Zainab, is not a retort to being denied–its just the fact they didn’t like her. And while ALL guys are not guilty of prejudice or vindictiveness towards a woman making her own personal choice of attire, most of us are intelligent enough to figure out there are plenty of girls out there who we can find appealing, attractive, etc., whatever most guys use to justify their own gaze.

      • Delia

        June 6, 2013 at 9:28 am

        During the times I travelled through Egypt and Palestine, I didn’t wear hijab but I did wear mirrored sunglasses. Everywhere I was, at any time–indoors or outdoors, day or night–there were PLENTY of Moslem men leering at me, winking, rolling their tongues around in a suggestive manner, etc.–right to my face, except they couldn’t be sure whether or not I was looking at them. If the premise that White men “hate” the hijab because it interrupts their so-called right to “gaze,” what do lustful, disrespectful reactions to a White-looking woman without hijab say about Moslem Arab men?

    • Saif

      June 5, 2013 at 5:24 am

      Actually the command to lower the gaze for both men and women is in the Quran itself. Men and women are both required to dress modestly and even after that they are commanded to lower their gaze. First men are told to lower their gaze and the verse following it commands women to do the same.

      “Say to the believing men that they should lower their gaze and guard their modesty: that will make for greater purity for them: And Allah is well acquainted with all that they do.” [Quran 24:30]

      If I were to object to anything in this article it would be the reference to white men. This sort of behaviour is not restricted to white men only but all men.

      • male

        June 5, 2013 at 4:06 pm

        I feel that the requirements upon Muslim men and women to lower their gaze is the primary requirement, and it is a beautiful requirement. It nips the problem in the bud. While “gazing” itself can’t be considered inherently problematic, it is the first step in cases of harassment. 100% of gazing doesn’t lead to harassment, but 100% of harassment can be curbed by making it socially unacceptable to gaze at someone with those kinds of intentions. Obviously this doesn’t address harassment in private, but if people follow a set of moral guidelines that prevent you from staring at a strange woman, even if no one is around to call you out on it, then we will see more “responsible” men.

        Right now feminism expects men to follow common sense and not harass their fellow humans, but simply calling for it is not an effective or practical STRATEGY towards making this expectation a reality.

        Islam’s requirement to lower the gaze acknowledges this problem, and finds an effective pre-emptive solution. In fact, Islam even says to never be alone in the same room as a member of the opposite sex (wit the exception of spouses) in order to pre-empt any unsavory situation. I think the reason we don’t see this being as effective as it was during the early days of Islam is because for it to work it needs to be a social norm (which it was for a time), so that society polices itself, as well as something ingrained in people from their early adult lives (especially in males) so that it sticks with them in moments of privacy. This is far from the case today.

        A major problem is that Muslims (usually males) consider this requirement of lowering one’s gaze secondary to the covering of the body, which is also commanded. The explanation for this problem is simple, and understanding it is essential for solving the problem: people find it far easier to correct the mistakes of others than to correct their own shortcomings. Muslim men see the woman who is dressed skimpily and get all bent out of shape instead of correcting their own behavior. It suddenly becomes paramount to ensure that everyone is conforming to the external requirements of Islam rather than the internal, introspective aspects of it. This is a problem that has been plaguing Muslims with regard to a number of topics, and when it comes to how men and women interact it becomes painfully apparent.

        I’m not an expert on any of this, I just think a lot of problems and questions raised by feminists are addressed in many places by the proper application of Islam. That’s my opinion, and I would love discussion and criticism. I consider myself a learner with an open mind, so please don’t feel the need to write me off as a chauvinist if that is what I come across as.

        Peace.

        • Nancy

          June 5, 2013 at 8:49 pm

          This is perfectly said:

          “Right now feminism expects men to follow common sense and not harass their fellow humans, but simply calling for it is not an effective or practical STRATEGY towards making this expectation a reality.

          Islam’s requirement to lower the gaze acknowledges this problem, and finds an effective pre-emptive solution. In fact, Islam even says to never be alone in the same room as a member of the opposite sex (wit the exception of spouses) in order to pre-empt any unsavory situation. I think the reason we don’t see this being as effective as it was during the early days of Islam is because for it to work it needs to be a social norm (which it was for a time), so that society polices itself, as well as something ingrained in people from their early adult lives (especially in males) so that it sticks with them in moments of privacy. This is far from the case today.”

  21. Signe

    June 4, 2013 at 4:08 pm

    I am sorry to hear that this happens to you and grateful that you took the time to share it. I want to also point out, that those same men may holler at you, regardless of your dress, because being female (gay, non white, frail, outsider, etc.) in this culture makes you a socially permissible target for harassment and abuse. They may have chosen this detail to fixate on, but in my experience, the detail doesn’t matter. As a white American female, I have been followed and harassed by men since before my breasts were visible and even more so after, whether I cover, uncover, gain weight, etc. It has taken me a long time to stop internalizing and trying to change myself to avoid the harassment, and even longer to have the courage to speak up because of the pain I feel every time I am told “it’s a compliment,” when it is obviously a form of domination. As a child, fights between boys were closely policed and mediated. A group sexual assault on me by 4-5 boys (some friends) was deemed my own fault and dismissed without punishment by multiple authorities. This effected my willingness to seek help against future assaults by trusted men in my life, and damage my ability to trust all people, because that clear denial of justice and acknowledgement stung worse and cause more nightmares than the attacks themselves. To this day my family and friends often react with disbelieving and dismissive language when I broach the subject. That understanding of my place in the social hierarchy is a bitter scar that I still struggle to stretch past while I am constantly being told that I am an equal and equally responsible for the results of my actions. I admire the strength and self possession you show in your response, and am grateful to learn from the different women around the world who challenge the submissive conformist response that is more common that not. I know I have had more freedom and privilege than many around the world, but I see more and more how much privilege can blind, callous, and distort the way we justify our treatment of ourselves and others. It is a daily chore to examine the fearful urge to possess it rather than risk standing alone and unprotected.

  22. Signe

    June 4, 2013 at 4:08 pm

    I am sorry to hear that this happens to you and grateful that you took the time to share it. I want to also point out, that those same men may holler at you, regardless of your dress, because being female (gay, non white, frail, outsider, etc.) in this culture makes you a socially permissible target for harassment and abuse. They may have chosen this detail to fixate on, but in my experience, the detail doesn’t matter. As a white American female, I have been followed and harassed by men since before my breasts were visible and even more so after, whether I cover, uncover, gain weight, etc. It has taken me a long time to stop internalizing and trying to change myself to avoid the harassment, and even longer to have the courage to speak up because of the pain I feel every time I am told “it’s a compliment,” when it is obviously a form of domination. As a child, fights between boys were closely policed and mediated. A group sexual assault on me by 4-5 boys (some friends) was deemed my own fault and dismissed without punishment by multiple authorities. This effected my willingness to seek help against future assaults by trusted men in my life, and damage my ability to trust all people, because that clear denial of justice and acknowledgement stung worse and cause more nightmares than the attacks themselves. To this day my family and friends often react with disbelieving and dismissive language when I broach the subject. That understanding of my place in the social hierarchy is a bitter scar that I still struggle to stretch past while I am constantly being told that I am an equal and equally responsible for the results of my actions. I admire the strength and self possession you show in your response, and am grateful to learn from the different women around the world who challenge the submissive conformist response that is more common that not. I know I have had more freedom and privilege than many around the world, but I see more and more how much privilege can blind, callous, and distort the way we justify our treatment of ourselves and others. It is a daily chore to examine the fearful urge to possess it rather than risk standing alone and unprotected.

  23. Signe

    June 4, 2013 at 4:08 pm

    I am sorry to hear that this happens to you and grateful that you took the time to share it. I want to also point out, that those same men may holler at you, regardless of your dress, because being female (gay, non white, frail, outsider, etc.) in this culture makes you a socially permissible target for harassment and abuse. They may have chosen this detail to fixate on, but in my experience, the detail doesn’t matter. As a white American female, I have been followed and harassed by men since before my breasts were visible and even more so after, whether I cover, uncover, gain weight, etc. It has taken me a long time to stop internalizing and trying to change myself to avoid the harassment, and even longer to have the courage to speak up because of the pain I feel every time I am told “it’s a compliment,” when it is obviously a form of domination. As a child, fights between boys were closely policed and mediated. A group sexual assault on me by 4-5 boys (some friends) was deemed my own fault and dismissed without punishment by multiple authorities. This effected my willingness to seek help against future assaults by trusted men in my life, and damage my ability to trust all people, because that clear denial of justice and acknowledgement stung worse and cause more nightmares than the attacks themselves. To this day my family and friends often react with disbelieving and dismissive language when I broach the subject. That understanding of my place in the social hierarchy is a bitter scar that I still struggle to stretch past while I am constantly being told that I am an equal and equally responsible for the results of my actions. I admire the strength and self possession you show in your response, and am grateful to learn from the different women around the world who challenge the submissive conformist response that is more common that not. I know I have had more freedom and privilege than many around the world, but I see more and more how much privilege can blind, callous, and distort the way we justify our treatment of ourselves and others. It is a daily chore to examine the fearful urge to possess it rather than risk standing alone and unprotected.

  24. Signe

    June 4, 2013 at 4:08 pm

    I am sorry to hear that this happens to you and grateful that you took the time to share it. I want to also point out, that those same men may holler at you, regardless of your dress, because being female (gay, non white, frail, outsider, etc.) in this culture makes you a socially permissible target for harassment and abuse. They may have chosen this detail to fixate on, but in my experience, the detail doesn’t matter. As a white American female, I have been followed and harassed by men since before my breasts were visible and even more so after, whether I cover, uncover, gain weight, etc. It has taken me a long time to stop internalizing and trying to change myself to avoid the harassment, and even longer to have the courage to speak up because of the pain I feel every time I am told “it’s a compliment,” when it is obviously a form of domination. As a child, fights between boys were closely policed and mediated. A group sexual assault on me by 4-5 boys (some friends) was deemed my own fault and dismissed without punishment by multiple authorities. This effected my willingness to seek help against future assaults by trusted men in my life, and damage my ability to trust all people, because that clear denial of justice and acknowledgement stung worse and cause more nightmares than the attacks themselves. To this day my family and friends often react with disbelieving and dismissive language when I broach the subject. That understanding of my place in the social hierarchy is a bitter scar that I still struggle to stretch past while I am constantly being told that I am an equal and equally responsible for the results of my actions. I admire the strength and self possession you show in your response, and am grateful to learn from the different women around the world who challenge the submissive conformist response that is more common that not. I know I have had more freedom and privilege than many around the world, but I see more and more how much privilege can blind, callous, and distort the way we justify our treatment of ourselves and others. It is a daily chore to examine the fearful urge to possess it rather than risk standing alone and unprotected.

  25. Abaye

    June 4, 2013 at 4:16 pm

    Interesting, but I would like to propose that one of the reasons white guys cruising around Middletown hate your hijab is that, well, there are a lot of bigots cruising around Middletown. Twice last year I was standing on Vine street in front of my house when a pickup truck drove by and someone shouted out “White Power” to me. I was pretty confused because to all appearances I am white, so maybe this is just a pastime of some people?

  26. Abaye

    June 4, 2013 at 4:16 pm

    Interesting, but I would like to propose that one of the reasons white guys cruising around Middletown hate your hijab is that, well, there are a lot of bigots cruising around Middletown. Twice last year I was standing on Vine street in front of my house when a pickup truck drove by and someone shouted out “White Power” to me. I was pretty confused because to all appearances I am white, so maybe this is just a pastime of some people?

  27. Abaye

    June 4, 2013 at 4:16 pm

    Interesting, but I would like to propose that one of the reasons white guys cruising around Middletown hate your hijab is that, well, there are a lot of bigots cruising around Middletown. Twice last year I was standing on Vine street in front of my house when a pickup truck drove by and someone shouted out “White Power” to me. I was pretty confused because to all appearances I am white, so maybe this is just a pastime of some people?

  28. Abaye

    June 4, 2013 at 4:16 pm

    Interesting, but I would like to propose that one of the reasons white guys cruising around Middletown hate your hijab is that, well, there are a lot of bigots cruising around Middletown. Twice last year I was standing on Vine street in front of my house when a pickup truck drove by and someone shouted out “White Power” to me. I was pretty confused because to all appearances I am white, so maybe this is just a pastime of some people?

  29. Pingback: Beauty and Race: AMST 225

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  33. jade

    June 4, 2013 at 7:42 pm

    This is in response to Farah’s comment: I think if you leave aside white, religion and your favourite Hijab, the kind of language you have used in your comment and for the writer just reflects that you are using your voice rather than brain in responding. I request you to wear a hijab for one week as an undercover reporter or part of an experiment whatever term yo deem appropriate (this has quite a lot of scope for reseach these days by the way), experience what hijabis go through and then give a sound article in response to this article. I will eagerly wait for your written piece respected Ms. Farah.Peace.

  34. jade

    June 4, 2013 at 7:42 pm

    This is in response to Farah’s comment: I think if you leave aside white, religion and your favourite Hijab, the kind of language you have used in your comment and for the writer just reflects that you are using your voice rather than brain in responding. I request you to wear a hijab for one week as an undercover reporter or part of an experiment whatever term yo deem appropriate (this has quite a lot of scope for reseach these days by the way), experience what hijabis go through and then give a sound article in response to this article. I will eagerly wait for your written piece respected Ms. Farah.Peace.

  35. jade

    June 4, 2013 at 7:42 pm

    This is in response to Farah’s comment: I think if you leave aside white, religion and your favourite Hijab, the kind of language you have used in your comment and for the writer just reflects that you are using your voice rather than brain in responding. I request you to wear a hijab for one week as an undercover reporter or part of an experiment whatever term yo deem appropriate (this has quite a lot of scope for reseach these days by the way), experience what hijabis go through and then give a sound article in response to this article. I will eagerly wait for your written piece respected Ms. Farah.Peace.

  36. jade

    June 4, 2013 at 7:42 pm

    This is in response to Farah’s comment: I think if you leave aside white, religion and your favourite Hijab, the kind of language you have used in your comment and for the writer just reflects that you are using your voice rather than brain in responding. I request you to wear a hijab for one week as an undercover reporter or part of an experiment whatever term yo deem appropriate (this has quite a lot of scope for reseach these days by the way), experience what hijabis go through and then give a sound article in response to this article. I will eagerly wait for your written piece respected Ms. Farah.Peace.

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  45. UmerSultan

    June 4, 2013 at 9:05 pm

    This is a very interesting article.
    Hats off to those sisters who stay firm despite of all such experiences.

  46. UmerSultan

    June 4, 2013 at 9:05 pm

    This is a very interesting article.
    Hats off to those sisters who stay firm despite of all such experiences.

  47. UmerSultan

    June 4, 2013 at 9:05 pm

    This is a very interesting article.
    Hats off to those sisters who stay firm despite of all such experiences.

  48. UmerSultan

    June 4, 2013 at 9:05 pm

    This is a very interesting article.
    Hats off to those sisters who stay firm despite of all such experiences.

  49. phyllis

    June 4, 2013 at 9:15 pm

    I’m from the next town over and have lived in Middletown. I know those types of guys she speaks of. You are over analyzing it, they are idiots probably from Higganum, Middlefield, maybe even Portland. Yes, they targeted you because of your Hijab and they probably targeted the next woman because of something else. Back in my day it was about shaving legs, pits or because we were wearing Doc Martens so naturally this made us lesbians. They are essentially stupid townies.

  50. phyllis

    June 4, 2013 at 9:15 pm

    I’m from the next town over and have lived in Middletown. I know those types of guys she speaks of. You are over analyzing it, they are idiots probably from Higganum, Middlefield, maybe even Portland. Yes, they targeted you because of your Hijab and they probably targeted the next woman because of something else. Back in my day it was about shaving legs, pits or because we were wearing Doc Martens so naturally this made us lesbians. They are essentially stupid townies.

  51. phyllis

    June 4, 2013 at 9:15 pm

    I’m from the next town over and have lived in Middletown. I know those types of guys she speaks of. You are over analyzing it, they are idiots probably from Higganum, Middlefield, maybe even Portland. Yes, they targeted you because of your Hijab and they probably targeted the next woman because of something else. Back in my day it was about shaving legs, pits or because we were wearing Doc Martens so naturally this made us lesbians. They are essentially stupid townies.

  52. phyllis

    June 4, 2013 at 9:15 pm

    I’m from the next town over and have lived in Middletown. I know those types of guys she speaks of. You are over analyzing it, they are idiots probably from Higganum, Middlefield, maybe even Portland. Yes, they targeted you because of your Hijab and they probably targeted the next woman because of something else. Back in my day it was about shaving legs, pits or because we were wearing Doc Martens so naturally this made us lesbians. They are essentially stupid townies.

  53. Chris

    June 4, 2013 at 9:16 pm

    White guy this white guy that what gives you the right to say that and complain about the way you’re treated ? I don’t like the way white males are talked about in this article and fraternity brothers too. I am in a fraternity and have never said that . It was assumed you were from India, did you assume that only white privileged fraternity brothers yell at women that dress differently? That is the way this article comes across and that is just as wrong as men yelling at you. As a fraternity at Wesleyan it is discouraging to hear that you tell were yelled at, but the response saying “privileged white boys” and “white fraternity brothers” is terrible. I do not like this article.

    • EC

      June 5, 2013 at 3:20 pm

      I agree completely! The author is just perpetuating a different form of racism by using the term ‘white man’ over and over again. It is easy to hate ‘the white man’, but there are many different heritages that are mixed up in ‘white’ and it is ignorant and hurtful for you to use that word.

      Irish, English, Scottish, French, German, Polish, Russian, North American pioneer families, Australians, and many more are all supposedly ‘white’. Those are all distinctly different and using ‘white’ as a term is racist.

      By the way, what on earth do you make of the ‘white women’ if you will make such disparaging remarks about our men!

  54. Chris

    June 4, 2013 at 9:16 pm

    White guy this white guy that what gives you the right to say that and complain about the way you’re treated ? I don’t like the way white males are talked about in this article and fraternity brothers too. I am in a fraternity and have never said that . It was assumed you were from India, did you assume that only white privileged fraternity brothers yell at women that dress differently? That is the way this article comes across and that is just as wrong as men yelling at you. As a fraternity at Wesleyan it is discouraging to hear that you tell were yelled at, but the response saying “privileged white boys” and “white fraternity brothers” is terrible. I do not like this article.

    • EC

      June 5, 2013 at 3:20 pm

      I agree completely! The author is just perpetuating a different form of racism by using the term ‘white man’ over and over again. It is easy to hate ‘the white man’, but there are many different heritages that are mixed up in ‘white’ and it is ignorant and hurtful for you to use that word.

      Irish, English, Scottish, French, German, Polish, Russian, North American pioneer families, Australians, and many more are all supposedly ‘white’. Those are all distinctly different and using ‘white’ as a term is racist.

      By the way, what on earth do you make of the ‘white women’ if you will make such disparaging remarks about our men!

  55. Chris

    June 4, 2013 at 9:16 pm

    White guy this white guy that what gives you the right to say that and complain about the way you’re treated ? I don’t like the way white males are talked about in this article and fraternity brothers too. I am in a fraternity and have never said that . It was assumed you were from India, did you assume that only white privileged fraternity brothers yell at women that dress differently? That is the way this article comes across and that is just as wrong as men yelling at you. As a fraternity at Wesleyan it is discouraging to hear that you tell were yelled at, but the response saying “privileged white boys” and “white fraternity brothers” is terrible. I do not like this article.

    • EC

      June 5, 2013 at 3:20 pm

      I agree completely! The author is just perpetuating a different form of racism by using the term ‘white man’ over and over again. It is easy to hate ‘the white man’, but there are many different heritages that are mixed up in ‘white’ and it is ignorant and hurtful for you to use that word.

      Irish, English, Scottish, French, German, Polish, Russian, North American pioneer families, Australians, and many more are all supposedly ‘white’. Those are all distinctly different and using ‘white’ as a term is racist.

      By the way, what on earth do you make of the ‘white women’ if you will make such disparaging remarks about our men!

  56. Chris

    June 4, 2013 at 9:16 pm

    White guy this white guy that what gives you the right to say that and complain about the way you’re treated ? I don’t like the way white males are talked about in this article and fraternity brothers too. I am in a fraternity and have never said that . It was assumed you were from India, did you assume that only white privileged fraternity brothers yell at women that dress differently? That is the way this article comes across and that is just as wrong as men yelling at you. As a fraternity at Wesleyan it is discouraging to hear that you tell were yelled at, but the response saying “privileged white boys” and “white fraternity brothers” is terrible. I do not like this article.

    • EC

      June 5, 2013 at 3:20 pm

      I agree completely! The author is just perpetuating a different form of racism by using the term ‘white man’ over and over again. It is easy to hate ‘the white man’, but there are many different heritages that are mixed up in ‘white’ and it is ignorant and hurtful for you to use that word.

      Irish, English, Scottish, French, German, Polish, Russian, North American pioneer families, Australians, and many more are all supposedly ‘white’. Those are all distinctly different and using ‘white’ as a term is racist.

      By the way, what on earth do you make of the ‘white women’ if you will make such disparaging remarks about our men!

  57. M Picard

    June 4, 2013 at 10:12 pm

    As a person who honestly appreciates cultural differences and choices, and also as a feminist…I don’t buy this. Denying the male gaze by covering from head to toe is saying it is her job to stop it. Her responsibility. We are talking a lot these days about rape culture and seriously as a woman, a feminist and a person who believes in decolonizing I see covering as patriarchal, colonizing and supportive of the idea that the way women dress provokes or doesn’t provoke the lust or violence in men. That said, I will always be respectful of a woman’s individual choice

    • Joshua

      June 5, 2013 at 12:30 am

      Agree with that, M Picard. Thanks for your thoughts.

    • Jane

      June 5, 2013 at 10:06 am

      I totally agree. As a woman and a feminist, I don’t believe the onus should be on women to cover up. This just reinforces the women-as-perpetual-victims ideology; plus it is fundamentally disrespectful to men as it suggests none of them are able to control themselves or their gaze (which is totally inaccurate). I believe in equality, and that means women should be able to dress however they want, just as men do.

      • Nancy

        June 5, 2013 at 3:43 pm

        Why is it so difficult for you guys to understand that this IS what we want to wear!? This is agency..we are powerful …we have control over our own bodies and what someone can and cannot see. We cannot change human nature and sexual instincts so why act like they don’t exist? And for your information Muslim men also have a dress code…for the same purpose. Both men and women are to lower their gaze…this is not a burden on us…we wear it with honor and pride. So please don’t pity me. There is no need for that.

    • Sarah Doherty

      June 5, 2013 at 9:49 pm

      No, wearing the hijab is just one strategy of dealing with the male gaze. Of denying the male gaze. There are other strategies, and this author does not say anything for or against them. And, as she SAYS in her essay, the author chose to don the hijab for myriad, complex reasons, and this is just one factor that went into the decision. Putting the onus of stopping rape culture on her, and attributing the choice to wear the hijab solely to the existence of the male gaze, does her a disservice and gives men too much power in the equation. Wearing a hijab doesn’t stop the male gaze, and it doesn’t make any statement about how women should or should not dress. In the U.S., wearing the hijab means, in part, choosing something that renders a woman *more* visible and *more* of a target of racist, sexist, and anti-Muslim surveillance and violence–and that’s the fault of the anti-Islam, racist, sexist culture we live in, not her fault. This author is not saying that the way that a woman dresses provokes lust in men; she is saying that wearing a hijab is a strategy to interrupt the male gaze, but is demonstrably also a visual signifier that renders her a target of the racist heteropatriarchy. Give this author the respect of reading her full argument and paying attention to the complexity of her words. And Ms Khan, thank you for writing this.

  58. M Picard

    June 4, 2013 at 10:12 pm

    As a person who honestly appreciates cultural differences and choices, and also as a feminist…I don’t buy this. Denying the male gaze by covering from head to toe is saying it is her job to stop it. Her responsibility. We are talking a lot these days about rape culture and seriously as a woman, a feminist and a person who believes in decolonizing I see covering as patriarchal, colonizing and supportive of the idea that the way women dress provokes or doesn’t provoke the lust or violence in men. That said, I will always be respectful of a woman’s individual choice

    • Joshua

      June 5, 2013 at 12:30 am

      Agree with that, M Picard. Thanks for your thoughts.

    • Jane

      June 5, 2013 at 10:06 am

      I totally agree. As a woman and a feminist, I don’t believe the onus should be on women to cover up. This just reinforces the women-as-perpetual-victims ideology; plus it is fundamentally disrespectful to men as it suggests none of them are able to control themselves or their gaze (which is totally inaccurate). I believe in equality, and that means women should be able to dress however they want, just as men do.

      • Nancy

        June 5, 2013 at 3:43 pm

        Why is it so difficult for you guys to understand that this IS what we want to wear!? This is agency..we are powerful …we have control over our own bodies and what someone can and cannot see. We cannot change human nature and sexual instincts so why act like they don’t exist? And for your information Muslim men also have a dress code…for the same purpose. Both men and women are to lower their gaze…this is not a burden on us…we wear it with honor and pride. So please don’t pity me. There is no need for that.

    • Sarah Doherty

      June 5, 2013 at 9:49 pm

      No, wearing the hijab is just one strategy of dealing with the male gaze. Of denying the male gaze. There are other strategies, and this author does not say anything for or against them. And, as she SAYS in her essay, the author chose to don the hijab for myriad, complex reasons, and this is just one factor that went into the decision. Putting the onus of stopping rape culture on her, and attributing the choice to wear the hijab solely to the existence of the male gaze, does her a disservice and gives men too much power in the equation. Wearing a hijab doesn’t stop the male gaze, and it doesn’t make any statement about how women should or should not dress. In the U.S., wearing the hijab means, in part, choosing something that renders a woman *more* visible and *more* of a target of racist, sexist, and anti-Muslim surveillance and violence–and that’s the fault of the anti-Islam, racist, sexist culture we live in, not her fault. This author is not saying that the way that a woman dresses provokes lust in men; she is saying that wearing a hijab is a strategy to interrupt the male gaze, but is demonstrably also a visual signifier that renders her a target of the racist heteropatriarchy. Give this author the respect of reading her full argument and paying attention to the complexity of her words. And Ms Khan, thank you for writing this.

  59. M Picard

    June 4, 2013 at 10:12 pm

    As a person who honestly appreciates cultural differences and choices, and also as a feminist…I don’t buy this. Denying the male gaze by covering from head to toe is saying it is her job to stop it. Her responsibility. We are talking a lot these days about rape culture and seriously as a woman, a feminist and a person who believes in decolonizing I see covering as patriarchal, colonizing and supportive of the idea that the way women dress provokes or doesn’t provoke the lust or violence in men. That said, I will always be respectful of a woman’s individual choice

    • Joshua

      June 5, 2013 at 12:30 am

      Agree with that, M Picard. Thanks for your thoughts.

    • Jane

      June 5, 2013 at 10:06 am

      I totally agree. As a woman and a feminist, I don’t believe the onus should be on women to cover up. This just reinforces the women-as-perpetual-victims ideology; plus it is fundamentally disrespectful to men as it suggests none of them are able to control themselves or their gaze (which is totally inaccurate). I believe in equality, and that means women should be able to dress however they want, just as men do.

      • Nancy

        June 5, 2013 at 3:43 pm

        Why is it so difficult for you guys to understand that this IS what we want to wear!? This is agency..we are powerful …we have control over our own bodies and what someone can and cannot see. We cannot change human nature and sexual instincts so why act like they don’t exist? And for your information Muslim men also have a dress code…for the same purpose. Both men and women are to lower their gaze…this is not a burden on us…we wear it with honor and pride. So please don’t pity me. There is no need for that.

    • Sarah Doherty

      June 5, 2013 at 9:49 pm

      No, wearing the hijab is just one strategy of dealing with the male gaze. Of denying the male gaze. There are other strategies, and this author does not say anything for or against them. And, as she SAYS in her essay, the author chose to don the hijab for myriad, complex reasons, and this is just one factor that went into the decision. Putting the onus of stopping rape culture on her, and attributing the choice to wear the hijab solely to the existence of the male gaze, does her a disservice and gives men too much power in the equation. Wearing a hijab doesn’t stop the male gaze, and it doesn’t make any statement about how women should or should not dress. In the U.S., wearing the hijab means, in part, choosing something that renders a woman *more* visible and *more* of a target of racist, sexist, and anti-Muslim surveillance and violence–and that’s the fault of the anti-Islam, racist, sexist culture we live in, not her fault. This author is not saying that the way that a woman dresses provokes lust in men; she is saying that wearing a hijab is a strategy to interrupt the male gaze, but is demonstrably also a visual signifier that renders her a target of the racist heteropatriarchy. Give this author the respect of reading her full argument and paying attention to the complexity of her words. And Ms Khan, thank you for writing this.

  60. M Picard

    June 4, 2013 at 10:12 pm

    As a person who honestly appreciates cultural differences and choices, and also as a feminist…I don’t buy this. Denying the male gaze by covering from head to toe is saying it is her job to stop it. Her responsibility. We are talking a lot these days about rape culture and seriously as a woman, a feminist and a person who believes in decolonizing I see covering as patriarchal, colonizing and supportive of the idea that the way women dress provokes or doesn’t provoke the lust or violence in men. That said, I will always be respectful of a woman’s individual choice

    • Joshua

      June 5, 2013 at 12:30 am

      Agree with that, M Picard. Thanks for your thoughts.

    • Jane

      June 5, 2013 at 10:06 am

      I totally agree. As a woman and a feminist, I don’t believe the onus should be on women to cover up. This just reinforces the women-as-perpetual-victims ideology; plus it is fundamentally disrespectful to men as it suggests none of them are able to control themselves or their gaze (which is totally inaccurate). I believe in equality, and that means women should be able to dress however they want, just as men do.

      • Nancy

        June 5, 2013 at 3:43 pm

        Why is it so difficult for you guys to understand that this IS what we want to wear!? This is agency..we are powerful …we have control over our own bodies and what someone can and cannot see. We cannot change human nature and sexual instincts so why act like they don’t exist? And for your information Muslim men also have a dress code…for the same purpose. Both men and women are to lower their gaze…this is not a burden on us…we wear it with honor and pride. So please don’t pity me. There is no need for that.

    • Sarah Doherty

      June 5, 2013 at 9:49 pm

      No, wearing the hijab is just one strategy of dealing with the male gaze. Of denying the male gaze. There are other strategies, and this author does not say anything for or against them. And, as she SAYS in her essay, the author chose to don the hijab for myriad, complex reasons, and this is just one factor that went into the decision. Putting the onus of stopping rape culture on her, and attributing the choice to wear the hijab solely to the existence of the male gaze, does her a disservice and gives men too much power in the equation. Wearing a hijab doesn’t stop the male gaze, and it doesn’t make any statement about how women should or should not dress. In the U.S., wearing the hijab means, in part, choosing something that renders a woman *more* visible and *more* of a target of racist, sexist, and anti-Muslim surveillance and violence–and that’s the fault of the anti-Islam, racist, sexist culture we live in, not her fault. This author is not saying that the way that a woman dresses provokes lust in men; she is saying that wearing a hijab is a strategy to interrupt the male gaze, but is demonstrably also a visual signifier that renders her a target of the racist heteropatriarchy. Give this author the respect of reading her full argument and paying attention to the complexity of her words. And Ms Khan, thank you for writing this.

  61. Marc

    June 4, 2013 at 10:24 pm

    No need to point just at white people. I am a 6’2″ tall blond haired blued eyed white guy with a lot of tattoos. I am also a Muslim, alhamduillah. I was married to an Egyptian hijabi, one of the best people I have ever known. I had to watch her endure racism at work….only to get the cold shoulder from other Muslims because she was married to a white guy. There is a major race issue in the Ummah and it is sad because race, in its western construct SHOULD be foreign to Muslims, but it isn’t. Once a Muslim starts talking racist they have stepped outside the bounds of Islam with that behavior. Anyone who has any doubt needs to read the Prophets (SAW) last Khutba. I have protected hijabis before and would do so again because of my respect for them and the memory of one in particular.

  62. Marc

    June 4, 2013 at 10:24 pm

    No need to point just at white people. I am a 6’2″ tall blond haired blued eyed white guy with a lot of tattoos. I am also a Muslim, alhamduillah. I was married to an Egyptian hijabi, one of the best people I have ever known. I had to watch her endure racism at work….only to get the cold shoulder from other Muslims because she was married to a white guy. There is a major race issue in the Ummah and it is sad because race, in its western construct SHOULD be foreign to Muslims, but it isn’t. Once a Muslim starts talking racist they have stepped outside the bounds of Islam with that behavior. Anyone who has any doubt needs to read the Prophets (SAW) last Khutba. I have protected hijabis before and would do so again because of my respect for them and the memory of one in particular.

  63. Marc

    June 4, 2013 at 10:24 pm

    No need to point just at white people. I am a 6’2″ tall blond haired blued eyed white guy with a lot of tattoos. I am also a Muslim, alhamduillah. I was married to an Egyptian hijabi, one of the best people I have ever known. I had to watch her endure racism at work….only to get the cold shoulder from other Muslims because she was married to a white guy. There is a major race issue in the Ummah and it is sad because race, in its western construct SHOULD be foreign to Muslims, but it isn’t. Once a Muslim starts talking racist they have stepped outside the bounds of Islam with that behavior. Anyone who has any doubt needs to read the Prophets (SAW) last Khutba. I have protected hijabis before and would do so again because of my respect for them and the memory of one in particular.

  64. Marc

    June 4, 2013 at 10:24 pm

    No need to point just at white people. I am a 6’2″ tall blond haired blued eyed white guy with a lot of tattoos. I am also a Muslim, alhamduillah. I was married to an Egyptian hijabi, one of the best people I have ever known. I had to watch her endure racism at work….only to get the cold shoulder from other Muslims because she was married to a white guy. There is a major race issue in the Ummah and it is sad because race, in its western construct SHOULD be foreign to Muslims, but it isn’t. Once a Muslim starts talking racist they have stepped outside the bounds of Islam with that behavior. Anyone who has any doubt needs to read the Prophets (SAW) last Khutba. I have protected hijabis before and would do so again because of my respect for them and the memory of one in particular.

  65. Fred Carroll

    June 4, 2013 at 10:27 pm

    I’d be curious to know statistical trends of “who’s the most bigoted”-white, black, rich, poor, educated, uneducated…..

    • Meeks

      June 4, 2013 at 11:36 pm

      There is a world wide web of statistics and Universities full of history of racial violence, in this country and many others. It will take you all of one day to note which group’s hands and hearts are inciting such violence the most.

      Sincerely,

      An American minority that has gone through it (violence, racism, hateful remarks, discrimination and even just stupid questions) since day one.

      And P.S., you needn’t wonder. Simply ask someone that goes through this sort of thing regularly. When you hear enough voices saying the same things, maybe one day you’ll wake up. You could listen intently and learn when women like this share their stories or you could bury your head in the sand and continue to disbelieve that your dear countrymen could possibly still be this hateful and ignorant. Who are you to tell any of us that we do not experience these things? When stuff like this happens to you on a regular basis, you may write an article about its prevalence, too.

      All the statistics you need are at your fingertips, my friend…

  66. Fred Carroll

    June 4, 2013 at 10:27 pm

    I’d be curious to know statistical trends of “who’s the most bigoted”-white, black, rich, poor, educated, uneducated…..

    • Meeks

      June 4, 2013 at 11:36 pm

      There is a world wide web of statistics and Universities full of history of racial violence, in this country and many others. It will take you all of one day to note which group’s hands and hearts are inciting such violence the most.

      Sincerely,

      An American minority that has gone through it (violence, racism, hateful remarks, discrimination and even just stupid questions) since day one.

      And P.S., you needn’t wonder. Simply ask someone that goes through this sort of thing regularly. When you hear enough voices saying the same things, maybe one day you’ll wake up. You could listen intently and learn when women like this share their stories or you could bury your head in the sand and continue to disbelieve that your dear countrymen could possibly still be this hateful and ignorant. Who are you to tell any of us that we do not experience these things? When stuff like this happens to you on a regular basis, you may write an article about its prevalence, too.

      All the statistics you need are at your fingertips, my friend…

  67. Fred Carroll

    June 4, 2013 at 10:27 pm

    I’d be curious to know statistical trends of “who’s the most bigoted”-white, black, rich, poor, educated, uneducated…..

    • Meeks

      June 4, 2013 at 11:36 pm

      There is a world wide web of statistics and Universities full of history of racial violence, in this country and many others. It will take you all of one day to note which group’s hands and hearts are inciting such violence the most.

      Sincerely,

      An American minority that has gone through it (violence, racism, hateful remarks, discrimination and even just stupid questions) since day one.

      And P.S., you needn’t wonder. Simply ask someone that goes through this sort of thing regularly. When you hear enough voices saying the same things, maybe one day you’ll wake up. You could listen intently and learn when women like this share their stories or you could bury your head in the sand and continue to disbelieve that your dear countrymen could possibly still be this hateful and ignorant. Who are you to tell any of us that we do not experience these things? When stuff like this happens to you on a regular basis, you may write an article about its prevalence, too.

      All the statistics you need are at your fingertips, my friend…

  68. Fred Carroll

    June 4, 2013 at 10:27 pm

    I’d be curious to know statistical trends of “who’s the most bigoted”-white, black, rich, poor, educated, uneducated…..

    • Meeks

      June 4, 2013 at 11:36 pm

      There is a world wide web of statistics and Universities full of history of racial violence, in this country and many others. It will take you all of one day to note which group’s hands and hearts are inciting such violence the most.

      Sincerely,

      An American minority that has gone through it (violence, racism, hateful remarks, discrimination and even just stupid questions) since day one.

      And P.S., you needn’t wonder. Simply ask someone that goes through this sort of thing regularly. When you hear enough voices saying the same things, maybe one day you’ll wake up. You could listen intently and learn when women like this share their stories or you could bury your head in the sand and continue to disbelieve that your dear countrymen could possibly still be this hateful and ignorant. Who are you to tell any of us that we do not experience these things? When stuff like this happens to you on a regular basis, you may write an article about its prevalence, too.

      All the statistics you need are at your fingertips, my friend…

  69. Laura

    June 4, 2013 at 10:57 pm

    I commend you for writing this article. I do have one comment, however: I assure you that a large number of men of almost every race or ethnicity feel that they have a right to leer at women. Over 70% of the population of Middletown, CT is white (http://www.city-data.com/city/Middletown-Connecticut.html), so it makes sense that you mainly heard this sort of abuse from white males. And perhaps white males both in Middletown and in the US in general are more likely to actually verbally abuse someone that is disrupting their “cruises for chicks,” since they belong to a privileged group. However, I have observed men from many different ethnic groups leering at me in public.

  70. Laura

    June 4, 2013 at 10:57 pm

    I commend you for writing this article. I do have one comment, however: I assure you that a large number of men of almost every race or ethnicity feel that they have a right to leer at women. Over 70% of the population of Middletown, CT is white (http://www.city-data.com/city/Middletown-Connecticut.html), so it makes sense that you mainly heard this sort of abuse from white males. And perhaps white males both in Middletown and in the US in general are more likely to actually verbally abuse someone that is disrupting their “cruises for chicks,” since they belong to a privileged group. However, I have observed men from many different ethnic groups leering at me in public.

  71. Laura

    June 4, 2013 at 10:57 pm

    I commend you for writing this article. I do have one comment, however: I assure you that a large number of men of almost every race or ethnicity feel that they have a right to leer at women. Over 70% of the population of Middletown, CT is white (http://www.city-data.com/city/Middletown-Connecticut.html), so it makes sense that you mainly heard this sort of abuse from white males. And perhaps white males both in Middletown and in the US in general are more likely to actually verbally abuse someone that is disrupting their “cruises for chicks,” since they belong to a privileged group. However, I have observed men from many different ethnic groups leering at me in public.

  72. Laura

    June 4, 2013 at 10:57 pm

    I commend you for writing this article. I do have one comment, however: I assure you that a large number of men of almost every race or ethnicity feel that they have a right to leer at women. Over 70% of the population of Middletown, CT is white (http://www.city-data.com/city/Middletown-Connecticut.html), so it makes sense that you mainly heard this sort of abuse from white males. And perhaps white males both in Middletown and in the US in general are more likely to actually verbally abuse someone that is disrupting their “cruises for chicks,” since they belong to a privileged group. However, I have observed men from many different ethnic groups leering at me in public.

  73. MarcyC

    June 4, 2013 at 11:16 pm

    Zainab, you hold yourself with such grace and dignity. I was so proud to see you in your cap and gown on graduation day. I have admired the courage and strength you have to stand up for what you believe in. It makes me sick to think that in a school that boasts about it’s diversity and inclusion you were treated this way. I don’t feel sorry for you although I pity the ignorance of the people (men) that treated you poorly and made degrading comments. I wish you and your friend the very best this life has to offer. Hold your head up high and don’t change who you are! Be well Zainab.

  74. MarcyC

    June 4, 2013 at 11:16 pm

    Zainab, you hold yourself with such grace and dignity. I was so proud to see you in your cap and gown on graduation day. I have admired the courage and strength you have to stand up for what you believe in. It makes me sick to think that in a school that boasts about it’s diversity and inclusion you were treated this way. I don’t feel sorry for you although I pity the ignorance of the people (men) that treated you poorly and made degrading comments. I wish you and your friend the very best this life has to offer. Hold your head up high and don’t change who you are! Be well Zainab.

  75. MarcyC

    June 4, 2013 at 11:16 pm

    Zainab, you hold yourself with such grace and dignity. I was so proud to see you in your cap and gown on graduation day. I have admired the courage and strength you have to stand up for what you believe in. It makes me sick to think that in a school that boasts about it’s diversity and inclusion you were treated this way. I don’t feel sorry for you although I pity the ignorance of the people (men) that treated you poorly and made degrading comments. I wish you and your friend the very best this life has to offer. Hold your head up high and don’t change who you are! Be well Zainab.

  76. MarcyC

    June 4, 2013 at 11:16 pm

    Zainab, you hold yourself with such grace and dignity. I was so proud to see you in your cap and gown on graduation day. I have admired the courage and strength you have to stand up for what you believe in. It makes me sick to think that in a school that boasts about it’s diversity and inclusion you were treated this way. I don’t feel sorry for you although I pity the ignorance of the people (men) that treated you poorly and made degrading comments. I wish you and your friend the very best this life has to offer. Hold your head up high and don’t change who you are! Be well Zainab.

  77. Ellen

    June 4, 2013 at 11:43 pm

    I am a white female student at Wesleyan, and I will say right now that these guys’ rude catcalls are not reserved just for women of color/women wearing the hijab. I have been catcalled numerous times in Middletown, with everything from “you’re pretty” to “can I tap that” to “short-haired cunt”. The people who joyride around campus and troll Main St. are there to harass women in general; they will just tailor their insulting behavior to the individual. Obviously, Zainab’s unique garb gives them extra ammo when it comes to their insults, but I don’t think it’s just because of her hijab – it’s because they’re out there to be rude to women in general.

  78. Ellen

    June 4, 2013 at 11:43 pm

    I am a white female student at Wesleyan, and I will say right now that these guys’ rude catcalls are not reserved just for women of color/women wearing the hijab. I have been catcalled numerous times in Middletown, with everything from “you’re pretty” to “can I tap that” to “short-haired cunt”. The people who joyride around campus and troll Main St. are there to harass women in general; they will just tailor their insulting behavior to the individual. Obviously, Zainab’s unique garb gives them extra ammo when it comes to their insults, but I don’t think it’s just because of her hijab – it’s because they’re out there to be rude to women in general.

  79. Ellen

    June 4, 2013 at 11:43 pm

    I am a white female student at Wesleyan, and I will say right now that these guys’ rude catcalls are not reserved just for women of color/women wearing the hijab. I have been catcalled numerous times in Middletown, with everything from “you’re pretty” to “can I tap that” to “short-haired cunt”. The people who joyride around campus and troll Main St. are there to harass women in general; they will just tailor their insulting behavior to the individual. Obviously, Zainab’s unique garb gives them extra ammo when it comes to their insults, but I don’t think it’s just because of her hijab – it’s because they’re out there to be rude to women in general.

  80. Ellen

    June 4, 2013 at 11:43 pm

    I am a white female student at Wesleyan, and I will say right now that these guys’ rude catcalls are not reserved just for women of color/women wearing the hijab. I have been catcalled numerous times in Middletown, with everything from “you’re pretty” to “can I tap that” to “short-haired cunt”. The people who joyride around campus and troll Main St. are there to harass women in general; they will just tailor their insulting behavior to the individual. Obviously, Zainab’s unique garb gives them extra ammo when it comes to their insults, but I don’t think it’s just because of her hijab – it’s because they’re out there to be rude to women in general.

  81. Chef Ernest Arroyo

    June 5, 2013 at 12:04 am

    Great article Zainab, not only was I surprised to see it, but very impressed with it.Your on the right path,,,good luck and don’t let the young white males get you down!

  82. Chef Ernest Arroyo

    June 5, 2013 at 12:04 am

    Great article Zainab, not only was I surprised to see it, but very impressed with it.Your on the right path,,,good luck and don’t let the young white males get you down!

  83. Chef Ernest Arroyo

    June 5, 2013 at 12:04 am

    Great article Zainab, not only was I surprised to see it, but very impressed with it.Your on the right path,,,good luck and don’t let the young white males get you down!

  84. Chef Ernest Arroyo

    June 5, 2013 at 12:04 am

    Great article Zainab, not only was I surprised to see it, but very impressed with it.Your on the right path,,,good luck and don’t let the young white males get you down!

  85. Joshua

    June 5, 2013 at 12:18 am

    Hi Zainab – Enjoyed reading your thoughts and perspective. It’s always fascinating to hear a perspective from someone whom has such different experiences to ones self!
    I’d never thought about the connection you’ve made, but it sounds plausible, and insightful.
    As I’m sure you know already, not all white guys are like the pick-up drivers you’ve experienced in Middletown! I too am a white guy, and certainly try to treat all women, and all people, with respect…as most of my friends do.
    So don’t lose faith in us! But I would agree that you’d probably do well to move on from Middletown sooner, rather than later 🙂

  86. Joshua

    June 5, 2013 at 12:18 am

    Hi Zainab – Enjoyed reading your thoughts and perspective. It’s always fascinating to hear a perspective from someone whom has such different experiences to ones self!
    I’d never thought about the connection you’ve made, but it sounds plausible, and insightful.
    As I’m sure you know already, not all white guys are like the pick-up drivers you’ve experienced in Middletown! I too am a white guy, and certainly try to treat all women, and all people, with respect…as most of my friends do.
    So don’t lose faith in us! But I would agree that you’d probably do well to move on from Middletown sooner, rather than later 🙂

  87. Joshua

    June 5, 2013 at 12:18 am

    Hi Zainab – Enjoyed reading your thoughts and perspective. It’s always fascinating to hear a perspective from someone whom has such different experiences to ones self!
    I’d never thought about the connection you’ve made, but it sounds plausible, and insightful.
    As I’m sure you know already, not all white guys are like the pick-up drivers you’ve experienced in Middletown! I too am a white guy, and certainly try to treat all women, and all people, with respect…as most of my friends do.
    So don’t lose faith in us! But I would agree that you’d probably do well to move on from Middletown sooner, rather than later 🙂

  88. Joshua

    June 5, 2013 at 12:18 am

    Hi Zainab – Enjoyed reading your thoughts and perspective. It’s always fascinating to hear a perspective from someone whom has such different experiences to ones self!
    I’d never thought about the connection you’ve made, but it sounds plausible, and insightful.
    As I’m sure you know already, not all white guys are like the pick-up drivers you’ve experienced in Middletown! I too am a white guy, and certainly try to treat all women, and all people, with respect…as most of my friends do.
    So don’t lose faith in us! But I would agree that you’d probably do well to move on from Middletown sooner, rather than later 🙂

  89. Joshua

    June 5, 2013 at 12:28 am

    Good perspective. But there is some truth that by needing to dress in a certain way to deny a gaze, is in fact a form of “victim blaming”, because it implies that guilt lies with the victim’s clothing choices.
    Truth is, we should be teaching all men, especially young boys, how to treat women (and all people) appropriately and with respect.

  90. Joshua

    June 5, 2013 at 12:28 am

    Good perspective. But there is some truth that by needing to dress in a certain way to deny a gaze, is in fact a form of “victim blaming”, because it implies that guilt lies with the victim’s clothing choices.
    Truth is, we should be teaching all men, especially young boys, how to treat women (and all people) appropriately and with respect.

  91. Joshua

    June 5, 2013 at 12:28 am

    Good perspective. But there is some truth that by needing to dress in a certain way to deny a gaze, is in fact a form of “victim blaming”, because it implies that guilt lies with the victim’s clothing choices.
    Truth is, we should be teaching all men, especially young boys, how to treat women (and all people) appropriately and with respect.

  92. Joshua

    June 5, 2013 at 12:28 am

    Good perspective. But there is some truth that by needing to dress in a certain way to deny a gaze, is in fact a form of “victim blaming”, because it implies that guilt lies with the victim’s clothing choices.
    Truth is, we should be teaching all men, especially young boys, how to treat women (and all people) appropriately and with respect.

  93. ToAbuFatimahalBritaani

    June 5, 2013 at 12:35 am

    Abu Fatimah al Britaani’s post indicates that it’s ok to give up on men controlling themselves and that it’s thus the woman’s responsibility to cover herself. Even without “outlawing looking at people” I expect men to behave responsibly. And there are many men who do.

  94. ToAbuFatimahalBritaani

    June 5, 2013 at 12:35 am

    Abu Fatimah al Britaani’s post indicates that it’s ok to give up on men controlling themselves and that it’s thus the woman’s responsibility to cover herself. Even without “outlawing looking at people” I expect men to behave responsibly. And there are many men who do.

  95. ToAbuFatimahalBritaani

    June 5, 2013 at 12:35 am

    Abu Fatimah al Britaani’s post indicates that it’s ok to give up on men controlling themselves and that it’s thus the woman’s responsibility to cover herself. Even without “outlawing looking at people” I expect men to behave responsibly. And there are many men who do.

  96. ToAbuFatimahalBritaani

    June 5, 2013 at 12:35 am

    Abu Fatimah al Britaani’s post indicates that it’s ok to give up on men controlling themselves and that it’s thus the woman’s responsibility to cover herself. Even without “outlawing looking at people” I expect men to behave responsibly. And there are many men who do.

  97. Dahlia

    June 5, 2013 at 2:52 am

    I respect your decision to wear the hijab, but I do not agree with your comments concerning the “male gaze”.

    This is meant to be a feminist website, yes? But parts of this article could be construed as anti-feminist.

    A woman isn’t a trophy to be won. A woman isn’t property. Women are people.

    Men are always harassing women on the street, at school, in the workplace. Instead of telling women what they can and can’t wear, where they can and can’t go, and at what time, tell these men to shut the fuck up and act like civilised human beings.

    Women (and what they wear) aren’t the problem here. Society is.

  98. Dahlia

    June 5, 2013 at 2:52 am

    I respect your decision to wear the hijab, but I do not agree with your comments concerning the “male gaze”.

    This is meant to be a feminist website, yes? But parts of this article could be construed as anti-feminist.

    A woman isn’t a trophy to be won. A woman isn’t property. Women are people.

    Men are always harassing women on the street, at school, in the workplace. Instead of telling women what they can and can’t wear, where they can and can’t go, and at what time, tell these men to shut the fuck up and act like civilised human beings.

    Women (and what they wear) aren’t the problem here. Society is.

  99. Dahlia

    June 5, 2013 at 2:52 am

    I respect your decision to wear the hijab, but I do not agree with your comments concerning the “male gaze”.

    This is meant to be a feminist website, yes? But parts of this article could be construed as anti-feminist.

    A woman isn’t a trophy to be won. A woman isn’t property. Women are people.

    Men are always harassing women on the street, at school, in the workplace. Instead of telling women what they can and can’t wear, where they can and can’t go, and at what time, tell these men to shut the fuck up and act like civilised human beings.

    Women (and what they wear) aren’t the problem here. Society is.

  100. Dahlia

    June 5, 2013 at 2:52 am

    I respect your decision to wear the hijab, but I do not agree with your comments concerning the “male gaze”.

    This is meant to be a feminist website, yes? But parts of this article could be construed as anti-feminist.

    A woman isn’t a trophy to be won. A woman isn’t property. Women are people.

    Men are always harassing women on the street, at school, in the workplace. Instead of telling women what they can and can’t wear, where they can and can’t go, and at what time, tell these men to shut the fuck up and act like civilised human beings.

    Women (and what they wear) aren’t the problem here. Society is.

  101. Saeed Rahman

    June 5, 2013 at 3:26 am

    i find your story very inspirational. And all around the world a lot of women are facing similar problem, leading them to not wear hijab. People don’t understand the value of hijab and how it coverty protects oneself from so much harm.

    Although it saddens me that your wear more offend cause your were called Indian than being insult of your Hijab. India,Pakistan,Bangledesh,Sri Lanka,etc are all from the same ethnic background. They are all from the Indian sub-continent. Similarly are all the Asian contries like japan ,china ,korea,etc
    the arabs syria ,jordan ,egypt,etc

    Never the less . I feel proud that even in this situation were Musilims are being shown as evil,heartless and lunatics, the muslim hijabi women still have respect for thier hijab.

  102. Saeed Rahman

    June 5, 2013 at 3:26 am

    i find your story very inspirational. And all around the world a lot of women are facing similar problem, leading them to not wear hijab. People don’t understand the value of hijab and how it coverty protects oneself from so much harm.

    Although it saddens me that your wear more offend cause your were called Indian than being insult of your Hijab. India,Pakistan,Bangledesh,Sri Lanka,etc are all from the same ethnic background. They are all from the Indian sub-continent. Similarly are all the Asian contries like japan ,china ,korea,etc
    the arabs syria ,jordan ,egypt,etc

    Never the less . I feel proud that even in this situation were Musilims are being shown as evil,heartless and lunatics, the muslim hijabi women still have respect for thier hijab.

  103. Saeed Rahman

    June 5, 2013 at 3:26 am

    i find your story very inspirational. And all around the world a lot of women are facing similar problem, leading them to not wear hijab. People don’t understand the value of hijab and how it coverty protects oneself from so much harm.

    Although it saddens me that your wear more offend cause your were called Indian than being insult of your Hijab. India,Pakistan,Bangledesh,Sri Lanka,etc are all from the same ethnic background. They are all from the Indian sub-continent. Similarly are all the Asian contries like japan ,china ,korea,etc
    the arabs syria ,jordan ,egypt,etc

    Never the less . I feel proud that even in this situation were Musilims are being shown as evil,heartless and lunatics, the muslim hijabi women still have respect for thier hijab.

  104. Saeed Rahman

    June 5, 2013 at 3:26 am

    i find your story very inspirational. And all around the world a lot of women are facing similar problem, leading them to not wear hijab. People don’t understand the value of hijab and how it coverty protects oneself from so much harm.

    Although it saddens me that your wear more offend cause your were called Indian than being insult of your Hijab. India,Pakistan,Bangledesh,Sri Lanka,etc are all from the same ethnic background. They are all from the Indian sub-continent. Similarly are all the Asian contries like japan ,china ,korea,etc
    the arabs syria ,jordan ,egypt,etc

    Never the less . I feel proud that even in this situation were Musilims are being shown as evil,heartless and lunatics, the muslim hijabi women still have respect for thier hijab.

  105. mustapha usman ibrahim

    June 5, 2013 at 5:25 am

    May Allah swt reward u abondantly Zainab, & may HE accept it(wearing Hijab) as an act of ibadat. Stay strong & positive zainab

  106. mustapha usman ibrahim

    June 5, 2013 at 5:25 am

    May Allah swt reward u abondantly Zainab, & may HE accept it(wearing Hijab) as an act of ibadat. Stay strong & positive zainab

  107. mustapha usman ibrahim

    June 5, 2013 at 5:25 am

    May Allah swt reward u abondantly Zainab, & may HE accept it(wearing Hijab) as an act of ibadat. Stay strong & positive zainab

  108. mustapha usman ibrahim

    June 5, 2013 at 5:25 am

    May Allah swt reward u abondantly Zainab, & may HE accept it(wearing Hijab) as an act of ibadat. Stay strong & positive zainab

  109. Lisa

    June 5, 2013 at 6:22 am

    I live in Jordan. The ‘white male gaze’ is more accurately described as ‘privileged male gaze’ and it happens anyplace men think they have power over women, have license to act like animals etc. I see it in Jordan every day, and I would not quite categorize this as ‘white male gaze’.

    I feel your pain, but honestly, this is almost entirely a power dynamic, not a racial one. Yes, yes, race and power are related. I get that.just that I think the article is simplistic in this sense and doesn’t do justice to the larger problem.

    If this was just about ‘whiteness’ and being a woman of color, then I SHOULD be able to walk on Jordanian streets minding my own business without feeling that I was taking my life in my hands from the unwanted attention of men. Power dynamics FIRST, race second.

    • Nancy

      June 5, 2013 at 11:21 pm

      Lisa, I totally agree with you! Power all the way.

  110. Lisa

    June 5, 2013 at 6:22 am

    I live in Jordan. The ‘white male gaze’ is more accurately described as ‘privileged male gaze’ and it happens anyplace men think they have power over women, have license to act like animals etc. I see it in Jordan every day, and I would not quite categorize this as ‘white male gaze’.

    I feel your pain, but honestly, this is almost entirely a power dynamic, not a racial one. Yes, yes, race and power are related. I get that.just that I think the article is simplistic in this sense and doesn’t do justice to the larger problem.

    If this was just about ‘whiteness’ and being a woman of color, then I SHOULD be able to walk on Jordanian streets minding my own business without feeling that I was taking my life in my hands from the unwanted attention of men. Power dynamics FIRST, race second.

    • Nancy

      June 5, 2013 at 11:21 pm

      Lisa, I totally agree with you! Power all the way.

  111. Lisa

    June 5, 2013 at 6:22 am

    I live in Jordan. The ‘white male gaze’ is more accurately described as ‘privileged male gaze’ and it happens anyplace men think they have power over women, have license to act like animals etc. I see it in Jordan every day, and I would not quite categorize this as ‘white male gaze’.

    I feel your pain, but honestly, this is almost entirely a power dynamic, not a racial one. Yes, yes, race and power are related. I get that.just that I think the article is simplistic in this sense and doesn’t do justice to the larger problem.

    If this was just about ‘whiteness’ and being a woman of color, then I SHOULD be able to walk on Jordanian streets minding my own business without feeling that I was taking my life in my hands from the unwanted attention of men. Power dynamics FIRST, race second.

    • Nancy

      June 5, 2013 at 11:21 pm

      Lisa, I totally agree with you! Power all the way.

  112. Lisa

    June 5, 2013 at 6:22 am

    I live in Jordan. The ‘white male gaze’ is more accurately described as ‘privileged male gaze’ and it happens anyplace men think they have power over women, have license to act like animals etc. I see it in Jordan every day, and I would not quite categorize this as ‘white male gaze’.

    I feel your pain, but honestly, this is almost entirely a power dynamic, not a racial one. Yes, yes, race and power are related. I get that.just that I think the article is simplistic in this sense and doesn’t do justice to the larger problem.

    If this was just about ‘whiteness’ and being a woman of color, then I SHOULD be able to walk on Jordanian streets minding my own business without feeling that I was taking my life in my hands from the unwanted attention of men. Power dynamics FIRST, race second.

    • Nancy

      June 5, 2013 at 11:21 pm

      Lisa, I totally agree with you! Power all the way.

  113. yuyun nityayukti

    June 5, 2013 at 7:38 am

    As a Muslim, I am sad to read it. They don’t understand human rights, when a woman is allowed to wear a bikini why he was not allowed to wear the hijab as well as his rights as a Muslim woman. Are they mad just because a woman is not allowed to see the body? it is our right as women (Muslim) to be covered. If you still wearing the hijab even though the bad treatment of those people, you believe precious in God’s sight and that’s what matters. May God always protect and make you strong, I am amazed at you.

  114. yuyun nityayukti

    June 5, 2013 at 7:38 am

    As a Muslim, I am sad to read it. They don’t understand human rights, when a woman is allowed to wear a bikini why he was not allowed to wear the hijab as well as his rights as a Muslim woman. Are they mad just because a woman is not allowed to see the body? it is our right as women (Muslim) to be covered. If you still wearing the hijab even though the bad treatment of those people, you believe precious in God’s sight and that’s what matters. May God always protect and make you strong, I am amazed at you.

  115. yuyun nityayukti

    June 5, 2013 at 7:38 am

    As a Muslim, I am sad to read it. They don’t understand human rights, when a woman is allowed to wear a bikini why he was not allowed to wear the hijab as well as his rights as a Muslim woman. Are they mad just because a woman is not allowed to see the body? it is our right as women (Muslim) to be covered. If you still wearing the hijab even though the bad treatment of those people, you believe precious in God’s sight and that’s what matters. May God always protect and make you strong, I am amazed at you.

  116. yuyun nityayukti

    June 5, 2013 at 7:38 am

    As a Muslim, I am sad to read it. They don’t understand human rights, when a woman is allowed to wear a bikini why he was not allowed to wear the hijab as well as his rights as a Muslim woman. Are they mad just because a woman is not allowed to see the body? it is our right as women (Muslim) to be covered. If you still wearing the hijab even though the bad treatment of those people, you believe precious in God’s sight and that’s what matters. May God always protect and make you strong, I am amazed at you.

  117. Peter Gould

    June 5, 2013 at 9:39 am

    I’m a white guy and I think hijabis are cool. Beyond the spiritual significance for the individuals who choose to wear them I genuinely appreciate the creative and artistic flair that some people put into their approach to fashion. I just happen to be in Malaysia this week with my family and enjoying the beautiful diversity of of fashion here, male and female. All those white guy hater douchebags ain’t got no style!

  118. Peter Gould

    June 5, 2013 at 9:39 am

    I’m a white guy and I think hijabis are cool. Beyond the spiritual significance for the individuals who choose to wear them I genuinely appreciate the creative and artistic flair that some people put into their approach to fashion. I just happen to be in Malaysia this week with my family and enjoying the beautiful diversity of of fashion here, male and female. All those white guy hater douchebags ain’t got no style!

  119. Peter Gould

    June 5, 2013 at 9:39 am

    I’m a white guy and I think hijabis are cool. Beyond the spiritual significance for the individuals who choose to wear them I genuinely appreciate the creative and artistic flair that some people put into their approach to fashion. I just happen to be in Malaysia this week with my family and enjoying the beautiful diversity of of fashion here, male and female. All those white guy hater douchebags ain’t got no style!

  120. Peter Gould

    June 5, 2013 at 9:39 am

    I’m a white guy and I think hijabis are cool. Beyond the spiritual significance for the individuals who choose to wear them I genuinely appreciate the creative and artistic flair that some people put into their approach to fashion. I just happen to be in Malaysia this week with my family and enjoying the beautiful diversity of of fashion here, male and female. All those white guy hater douchebags ain’t got no style!

  121. Mark

    June 5, 2013 at 11:14 am

    Very good article. Lol I happen to be a white guy who loves the hijab, alhamdulillah

  122. Mark

    June 5, 2013 at 11:14 am

    Very good article. Lol I happen to be a white guy who loves the hijab, alhamdulillah

  123. Mark

    June 5, 2013 at 11:14 am

    Very good article. Lol I happen to be a white guy who loves the hijab, alhamdulillah

  124. Mark

    June 5, 2013 at 11:14 am

    Very good article. Lol I happen to be a white guy who loves the hijab, alhamdulillah

  125. Taha Imran

    June 5, 2013 at 11:50 am

    Ma Sha Allah, may Allah keep you safe Zainab.

  126. Taha Imran

    June 5, 2013 at 11:50 am

    Ma Sha Allah, may Allah keep you safe Zainab.

  127. Taha Imran

    June 5, 2013 at 11:50 am

    Ma Sha Allah, may Allah keep you safe Zainab.

  128. Taha Imran

    June 5, 2013 at 11:50 am

    Ma Sha Allah, may Allah keep you safe Zainab.

  129. Yasmina

    June 5, 2013 at 11:51 am

    Great piece, sister!! I love it. We need to keep writing about this. I’m Muslim and do not wear hijab, but I support it 1000 percent. Maybe one day I will wear it. I commend you for your choices and speaking out against those in society who demand that women be sexualized. You are truly empowered. To me, you and other hijabi women are my heros. 🙂

  130. Yasmina

    June 5, 2013 at 11:51 am

    Great piece, sister!! I love it. We need to keep writing about this. I’m Muslim and do not wear hijab, but I support it 1000 percent. Maybe one day I will wear it. I commend you for your choices and speaking out against those in society who demand that women be sexualized. You are truly empowered. To me, you and other hijabi women are my heros. 🙂

  131. Yasmina

    June 5, 2013 at 11:51 am

    Great piece, sister!! I love it. We need to keep writing about this. I’m Muslim and do not wear hijab, but I support it 1000 percent. Maybe one day I will wear it. I commend you for your choices and speaking out against those in society who demand that women be sexualized. You are truly empowered. To me, you and other hijabi women are my heros. 🙂

  132. Yasmina

    June 5, 2013 at 11:51 am

    Great piece, sister!! I love it. We need to keep writing about this. I’m Muslim and do not wear hijab, but I support it 1000 percent. Maybe one day I will wear it. I commend you for your choices and speaking out against those in society who demand that women be sexualized. You are truly empowered. To me, you and other hijabi women are my heros. 🙂

  133. Kolbeinn Ali

    June 5, 2013 at 12:04 pm

    Black men don’t gaze? the brown? Sounds like she is proposing that there must be something inherit about white men that makes them gaze and be judgemental. That’s judgemental. This is one case she uses to support a racist generalisation of white men. I’m sure most men, regardless of colour, are sexist and racist swines (among the ummah too, unfortunately, astaghfirullah).. its a men-thing, not a white men-thing. Illogical conclusion regarding the white race and completely racist. Sister should think twice next time, inshaAllah.

  134. Kolbeinn Ali

    June 5, 2013 at 12:04 pm

    Black men don’t gaze? the brown? Sounds like she is proposing that there must be something inherit about white men that makes them gaze and be judgemental. That’s judgemental. This is one case she uses to support a racist generalisation of white men. I’m sure most men, regardless of colour, are sexist and racist swines (among the ummah too, unfortunately, astaghfirullah).. its a men-thing, not a white men-thing. Illogical conclusion regarding the white race and completely racist. Sister should think twice next time, inshaAllah.

  135. Kolbeinn Ali

    June 5, 2013 at 12:04 pm

    Black men don’t gaze? the brown? Sounds like she is proposing that there must be something inherit about white men that makes them gaze and be judgemental. That’s judgemental. This is one case she uses to support a racist generalisation of white men. I’m sure most men, regardless of colour, are sexist and racist swines (among the ummah too, unfortunately, astaghfirullah).. its a men-thing, not a white men-thing. Illogical conclusion regarding the white race and completely racist. Sister should think twice next time, inshaAllah.

  136. Kolbeinn Ali

    June 5, 2013 at 12:04 pm

    Black men don’t gaze? the brown? Sounds like she is proposing that there must be something inherit about white men that makes them gaze and be judgemental. That’s judgemental. This is one case she uses to support a racist generalisation of white men. I’m sure most men, regardless of colour, are sexist and racist swines (among the ummah too, unfortunately, astaghfirullah).. its a men-thing, not a white men-thing. Illogical conclusion regarding the white race and completely racist. Sister should think twice next time, inshaAllah.

  137. Yusef Shaban

    June 5, 2013 at 12:11 pm

    Great piece, mashallah. I applaud you for your courage and sympathize that you have to deal with these types of antics. Muslim Women have it much tougher than us men. Especially if they wear hijab.

  138. Yusef Shaban

    June 5, 2013 at 12:11 pm

    Great piece, mashallah. I applaud you for your courage and sympathize that you have to deal with these types of antics. Muslim Women have it much tougher than us men. Especially if they wear hijab.

  139. Yusef Shaban

    June 5, 2013 at 12:11 pm

    Great piece, mashallah. I applaud you for your courage and sympathize that you have to deal with these types of antics. Muslim Women have it much tougher than us men. Especially if they wear hijab.

  140. Yusef Shaban

    June 5, 2013 at 12:11 pm

    Great piece, mashallah. I applaud you for your courage and sympathize that you have to deal with these types of antics. Muslim Women have it much tougher than us men. Especially if they wear hijab.

  141. Nasreen

    June 5, 2013 at 12:31 pm

    I really liked it! But as much as I joke about white people to my white friends, I don’t think it’s just isolated to the “white male gaze.” I think that there’s been plenty objectification of women in, say, the Middle East and India, where a family’s honor is still very much hinged directly to what a woman wears or the way a woman behaves. Which, to be blunt in my opinions, is the reason the hijab holds such a large sway in our community vs. ensuring that Muslim women, say, have unrestricted access to education.

    I really came to love the hijab. But I think that the Muslim community, in attempting to protect what we perceive as communally embraced traditions, miss a lot and assume a lot of the communities surrounding us.

    For instance, I actually don’t think the reason these guys were yelling that stuff out was because it disrupted their “white male gaze.” I am sure that women that wear scarves on their head to protect it from rain/frizz don’t get shouted at that way (though perhaps, in other ways). I am also sure that women wearing long sleeves and pants (which, by the way, many women do) weren’t shouted at to “TAKE THOSE OFF AND PUT ON A BIKINI.” There is something deeper going on than simply denying the voyeur.

    Again, I think it was a really nice article and I love it when Muslims voice their thoughts and opinions so eloquently and openly – we need more of it in our community. However, I think that the assessment was too simplistic and it would be worth taking a closer look at why our community is so obsessed with the hijab.

    Just a side note… It always bothers me when hijabi women feel they need to justify and/or show how well the hijab “works.” It has always seemed to me that this obscures the beauty of the symbol and is missing the point entirely. Of course, that’s a personal opinion and perhaps a conversation best saved for a different venue 🙂

  142. Nasreen

    June 5, 2013 at 12:31 pm

    I really liked it! But as much as I joke about white people to my white friends, I don’t think it’s just isolated to the “white male gaze.” I think that there’s been plenty objectification of women in, say, the Middle East and India, where a family’s honor is still very much hinged directly to what a woman wears or the way a woman behaves. Which, to be blunt in my opinions, is the reason the hijab holds such a large sway in our community vs. ensuring that Muslim women, say, have unrestricted access to education.

    I really came to love the hijab. But I think that the Muslim community, in attempting to protect what we perceive as communally embraced traditions, miss a lot and assume a lot of the communities surrounding us.

    For instance, I actually don’t think the reason these guys were yelling that stuff out was because it disrupted their “white male gaze.” I am sure that women that wear scarves on their head to protect it from rain/frizz don’t get shouted at that way (though perhaps, in other ways). I am also sure that women wearing long sleeves and pants (which, by the way, many women do) weren’t shouted at to “TAKE THOSE OFF AND PUT ON A BIKINI.” There is something deeper going on than simply denying the voyeur.

    Again, I think it was a really nice article and I love it when Muslims voice their thoughts and opinions so eloquently and openly – we need more of it in our community. However, I think that the assessment was too simplistic and it would be worth taking a closer look at why our community is so obsessed with the hijab.

    Just a side note… It always bothers me when hijabi women feel they need to justify and/or show how well the hijab “works.” It has always seemed to me that this obscures the beauty of the symbol and is missing the point entirely. Of course, that’s a personal opinion and perhaps a conversation best saved for a different venue 🙂

  143. Nasreen

    June 5, 2013 at 12:31 pm

    I really liked it! But as much as I joke about white people to my white friends, I don’t think it’s just isolated to the “white male gaze.” I think that there’s been plenty objectification of women in, say, the Middle East and India, where a family’s honor is still very much hinged directly to what a woman wears or the way a woman behaves. Which, to be blunt in my opinions, is the reason the hijab holds such a large sway in our community vs. ensuring that Muslim women, say, have unrestricted access to education.

    I really came to love the hijab. But I think that the Muslim community, in attempting to protect what we perceive as communally embraced traditions, miss a lot and assume a lot of the communities surrounding us.

    For instance, I actually don’t think the reason these guys were yelling that stuff out was because it disrupted their “white male gaze.” I am sure that women that wear scarves on their head to protect it from rain/frizz don’t get shouted at that way (though perhaps, in other ways). I am also sure that women wearing long sleeves and pants (which, by the way, many women do) weren’t shouted at to “TAKE THOSE OFF AND PUT ON A BIKINI.” There is something deeper going on than simply denying the voyeur.

    Again, I think it was a really nice article and I love it when Muslims voice their thoughts and opinions so eloquently and openly – we need more of it in our community. However, I think that the assessment was too simplistic and it would be worth taking a closer look at why our community is so obsessed with the hijab.

    Just a side note… It always bothers me when hijabi women feel they need to justify and/or show how well the hijab “works.” It has always seemed to me that this obscures the beauty of the symbol and is missing the point entirely. Of course, that’s a personal opinion and perhaps a conversation best saved for a different venue 🙂

  144. Nasreen

    June 5, 2013 at 12:31 pm

    I really liked it! But as much as I joke about white people to my white friends, I don’t think it’s just isolated to the “white male gaze.” I think that there’s been plenty objectification of women in, say, the Middle East and India, where a family’s honor is still very much hinged directly to what a woman wears or the way a woman behaves. Which, to be blunt in my opinions, is the reason the hijab holds such a large sway in our community vs. ensuring that Muslim women, say, have unrestricted access to education.

    I really came to love the hijab. But I think that the Muslim community, in attempting to protect what we perceive as communally embraced traditions, miss a lot and assume a lot of the communities surrounding us.

    For instance, I actually don’t think the reason these guys were yelling that stuff out was because it disrupted their “white male gaze.” I am sure that women that wear scarves on their head to protect it from rain/frizz don’t get shouted at that way (though perhaps, in other ways). I am also sure that women wearing long sleeves and pants (which, by the way, many women do) weren’t shouted at to “TAKE THOSE OFF AND PUT ON A BIKINI.” There is something deeper going on than simply denying the voyeur.

    Again, I think it was a really nice article and I love it when Muslims voice their thoughts and opinions so eloquently and openly – we need more of it in our community. However, I think that the assessment was too simplistic and it would be worth taking a closer look at why our community is so obsessed with the hijab.

    Just a side note… It always bothers me when hijabi women feel they need to justify and/or show how well the hijab “works.” It has always seemed to me that this obscures the beauty of the symbol and is missing the point entirely. Of course, that’s a personal opinion and perhaps a conversation best saved for a different venue 🙂

  145. Jesus Bernal

    June 5, 2013 at 12:55 pm

    “Hey look, it’s another one of those WHITE guys who hates my hijab.”

    another sweeping generalization made by a supposed “educated” person.
    your article seeps with racial hatred, not only does it make you appear stupid, but it discredits any point you try to make in your writing. I guess you don’t see the hypocrisy, you think it’s not right for those men to hate you, you then go on give a few examples of how they’re racist. Then you counter with writing that is equally discriminatory.
    i could easily point out 5 examples.

    Don’t blame all whites for the actions of a few. thanks.

  146. Jesus Bernal

    June 5, 2013 at 12:55 pm

    “Hey look, it’s another one of those WHITE guys who hates my hijab.”

    another sweeping generalization made by a supposed “educated” person.
    your article seeps with racial hatred, not only does it make you appear stupid, but it discredits any point you try to make in your writing. I guess you don’t see the hypocrisy, you think it’s not right for those men to hate you, you then go on give a few examples of how they’re racist. Then you counter with writing that is equally discriminatory.
    i could easily point out 5 examples.

    Don’t blame all whites for the actions of a few. thanks.

  147. Jesus Bernal

    June 5, 2013 at 12:55 pm

    “Hey look, it’s another one of those WHITE guys who hates my hijab.”

    another sweeping generalization made by a supposed “educated” person.
    your article seeps with racial hatred, not only does it make you appear stupid, but it discredits any point you try to make in your writing. I guess you don’t see the hypocrisy, you think it’s not right for those men to hate you, you then go on give a few examples of how they’re racist. Then you counter with writing that is equally discriminatory.
    i could easily point out 5 examples.

    Don’t blame all whites for the actions of a few. thanks.

  148. Jesus Bernal

    June 5, 2013 at 12:55 pm

    “Hey look, it’s another one of those WHITE guys who hates my hijab.”

    another sweeping generalization made by a supposed “educated” person.
    your article seeps with racial hatred, not only does it make you appear stupid, but it discredits any point you try to make in your writing. I guess you don’t see the hypocrisy, you think it’s not right for those men to hate you, you then go on give a few examples of how they’re racist. Then you counter with writing that is equally discriminatory.
    i could easily point out 5 examples.

    Don’t blame all whites for the actions of a few. thanks.

  149. Tiquita15

    June 5, 2013 at 1:05 pm

    I think there is truth on what she wrote, I can see some men getting angry because they cant check us out while we cover, but it also is racism, so both cases are truth. As for that girl with that nasty coment all I can say is LOL, like someone else said I smell some guilt on your reply

  150. Tiquita15

    June 5, 2013 at 1:05 pm

    I think there is truth on what she wrote, I can see some men getting angry because they cant check us out while we cover, but it also is racism, so both cases are truth. As for that girl with that nasty coment all I can say is LOL, like someone else said I smell some guilt on your reply

  151. Tiquita15

    June 5, 2013 at 1:05 pm

    I think there is truth on what she wrote, I can see some men getting angry because they cant check us out while we cover, but it also is racism, so both cases are truth. As for that girl with that nasty coment all I can say is LOL, like someone else said I smell some guilt on your reply

  152. Tiquita15

    June 5, 2013 at 1:05 pm

    I think there is truth on what she wrote, I can see some men getting angry because they cant check us out while we cover, but it also is racism, so both cases are truth. As for that girl with that nasty coment all I can say is LOL, like someone else said I smell some guilt on your reply

  153. ryan

    June 5, 2013 at 1:10 pm

    Why the exclusive focus on white men? Sure, these guys are a bunch of idiots. But if I’m not mistaken, in Muslim countries men (and women) stone women to death for violating socio-sexual norms. Kind of makes redneck fratboys look mild by comparison.

    The example of headscarves is a much more complicated issue than “white guys are privileged assholes.” Why don’t you look within at your own culture, and imagine how a European woman would feel being threatened with death for exposing her head, sleeping with multiple partners, or, gee, driving or something.

  154. ryan

    June 5, 2013 at 1:10 pm

    Why the exclusive focus on white men? Sure, these guys are a bunch of idiots. But if I’m not mistaken, in Muslim countries men (and women) stone women to death for violating socio-sexual norms. Kind of makes redneck fratboys look mild by comparison.

    The example of headscarves is a much more complicated issue than “white guys are privileged assholes.” Why don’t you look within at your own culture, and imagine how a European woman would feel being threatened with death for exposing her head, sleeping with multiple partners, or, gee, driving or something.

  155. ryan

    June 5, 2013 at 1:10 pm

    Why the exclusive focus on white men? Sure, these guys are a bunch of idiots. But if I’m not mistaken, in Muslim countries men (and women) stone women to death for violating socio-sexual norms. Kind of makes redneck fratboys look mild by comparison.

    The example of headscarves is a much more complicated issue than “white guys are privileged assholes.” Why don’t you look within at your own culture, and imagine how a European woman would feel being threatened with death for exposing her head, sleeping with multiple partners, or, gee, driving or something.

  156. ryan

    June 5, 2013 at 1:10 pm

    Why the exclusive focus on white men? Sure, these guys are a bunch of idiots. But if I’m not mistaken, in Muslim countries men (and women) stone women to death for violating socio-sexual norms. Kind of makes redneck fratboys look mild by comparison.

    The example of headscarves is a much more complicated issue than “white guys are privileged assholes.” Why don’t you look within at your own culture, and imagine how a European woman would feel being threatened with death for exposing her head, sleeping with multiple partners, or, gee, driving or something.

  157. Lisa Muhammad

    June 5, 2013 at 1:16 pm

    As Salaam Alaikum dear sister Zainab, stay strong and don’t bend your ways… not even an atoms weight. As an African American Muslim…I don’t get any outburst from white males… just glances and sometimes a smile here or there. once a week…I do receive a nasty stare from white males. But yours and mine, our reward is with Allah. HE is our champion 🙂 Stay strong Muslimah!

  158. Lisa Muhammad

    June 5, 2013 at 1:16 pm

    As Salaam Alaikum dear sister Zainab, stay strong and don’t bend your ways… not even an atoms weight. As an African American Muslim…I don’t get any outburst from white males… just glances and sometimes a smile here or there. once a week…I do receive a nasty stare from white males. But yours and mine, our reward is with Allah. HE is our champion 🙂 Stay strong Muslimah!

  159. Lisa Muhammad

    June 5, 2013 at 1:16 pm

    As Salaam Alaikum dear sister Zainab, stay strong and don’t bend your ways… not even an atoms weight. As an African American Muslim…I don’t get any outburst from white males… just glances and sometimes a smile here or there. once a week…I do receive a nasty stare from white males. But yours and mine, our reward is with Allah. HE is our champion 🙂 Stay strong Muslimah!

  160. Lisa Muhammad

    June 5, 2013 at 1:16 pm

    As Salaam Alaikum dear sister Zainab, stay strong and don’t bend your ways… not even an atoms weight. As an African American Muslim…I don’t get any outburst from white males… just glances and sometimes a smile here or there. once a week…I do receive a nasty stare from white males. But yours and mine, our reward is with Allah. HE is our champion 🙂 Stay strong Muslimah!

  161. Yasser K

    June 5, 2013 at 1:21 pm

    I think this was a well-written piece. What bothers me is that there are a lot of people commenting who view this to be a black or white topic. I’m a Muslim male. I come from a very large family, all of whom live within a block of me outside of Chicago. Chicago has a huge Muslim population and I attended a university in Chicago where Muslims claimed a large majority of the campus’s students body. Each day I would sit outside on the campus quad with friends and listen to them as they made comments about women, all women. It didn’t matter what they were wearing, if they had hijabs on or not. If there was a girl passing in front of us that they thought was attractive, a comment was made. Now my friends had a little more composure and wouldn’t say anything aloud, but they still had their thoughts. THIS is a primary reason why many Muslim women wear hijabs. No one, male or female, can control the thoughts of others. The only say you get in how others perceive you is by the way you display yourself. In my family, half the women wear the hijab and the other half do not. It is their choice. Neither myself, nor anyone else, will force that choice upon them. Because frankly, there is no right choice when you live in the American society. If Muslim women do wear the hijab, then they risk racial abuse from men AND women around them. If they choose not to wear the hijab, then they risk being objectified by men AND the scrutiny of other Muslim females who might judge them for not wearing one. Either way, there a risk to be taken. This is why wearing the hijab is a choice. I am proud to call any Muslim woman, whether she chooses to wear the hijab or not, a sister. I have always taken the approach of “How would I like someone to treat my younger sister? Would I appreciate it if a man whistled at her as she walked by? Would I be upset if she was ostracized by other Muslims in our community simply because she does not wear a hijab?”

    We live in a different time. Let’s face it, the choice of wearing a hijab is not an easy one to make. Many factors must be taken into consideration. And not matter what your choice is, remember this: be proud of who you are and stand by the decisions you make in life. This goes for all women, not just the Muslim. What I love most about this young woman’s article is that she did not allow this man’s comment to affect her. Who cares what his reasoning was?! Let’s just call it what it is, the man was an asshole. But it takes a very secure person to be able to brush off rude comments which are meant to hurt them. So to every Muslim girl, Christian, Jewish, white, black, whatever… know that you cannot control how this world treats you, you can only control how you choose to handle what it throws at you. Be strong. Remain resilient. Don’t let words break you down. You are intelligent, beautiful, gifted. You are anything and everything that gives you the strength to walk out of your house each morning ready to face life’s challenges.

    I am proud of you Zainab for choosing to remain level-headed and cognizant of your purpose in life in a time when the world attempted to hurt you.

  162. Yasser K

    June 5, 2013 at 1:21 pm

    I think this was a well-written piece. What bothers me is that there are a lot of people commenting who view this to be a black or white topic. I’m a Muslim male. I come from a very large family, all of whom live within a block of me outside of Chicago. Chicago has a huge Muslim population and I attended a university in Chicago where Muslims claimed a large majority of the campus’s students body. Each day I would sit outside on the campus quad with friends and listen to them as they made comments about women, all women. It didn’t matter what they were wearing, if they had hijabs on or not. If there was a girl passing in front of us that they thought was attractive, a comment was made. Now my friends had a little more composure and wouldn’t say anything aloud, but they still had their thoughts. THIS is a primary reason why many Muslim women wear hijabs. No one, male or female, can control the thoughts of others. The only say you get in how others perceive you is by the way you display yourself. In my family, half the women wear the hijab and the other half do not. It is their choice. Neither myself, nor anyone else, will force that choice upon them. Because frankly, there is no right choice when you live in the American society. If Muslim women do wear the hijab, then they risk racial abuse from men AND women around them. If they choose not to wear the hijab, then they risk being objectified by men AND the scrutiny of other Muslim females who might judge them for not wearing one. Either way, there a risk to be taken. This is why wearing the hijab is a choice. I am proud to call any Muslim woman, whether she chooses to wear the hijab or not, a sister. I have always taken the approach of “How would I like someone to treat my younger sister? Would I appreciate it if a man whistled at her as she walked by? Would I be upset if she was ostracized by other Muslims in our community simply because she does not wear a hijab?”

    We live in a different time. Let’s face it, the choice of wearing a hijab is not an easy one to make. Many factors must be taken into consideration. And not matter what your choice is, remember this: be proud of who you are and stand by the decisions you make in life. This goes for all women, not just the Muslim. What I love most about this young woman’s article is that she did not allow this man’s comment to affect her. Who cares what his reasoning was?! Let’s just call it what it is, the man was an asshole. But it takes a very secure person to be able to brush off rude comments which are meant to hurt them. So to every Muslim girl, Christian, Jewish, white, black, whatever… know that you cannot control how this world treats you, you can only control how you choose to handle what it throws at you. Be strong. Remain resilient. Don’t let words break you down. You are intelligent, beautiful, gifted. You are anything and everything that gives you the strength to walk out of your house each morning ready to face life’s challenges.

    I am proud of you Zainab for choosing to remain level-headed and cognizant of your purpose in life in a time when the world attempted to hurt you.

  163. Yasser K

    June 5, 2013 at 1:21 pm

    I think this was a well-written piece. What bothers me is that there are a lot of people commenting who view this to be a black or white topic. I’m a Muslim male. I come from a very large family, all of whom live within a block of me outside of Chicago. Chicago has a huge Muslim population and I attended a university in Chicago where Muslims claimed a large majority of the campus’s students body. Each day I would sit outside on the campus quad with friends and listen to them as they made comments about women, all women. It didn’t matter what they were wearing, if they had hijabs on or not. If there was a girl passing in front of us that they thought was attractive, a comment was made. Now my friends had a little more composure and wouldn’t say anything aloud, but they still had their thoughts. THIS is a primary reason why many Muslim women wear hijabs. No one, male or female, can control the thoughts of others. The only say you get in how others perceive you is by the way you display yourself. In my family, half the women wear the hijab and the other half do not. It is their choice. Neither myself, nor anyone else, will force that choice upon them. Because frankly, there is no right choice when you live in the American society. If Muslim women do wear the hijab, then they risk racial abuse from men AND women around them. If they choose not to wear the hijab, then they risk being objectified by men AND the scrutiny of other Muslim females who might judge them for not wearing one. Either way, there a risk to be taken. This is why wearing the hijab is a choice. I am proud to call any Muslim woman, whether she chooses to wear the hijab or not, a sister. I have always taken the approach of “How would I like someone to treat my younger sister? Would I appreciate it if a man whistled at her as she walked by? Would I be upset if she was ostracized by other Muslims in our community simply because she does not wear a hijab?”

    We live in a different time. Let’s face it, the choice of wearing a hijab is not an easy one to make. Many factors must be taken into consideration. And not matter what your choice is, remember this: be proud of who you are and stand by the decisions you make in life. This goes for all women, not just the Muslim. What I love most about this young woman’s article is that she did not allow this man’s comment to affect her. Who cares what his reasoning was?! Let’s just call it what it is, the man was an asshole. But it takes a very secure person to be able to brush off rude comments which are meant to hurt them. So to every Muslim girl, Christian, Jewish, white, black, whatever… know that you cannot control how this world treats you, you can only control how you choose to handle what it throws at you. Be strong. Remain resilient. Don’t let words break you down. You are intelligent, beautiful, gifted. You are anything and everything that gives you the strength to walk out of your house each morning ready to face life’s challenges.

    I am proud of you Zainab for choosing to remain level-headed and cognizant of your purpose in life in a time when the world attempted to hurt you.

  164. Yasser K

    June 5, 2013 at 1:21 pm

    I think this was a well-written piece. What bothers me is that there are a lot of people commenting who view this to be a black or white topic. I’m a Muslim male. I come from a very large family, all of whom live within a block of me outside of Chicago. Chicago has a huge Muslim population and I attended a university in Chicago where Muslims claimed a large majority of the campus’s students body. Each day I would sit outside on the campus quad with friends and listen to them as they made comments about women, all women. It didn’t matter what they were wearing, if they had hijabs on or not. If there was a girl passing in front of us that they thought was attractive, a comment was made. Now my friends had a little more composure and wouldn’t say anything aloud, but they still had their thoughts. THIS is a primary reason why many Muslim women wear hijabs. No one, male or female, can control the thoughts of others. The only say you get in how others perceive you is by the way you display yourself. In my family, half the women wear the hijab and the other half do not. It is their choice. Neither myself, nor anyone else, will force that choice upon them. Because frankly, there is no right choice when you live in the American society. If Muslim women do wear the hijab, then they risk racial abuse from men AND women around them. If they choose not to wear the hijab, then they risk being objectified by men AND the scrutiny of other Muslim females who might judge them for not wearing one. Either way, there a risk to be taken. This is why wearing the hijab is a choice. I am proud to call any Muslim woman, whether she chooses to wear the hijab or not, a sister. I have always taken the approach of “How would I like someone to treat my younger sister? Would I appreciate it if a man whistled at her as she walked by? Would I be upset if she was ostracized by other Muslims in our community simply because she does not wear a hijab?”

    We live in a different time. Let’s face it, the choice of wearing a hijab is not an easy one to make. Many factors must be taken into consideration. And not matter what your choice is, remember this: be proud of who you are and stand by the decisions you make in life. This goes for all women, not just the Muslim. What I love most about this young woman’s article is that she did not allow this man’s comment to affect her. Who cares what his reasoning was?! Let’s just call it what it is, the man was an asshole. But it takes a very secure person to be able to brush off rude comments which are meant to hurt them. So to every Muslim girl, Christian, Jewish, white, black, whatever… know that you cannot control how this world treats you, you can only control how you choose to handle what it throws at you. Be strong. Remain resilient. Don’t let words break you down. You are intelligent, beautiful, gifted. You are anything and everything that gives you the strength to walk out of your house each morning ready to face life’s challenges.

    I am proud of you Zainab for choosing to remain level-headed and cognizant of your purpose in life in a time when the world attempted to hurt you.

  165. Amy

    June 5, 2013 at 2:13 pm

    I just graduated from our Wesleyan class as well. Great article, and I hope those idiots shouting things don’t ever get under your skin. I remember sometimes seeing you and another girl in hijab walking together around campus, and every time I wondered why there weren’t more girls wearing headscarves in such a big school. Good luck!

  166. Amy

    June 5, 2013 at 2:13 pm

    I just graduated from our Wesleyan class as well. Great article, and I hope those idiots shouting things don’t ever get under your skin. I remember sometimes seeing you and another girl in hijab walking together around campus, and every time I wondered why there weren’t more girls wearing headscarves in such a big school. Good luck!

  167. Amy

    June 5, 2013 at 2:13 pm

    I just graduated from our Wesleyan class as well. Great article, and I hope those idiots shouting things don’t ever get under your skin. I remember sometimes seeing you and another girl in hijab walking together around campus, and every time I wondered why there weren’t more girls wearing headscarves in such a big school. Good luck!

  168. Amy

    June 5, 2013 at 2:13 pm

    I just graduated from our Wesleyan class as well. Great article, and I hope those idiots shouting things don’t ever get under your skin. I remember sometimes seeing you and another girl in hijab walking together around campus, and every time I wondered why there weren’t more girls wearing headscarves in such a big school. Good luck!

  169. Mardi , the boss

    June 5, 2013 at 2:25 pm

    Well Zainab, you continue to make us proud and this is a great way to continue our discussion. I would describe the men’s behavior as sexist religious intolerance. Do they call out to nuns in habits? I think not! And I agree the problem is certainly not limited to white males: I have been harrassed by men of all colors on multiple continents. It is about power and privilege and intolerance. To flaunt or not to flaunt: that is the question! 😉

  170. Mardi , the boss

    June 5, 2013 at 2:25 pm

    Well Zainab, you continue to make us proud and this is a great way to continue our discussion. I would describe the men’s behavior as sexist religious intolerance. Do they call out to nuns in habits? I think not! And I agree the problem is certainly not limited to white males: I have been harrassed by men of all colors on multiple continents. It is about power and privilege and intolerance. To flaunt or not to flaunt: that is the question! 😉

  171. Mardi , the boss

    June 5, 2013 at 2:25 pm

    Well Zainab, you continue to make us proud and this is a great way to continue our discussion. I would describe the men’s behavior as sexist religious intolerance. Do they call out to nuns in habits? I think not! And I agree the problem is certainly not limited to white males: I have been harrassed by men of all colors on multiple continents. It is about power and privilege and intolerance. To flaunt or not to flaunt: that is the question! 😉

  172. Mardi , the boss

    June 5, 2013 at 2:25 pm

    Well Zainab, you continue to make us proud and this is a great way to continue our discussion. I would describe the men’s behavior as sexist religious intolerance. Do they call out to nuns in habits? I think not! And I agree the problem is certainly not limited to white males: I have been harrassed by men of all colors on multiple continents. It is about power and privilege and intolerance. To flaunt or not to flaunt: that is the question! 😉

  173. Carla

    June 5, 2013 at 2:59 pm

    I like what you wrote but i do not agree with all of it. I have friends who also wear a hijab because its their choice to do so and they want to please their religious familiy. Personally, I do not think “white” men hate your hijab because you are runing their view or what they are looking for. I believe that if you would wear pants and a long shirt, they would have NOTHING to yell at even though you are not showing any skin. i believe they yell at people who are wearing the hijab because they are purely being racist. some people (not only white males) link the hijab to muslims and they link muslims to the terrorist attacks that have been going on in this country. i definetely do not agree with this but thats what ignorance does. bottom line i want to make sure that the followng is understood from my posting
    a) there are not only WHITE MALES who would hate your hijab, there are men and women.. any race.
    b) I do not think its because you are ruining what they are looking for because to be honest with you they could be yelling at all women who are wearing long pants and long shirts to take their clothes off.. but that doesnt happen as often to other girls as it happens to you with your hijab.. does it?
    c) if you are wearing a hijab to stop those “gazes” from men (and thats your main reason) why dont you try to not wear a hijab so you dont bring their attention at all if thats whats bothering you? (of course if its solely for religious purposes then this wouldnt apply)
    d) I just watched a documentary about the middle east and how women were being harassed on the street, most of these women were wearing a hijab. so NO.. not even if you are covered head to toe, these men would stop their harassment.

  174. Carla

    June 5, 2013 at 2:59 pm

    I like what you wrote but i do not agree with all of it. I have friends who also wear a hijab because its their choice to do so and they want to please their religious familiy. Personally, I do not think “white” men hate your hijab because you are runing their view or what they are looking for. I believe that if you would wear pants and a long shirt, they would have NOTHING to yell at even though you are not showing any skin. i believe they yell at people who are wearing the hijab because they are purely being racist. some people (not only white males) link the hijab to muslims and they link muslims to the terrorist attacks that have been going on in this country. i definetely do not agree with this but thats what ignorance does. bottom line i want to make sure that the followng is understood from my posting
    a) there are not only WHITE MALES who would hate your hijab, there are men and women.. any race.
    b) I do not think its because you are ruining what they are looking for because to be honest with you they could be yelling at all women who are wearing long pants and long shirts to take their clothes off.. but that doesnt happen as often to other girls as it happens to you with your hijab.. does it?
    c) if you are wearing a hijab to stop those “gazes” from men (and thats your main reason) why dont you try to not wear a hijab so you dont bring their attention at all if thats whats bothering you? (of course if its solely for religious purposes then this wouldnt apply)
    d) I just watched a documentary about the middle east and how women were being harassed on the street, most of these women were wearing a hijab. so NO.. not even if you are covered head to toe, these men would stop their harassment.

  175. Carla

    June 5, 2013 at 2:59 pm

    I like what you wrote but i do not agree with all of it. I have friends who also wear a hijab because its their choice to do so and they want to please their religious familiy. Personally, I do not think “white” men hate your hijab because you are runing their view or what they are looking for. I believe that if you would wear pants and a long shirt, they would have NOTHING to yell at even though you are not showing any skin. i believe they yell at people who are wearing the hijab because they are purely being racist. some people (not only white males) link the hijab to muslims and they link muslims to the terrorist attacks that have been going on in this country. i definetely do not agree with this but thats what ignorance does. bottom line i want to make sure that the followng is understood from my posting
    a) there are not only WHITE MALES who would hate your hijab, there are men and women.. any race.
    b) I do not think its because you are ruining what they are looking for because to be honest with you they could be yelling at all women who are wearing long pants and long shirts to take their clothes off.. but that doesnt happen as often to other girls as it happens to you with your hijab.. does it?
    c) if you are wearing a hijab to stop those “gazes” from men (and thats your main reason) why dont you try to not wear a hijab so you dont bring their attention at all if thats whats bothering you? (of course if its solely for religious purposes then this wouldnt apply)
    d) I just watched a documentary about the middle east and how women were being harassed on the street, most of these women were wearing a hijab. so NO.. not even if you are covered head to toe, these men would stop their harassment.

  176. Carla

    June 5, 2013 at 2:59 pm

    I like what you wrote but i do not agree with all of it. I have friends who also wear a hijab because its their choice to do so and they want to please their religious familiy. Personally, I do not think “white” men hate your hijab because you are runing their view or what they are looking for. I believe that if you would wear pants and a long shirt, they would have NOTHING to yell at even though you are not showing any skin. i believe they yell at people who are wearing the hijab because they are purely being racist. some people (not only white males) link the hijab to muslims and they link muslims to the terrorist attacks that have been going on in this country. i definetely do not agree with this but thats what ignorance does. bottom line i want to make sure that the followng is understood from my posting
    a) there are not only WHITE MALES who would hate your hijab, there are men and women.. any race.
    b) I do not think its because you are ruining what they are looking for because to be honest with you they could be yelling at all women who are wearing long pants and long shirts to take their clothes off.. but that doesnt happen as often to other girls as it happens to you with your hijab.. does it?
    c) if you are wearing a hijab to stop those “gazes” from men (and thats your main reason) why dont you try to not wear a hijab so you dont bring their attention at all if thats whats bothering you? (of course if its solely for religious purposes then this wouldnt apply)
    d) I just watched a documentary about the middle east and how women were being harassed on the street, most of these women were wearing a hijab. so NO.. not even if you are covered head to toe, these men would stop their harassment.

  177. Reece

    June 5, 2013 at 3:08 pm

    Your “white” guy article is racist itself. Are you telling us that ” black, brown, or yellow ” men do not l
    ” cruise for chicks” or look at you in a certain way…blame human nature. You racist.

  178. Reece

    June 5, 2013 at 3:08 pm

    Your “white” guy article is racist itself. Are you telling us that ” black, brown, or yellow ” men do not l
    ” cruise for chicks” or look at you in a certain way…blame human nature. You racist.

  179. Reece

    June 5, 2013 at 3:08 pm

    Your “white” guy article is racist itself. Are you telling us that ” black, brown, or yellow ” men do not l
    ” cruise for chicks” or look at you in a certain way…blame human nature. You racist.

  180. Reece

    June 5, 2013 at 3:08 pm

    Your “white” guy article is racist itself. Are you telling us that ” black, brown, or yellow ” men do not l
    ” cruise for chicks” or look at you in a certain way…blame human nature. You racist.

  181. nikkivixen

    June 5, 2013 at 3:16 pm

    Oh its clever how you decided that a symbol of oppression somehow makes you more free.

  182. nikkivixen

    June 5, 2013 at 3:16 pm

    Oh its clever how you decided that a symbol of oppression somehow makes you more free.

  183. nikkivixen

    June 5, 2013 at 3:16 pm

    Oh its clever how you decided that a symbol of oppression somehow makes you more free.

  184. nikkivixen

    June 5, 2013 at 3:16 pm

    Oh its clever how you decided that a symbol of oppression somehow makes you more free.

  185. EC

    June 5, 2013 at 3:34 pm

    I have to preface this comment by saying I am a woman, or I fear my comment would be totally disregarded by over-enthusiastic discrimination.

    You should be confident enough with your veiling choice to not perpetuate a different form of racism by using the term ‘white man’ over and over again. This author is is writing about a microcosm and her dealings are by her own admission, with only one group of people.

    It is easy to hate ‘the white man’, but there are many different heritages that are mixed up in ‘white’ and it is ignorant and hurtful for you to use that word. Irish, English, Scottish, French, German, Polish, Russian, North American pioneer families, Australians, and many more are all supposedly ‘white’. Those are all distinctly different and using ‘white’ as a term is racist.

    No doubt, the author has encountered the ubiquitous university-aged party boy mentality. She has also decided to become the victim instead of disregarding their blatant ignorance. The entire white community was not shouting in agreeance with these few people she dealt with.

    I cannot believe this was published! Just because we are women does not mean we have to subscribe to the victim mentality!

  186. EC

    June 5, 2013 at 3:34 pm

    I have to preface this comment by saying I am a woman, or I fear my comment would be totally disregarded by over-enthusiastic discrimination.

    You should be confident enough with your veiling choice to not perpetuate a different form of racism by using the term ‘white man’ over and over again. This author is is writing about a microcosm and her dealings are by her own admission, with only one group of people.

    It is easy to hate ‘the white man’, but there are many different heritages that are mixed up in ‘white’ and it is ignorant and hurtful for you to use that word. Irish, English, Scottish, French, German, Polish, Russian, North American pioneer families, Australians, and many more are all supposedly ‘white’. Those are all distinctly different and using ‘white’ as a term is racist.

    No doubt, the author has encountered the ubiquitous university-aged party boy mentality. She has also decided to become the victim instead of disregarding their blatant ignorance. The entire white community was not shouting in agreeance with these few people she dealt with.

    I cannot believe this was published! Just because we are women does not mean we have to subscribe to the victim mentality!

  187. EC

    June 5, 2013 at 3:34 pm

    I have to preface this comment by saying I am a woman, or I fear my comment would be totally disregarded by over-enthusiastic discrimination.

    You should be confident enough with your veiling choice to not perpetuate a different form of racism by using the term ‘white man’ over and over again. This author is is writing about a microcosm and her dealings are by her own admission, with only one group of people.

    It is easy to hate ‘the white man’, but there are many different heritages that are mixed up in ‘white’ and it is ignorant and hurtful for you to use that word. Irish, English, Scottish, French, German, Polish, Russian, North American pioneer families, Australians, and many more are all supposedly ‘white’. Those are all distinctly different and using ‘white’ as a term is racist.

    No doubt, the author has encountered the ubiquitous university-aged party boy mentality. She has also decided to become the victim instead of disregarding their blatant ignorance. The entire white community was not shouting in agreeance with these few people she dealt with.

    I cannot believe this was published! Just because we are women does not mean we have to subscribe to the victim mentality!

  188. EC

    June 5, 2013 at 3:34 pm

    I have to preface this comment by saying I am a woman, or I fear my comment would be totally disregarded by over-enthusiastic discrimination.

    You should be confident enough with your veiling choice to not perpetuate a different form of racism by using the term ‘white man’ over and over again. This author is is writing about a microcosm and her dealings are by her own admission, with only one group of people.

    It is easy to hate ‘the white man’, but there are many different heritages that are mixed up in ‘white’ and it is ignorant and hurtful for you to use that word. Irish, English, Scottish, French, German, Polish, Russian, North American pioneer families, Australians, and many more are all supposedly ‘white’. Those are all distinctly different and using ‘white’ as a term is racist.

    No doubt, the author has encountered the ubiquitous university-aged party boy mentality. She has also decided to become the victim instead of disregarding their blatant ignorance. The entire white community was not shouting in agreeance with these few people she dealt with.

    I cannot believe this was published! Just because we are women does not mean we have to subscribe to the victim mentality!

  189. Zainab Khan

    June 5, 2013 at 4:48 pm

    Hi everyone, this is Zainab, the author of the article writing. Alhamdulillah (all praise is due to God), the article has created controversy, which I love. There’s nothing better than controversy to start a healthy dialogue.

    The primary focus of this article is to bring attention to the male gaze and how destructive it is towards bodies that don’t conform to certain standards. The male gaze, in general, is a problem everywhere, whether in the streets of Middletown, CT or the streets of Peshawar, Pakistan.

    (Side note: I am a firm believer in calling out men, especially Muslim men, who pressure women into dressing a certain way while ignoring the injunction in the Quran that specifically commands them to lower their gaze (see 24:30). There is no doubt about it, the onus in on men, too. I’ve actually been working on another piece called “Muslim men, the Onus is on you, too” for the last several weeks, and insha’Allah (God willing), it should be out soon.)

    Anyways, I think it’s always important to bring to light the specificities and the cultural contexts of our situations. I chose to write about my experiences as a hijabi in Middletown and at Wesleyan because it’s something I know a lot about, and can talk about at great length. This article describes my experience as a visibly Muslim woman of color living in a predominantly white town at a predominantly white university. In my experiences, in Middletown and at Wesleyan, the most extreme examples of the privileged male gaze come from white men. Not all white men, but there are a few groups who exhibit this behavior more often, including the two groups I mentioned in my article.

    As for confusing issues of race and sexuality, I can assure you that I have been verbally abused enough times at Wesleyan and in Middletown to understand the difference. And as many commenters have noted, this behavior occurs in Middletown and at Wesleyan to people of all types– basically to any “body” that looks different. I really do think that it all goes back to the male gaze, ideas of privilege, and a sense of ownership over atypical bodies.

    As I mention in the article, I chose to wear a hijab for many different reasons, mostly spiritual– I wanted to get closer to God. Saying f*** you to this culture of privileged male gazing was one of the reasons, but not a primary one. Yes, in Pakistan or Egypt or Saudi Arabia the way I dress would be seen as a norm, if not a little risqué and I wouldn’t really be denying males in those countries their gaze at all.

    I’d like to reemphasize the fact that denying males their gazing privileges is merely a by-product of my choice to wear a hijab. The fact that some men in Middletown and Wesleyan were frustrated by my decision to wear a hijab (I began wearing a hijab in my sophomore year at Wesleyan) just goes to show the extent to which this problem of privileged male gazing exists.

    • Zainab Khan

      June 6, 2013 at 12:18 am

      second to last paragraph, it should read “but not the primary one” instead of “but not a primary one”

  190. Zainab Khan

    June 5, 2013 at 4:48 pm

    Hi everyone, this is Zainab, the author of the article writing. Alhamdulillah (all praise is due to God), the article has created controversy, which I love. There’s nothing better than controversy to start a healthy dialogue.

    The primary focus of this article is to bring attention to the male gaze and how destructive it is towards bodies that don’t conform to certain standards. The male gaze, in general, is a problem everywhere, whether in the streets of Middletown, CT or the streets of Peshawar, Pakistan.

    (Side note: I am a firm believer in calling out men, especially Muslim men, who pressure women into dressing a certain way while ignoring the injunction in the Quran that specifically commands them to lower their gaze (see 24:30). There is no doubt about it, the onus in on men, too. I’ve actually been working on another piece called “Muslim men, the Onus is on you, too” for the last several weeks, and insha’Allah (God willing), it should be out soon.)

    Anyways, I think it’s always important to bring to light the specificities and the cultural contexts of our situations. I chose to write about my experiences as a hijabi in Middletown and at Wesleyan because it’s something I know a lot about, and can talk about at great length. This article describes my experience as a visibly Muslim woman of color living in a predominantly white town at a predominantly white university. In my experiences, in Middletown and at Wesleyan, the most extreme examples of the privileged male gaze come from white men. Not all white men, but there are a few groups who exhibit this behavior more often, including the two groups I mentioned in my article.

    As for confusing issues of race and sexuality, I can assure you that I have been verbally abused enough times at Wesleyan and in Middletown to understand the difference. And as many commenters have noted, this behavior occurs in Middletown and at Wesleyan to people of all types– basically to any “body” that looks different. I really do think that it all goes back to the male gaze, ideas of privilege, and a sense of ownership over atypical bodies.

    As I mention in the article, I chose to wear a hijab for many different reasons, mostly spiritual– I wanted to get closer to God. Saying f*** you to this culture of privileged male gazing was one of the reasons, but not a primary one. Yes, in Pakistan or Egypt or Saudi Arabia the way I dress would be seen as a norm, if not a little risqué and I wouldn’t really be denying males in those countries their gaze at all.

    I’d like to reemphasize the fact that denying males their gazing privileges is merely a by-product of my choice to wear a hijab. The fact that some men in Middletown and Wesleyan were frustrated by my decision to wear a hijab (I began wearing a hijab in my sophomore year at Wesleyan) just goes to show the extent to which this problem of privileged male gazing exists.

    • Zainab Khan

      June 6, 2013 at 12:18 am

      second to last paragraph, it should read “but not the primary one” instead of “but not a primary one”

  191. Zainab Khan

    June 5, 2013 at 4:48 pm

    Hi everyone, this is Zainab, the author of the article writing. Alhamdulillah (all praise is due to God), the article has created controversy, which I love. There’s nothing better than controversy to start a healthy dialogue.

    The primary focus of this article is to bring attention to the male gaze and how destructive it is towards bodies that don’t conform to certain standards. The male gaze, in general, is a problem everywhere, whether in the streets of Middletown, CT or the streets of Peshawar, Pakistan.

    (Side note: I am a firm believer in calling out men, especially Muslim men, who pressure women into dressing a certain way while ignoring the injunction in the Quran that specifically commands them to lower their gaze (see 24:30). There is no doubt about it, the onus in on men, too. I’ve actually been working on another piece called “Muslim men, the Onus is on you, too” for the last several weeks, and insha’Allah (God willing), it should be out soon.)

    Anyways, I think it’s always important to bring to light the specificities and the cultural contexts of our situations. I chose to write about my experiences as a hijabi in Middletown and at Wesleyan because it’s something I know a lot about, and can talk about at great length. This article describes my experience as a visibly Muslim woman of color living in a predominantly white town at a predominantly white university. In my experiences, in Middletown and at Wesleyan, the most extreme examples of the privileged male gaze come from white men. Not all white men, but there are a few groups who exhibit this behavior more often, including the two groups I mentioned in my article.

    As for confusing issues of race and sexuality, I can assure you that I have been verbally abused enough times at Wesleyan and in Middletown to understand the difference. And as many commenters have noted, this behavior occurs in Middletown and at Wesleyan to people of all types– basically to any “body” that looks different. I really do think that it all goes back to the male gaze, ideas of privilege, and a sense of ownership over atypical bodies.

    As I mention in the article, I chose to wear a hijab for many different reasons, mostly spiritual– I wanted to get closer to God. Saying f*** you to this culture of privileged male gazing was one of the reasons, but not a primary one. Yes, in Pakistan or Egypt or Saudi Arabia the way I dress would be seen as a norm, if not a little risqué and I wouldn’t really be denying males in those countries their gaze at all.

    I’d like to reemphasize the fact that denying males their gazing privileges is merely a by-product of my choice to wear a hijab. The fact that some men in Middletown and Wesleyan were frustrated by my decision to wear a hijab (I began wearing a hijab in my sophomore year at Wesleyan) just goes to show the extent to which this problem of privileged male gazing exists.

    • Zainab Khan

      June 6, 2013 at 12:18 am

      second to last paragraph, it should read “but not the primary one” instead of “but not a primary one”

  192. Zainab Khan

    June 5, 2013 at 4:48 pm

    Hi everyone, this is Zainab, the author of the article writing. Alhamdulillah (all praise is due to God), the article has created controversy, which I love. There’s nothing better than controversy to start a healthy dialogue.

    The primary focus of this article is to bring attention to the male gaze and how destructive it is towards bodies that don’t conform to certain standards. The male gaze, in general, is a problem everywhere, whether in the streets of Middletown, CT or the streets of Peshawar, Pakistan.

    (Side note: I am a firm believer in calling out men, especially Muslim men, who pressure women into dressing a certain way while ignoring the injunction in the Quran that specifically commands them to lower their gaze (see 24:30). There is no doubt about it, the onus in on men, too. I’ve actually been working on another piece called “Muslim men, the Onus is on you, too” for the last several weeks, and insha’Allah (God willing), it should be out soon.)

    Anyways, I think it’s always important to bring to light the specificities and the cultural contexts of our situations. I chose to write about my experiences as a hijabi in Middletown and at Wesleyan because it’s something I know a lot about, and can talk about at great length. This article describes my experience as a visibly Muslim woman of color living in a predominantly white town at a predominantly white university. In my experiences, in Middletown and at Wesleyan, the most extreme examples of the privileged male gaze come from white men. Not all white men, but there are a few groups who exhibit this behavior more often, including the two groups I mentioned in my article.

    As for confusing issues of race and sexuality, I can assure you that I have been verbally abused enough times at Wesleyan and in Middletown to understand the difference. And as many commenters have noted, this behavior occurs in Middletown and at Wesleyan to people of all types– basically to any “body” that looks different. I really do think that it all goes back to the male gaze, ideas of privilege, and a sense of ownership over atypical bodies.

    As I mention in the article, I chose to wear a hijab for many different reasons, mostly spiritual– I wanted to get closer to God. Saying f*** you to this culture of privileged male gazing was one of the reasons, but not a primary one. Yes, in Pakistan or Egypt or Saudi Arabia the way I dress would be seen as a norm, if not a little risqué and I wouldn’t really be denying males in those countries their gaze at all.

    I’d like to reemphasize the fact that denying males their gazing privileges is merely a by-product of my choice to wear a hijab. The fact that some men in Middletown and Wesleyan were frustrated by my decision to wear a hijab (I began wearing a hijab in my sophomore year at Wesleyan) just goes to show the extent to which this problem of privileged male gazing exists.

    • Zainab Khan

      June 6, 2013 at 12:18 am

      second to last paragraph, it should read “but not the primary one” instead of “but not a primary one”

  193. Maripoya

    June 5, 2013 at 6:16 pm

    Many of the comments on this thread point out the failure of what I call Feminism Inc. Intersectionality is a critical concept that allows for the reality that women face profoundly different life experiences based upon race, geographical location, class, religion and a host of other factors.

    In this piece Zainab is telling us specifically about her life and how a racialized sexism impacted her day to day movements. At no time in the article did she degrade women who don’t wear the hijab, or imply that anyone needed to convert or change their personal attire. Also she is speaking about the white male gaze because this is the gaze that was the basis for her attacks. Why should an article about her life encompass the street harassments of women in other countries by men of other backgrounds who are actually not doing anything to Zainab in Middleton, CT?

    The Kumbaya, let’s pretend we are all alike, and in it together sisterhood professed by some is worthless when applied to real life circumstances because it demands a self-erasure that is at the root deeply anti-feminist. “Your silence will not protect you”: words by Audre Lorde which I take to mean that your own personal story is an important one that deserves to be told.

  194. Maripoya

    June 5, 2013 at 6:16 pm

    Many of the comments on this thread point out the failure of what I call Feminism Inc. Intersectionality is a critical concept that allows for the reality that women face profoundly different life experiences based upon race, geographical location, class, religion and a host of other factors.

    In this piece Zainab is telling us specifically about her life and how a racialized sexism impacted her day to day movements. At no time in the article did she degrade women who don’t wear the hijab, or imply that anyone needed to convert or change their personal attire. Also she is speaking about the white male gaze because this is the gaze that was the basis for her attacks. Why should an article about her life encompass the street harassments of women in other countries by men of other backgrounds who are actually not doing anything to Zainab in Middleton, CT?

    The Kumbaya, let’s pretend we are all alike, and in it together sisterhood professed by some is worthless when applied to real life circumstances because it demands a self-erasure that is at the root deeply anti-feminist. “Your silence will not protect you”: words by Audre Lorde which I take to mean that your own personal story is an important one that deserves to be told.

  195. Maripoya

    June 5, 2013 at 6:16 pm

    Many of the comments on this thread point out the failure of what I call Feminism Inc. Intersectionality is a critical concept that allows for the reality that women face profoundly different life experiences based upon race, geographical location, class, religion and a host of other factors.

    In this piece Zainab is telling us specifically about her life and how a racialized sexism impacted her day to day movements. At no time in the article did she degrade women who don’t wear the hijab, or imply that anyone needed to convert or change their personal attire. Also she is speaking about the white male gaze because this is the gaze that was the basis for her attacks. Why should an article about her life encompass the street harassments of women in other countries by men of other backgrounds who are actually not doing anything to Zainab in Middleton, CT?

    The Kumbaya, let’s pretend we are all alike, and in it together sisterhood professed by some is worthless when applied to real life circumstances because it demands a self-erasure that is at the root deeply anti-feminist. “Your silence will not protect you”: words by Audre Lorde which I take to mean that your own personal story is an important one that deserves to be told.

  196. Maripoya

    June 5, 2013 at 6:16 pm

    Many of the comments on this thread point out the failure of what I call Feminism Inc. Intersectionality is a critical concept that allows for the reality that women face profoundly different life experiences based upon race, geographical location, class, religion and a host of other factors.

    In this piece Zainab is telling us specifically about her life and how a racialized sexism impacted her day to day movements. At no time in the article did she degrade women who don’t wear the hijab, or imply that anyone needed to convert or change their personal attire. Also she is speaking about the white male gaze because this is the gaze that was the basis for her attacks. Why should an article about her life encompass the street harassments of women in other countries by men of other backgrounds who are actually not doing anything to Zainab in Middleton, CT?

    The Kumbaya, let’s pretend we are all alike, and in it together sisterhood professed by some is worthless when applied to real life circumstances because it demands a self-erasure that is at the root deeply anti-feminist. “Your silence will not protect you”: words by Audre Lorde which I take to mean that your own personal story is an important one that deserves to be told.

  197. Ian

    June 5, 2013 at 7:33 pm

    White male? I’ve traveled a lot, and my experience is that the male gale is a near universal. The only places where men don’t look at women are places where men know that doing so will get them beaten or mutilated (for example, tribal areas in Pakistan and Afghanistan.)

    Ah, white males. Responsible for all evil in the world.

  198. Ian

    June 5, 2013 at 7:33 pm

    White male? I’ve traveled a lot, and my experience is that the male gale is a near universal. The only places where men don’t look at women are places where men know that doing so will get them beaten or mutilated (for example, tribal areas in Pakistan and Afghanistan.)

    Ah, white males. Responsible for all evil in the world.

  199. Ian

    June 5, 2013 at 7:33 pm

    White male? I’ve traveled a lot, and my experience is that the male gale is a near universal. The only places where men don’t look at women are places where men know that doing so will get them beaten or mutilated (for example, tribal areas in Pakistan and Afghanistan.)

    Ah, white males. Responsible for all evil in the world.

  200. Ian

    June 5, 2013 at 7:33 pm

    White male? I’ve traveled a lot, and my experience is that the male gale is a near universal. The only places where men don’t look at women are places where men know that doing so will get them beaten or mutilated (for example, tribal areas in Pakistan and Afghanistan.)

    Ah, white males. Responsible for all evil in the world.

  201. Jarrett

    June 5, 2013 at 7:42 pm

    I don’t know how you think the entire western/white male species feels ENTITLED to “gaze.” I’m not white, but I do not practice Islam. Let’s speak purely from a reproductive perspective here. Men care about the chase. Give us a hint of candy though and we’ll slave after it. Our tastes vary from male to male but the universal aphrodisiac for us is how a woman presents herself to us. That is our great attractor. The most common feature of this presentation is smile And eye contact: if a woman does neither or sends out an angry look or upsidedown smile, men walk away.

    Now, the less shallow man unifies this concept with personality and priorities. I.e. we SEE the woman’s personality and become hooked on the common priorities: If she wants marriage (with you) then its a go. If she wants kids too, that’s an even bigger sign. This is all part of the chase. We find these things out on dates and interviews and activities. We take the first step by acting on what we see that we like. I’m not saying all men make the mistake of judging books by their covers, but men look for signals and then ferret out deeper connections if they want to.

    Even sex is not what you think it is for men. And I speak for all cultures here. Men don’t just enjoy the orgasm: we enjoy the act of sex too. The mechanics of it (less the foreplay) and such. It goes back to the chase: it is the part that is equivalent to the culminating victory. We don’t feel manly unless we are achieving intimacy with our partners and you know NOT getting rejected. Our ingrained instinct is to sow our seed to ensure future generations or whatever. The victory – partaking in the act of sex itself — is partly (falsely) a sense of that achievement. Whether you’re having sex for procreation in marriage or recreation between unmarried people, the enjoyment of the chase and the activity itself and the ultimate orgasm are all at once and universal for all men. When you marry, observe this in your husband.

    That’s how the white man operates at least. We don’t care about the gaze itself. The ogling. We don’t feel it is our right to do so either. We just do it: it is our evolved behavior.

    Gazing is but mere means to an end. Most men are also too inarticulate and not sensitive enough to express this perspective. You dont need to accept what ive writ as a finality, but understand all of this nevertheless.

    • Nancy

      June 5, 2013 at 11:14 pm

      Jarrett, as a Muslim hijabi, I totally agree with you. It is instinctual, which is the very reason many women decide to wear the hijab in the first place. It’s really not something you can change, men were born this way, as were women, in a different way. Its a fact of life. And this is one way to, even slightly, to empower ourselves as women…by covering up. You may not agree with it, but this is our perspective, and it should be honored by the public, like we honor those who choose not to cover, not degraded and called ‘oppressed’ by a patriarchal system. We are not (and I do not generalize, I am defending the women who choose to wear the hijab willingly). This is the lifestyle we choose, and if people don’t think it “works”, for a lack of a better word, then so be it. We believe in it, and that’s all that matters.

      While I do not necessarily like that it was the “white male” that was depicted in such a negative light, I do not think she intended to rule out all other men, or even generalize about all white men. It was a mere example she was presenting.

  202. Jarrett

    June 5, 2013 at 7:42 pm

    I don’t know how you think the entire western/white male species feels ENTITLED to “gaze.” I’m not white, but I do not practice Islam. Let’s speak purely from a reproductive perspective here. Men care about the chase. Give us a hint of candy though and we’ll slave after it. Our tastes vary from male to male but the universal aphrodisiac for us is how a woman presents herself to us. That is our great attractor. The most common feature of this presentation is smile And eye contact: if a woman does neither or sends out an angry look or upsidedown smile, men walk away.

    Now, the less shallow man unifies this concept with personality and priorities. I.e. we SEE the woman’s personality and become hooked on the common priorities: If she wants marriage (with you) then its a go. If she wants kids too, that’s an even bigger sign. This is all part of the chase. We find these things out on dates and interviews and activities. We take the first step by acting on what we see that we like. I’m not saying all men make the mistake of judging books by their covers, but men look for signals and then ferret out deeper connections if they want to.

    Even sex is not what you think it is for men. And I speak for all cultures here. Men don’t just enjoy the orgasm: we enjoy the act of sex too. The mechanics of it (less the foreplay) and such. It goes back to the chase: it is the part that is equivalent to the culminating victory. We don’t feel manly unless we are achieving intimacy with our partners and you know NOT getting rejected. Our ingrained instinct is to sow our seed to ensure future generations or whatever. The victory – partaking in the act of sex itself — is partly (falsely) a sense of that achievement. Whether you’re having sex for procreation in marriage or recreation between unmarried people, the enjoyment of the chase and the activity itself and the ultimate orgasm are all at once and universal for all men. When you marry, observe this in your husband.

    That’s how the white man operates at least. We don’t care about the gaze itself. The ogling. We don’t feel it is our right to do so either. We just do it: it is our evolved behavior.

    Gazing is but mere means to an end. Most men are also too inarticulate and not sensitive enough to express this perspective. You dont need to accept what ive writ as a finality, but understand all of this nevertheless.

    • Nancy

      June 5, 2013 at 11:14 pm

      Jarrett, as a Muslim hijabi, I totally agree with you. It is instinctual, which is the very reason many women decide to wear the hijab in the first place. It’s really not something you can change, men were born this way, as were women, in a different way. Its a fact of life. And this is one way to, even slightly, to empower ourselves as women…by covering up. You may not agree with it, but this is our perspective, and it should be honored by the public, like we honor those who choose not to cover, not degraded and called ‘oppressed’ by a patriarchal system. We are not (and I do not generalize, I am defending the women who choose to wear the hijab willingly). This is the lifestyle we choose, and if people don’t think it “works”, for a lack of a better word, then so be it. We believe in it, and that’s all that matters.

      While I do not necessarily like that it was the “white male” that was depicted in such a negative light, I do not think she intended to rule out all other men, or even generalize about all white men. It was a mere example she was presenting.

  203. Jarrett

    June 5, 2013 at 7:42 pm

    I don’t know how you think the entire western/white male species feels ENTITLED to “gaze.” I’m not white, but I do not practice Islam. Let’s speak purely from a reproductive perspective here. Men care about the chase. Give us a hint of candy though and we’ll slave after it. Our tastes vary from male to male but the universal aphrodisiac for us is how a woman presents herself to us. That is our great attractor. The most common feature of this presentation is smile And eye contact: if a woman does neither or sends out an angry look or upsidedown smile, men walk away.

    Now, the less shallow man unifies this concept with personality and priorities. I.e. we SEE the woman’s personality and become hooked on the common priorities: If she wants marriage (with you) then its a go. If she wants kids too, that’s an even bigger sign. This is all part of the chase. We find these things out on dates and interviews and activities. We take the first step by acting on what we see that we like. I’m not saying all men make the mistake of judging books by their covers, but men look for signals and then ferret out deeper connections if they want to.

    Even sex is not what you think it is for men. And I speak for all cultures here. Men don’t just enjoy the orgasm: we enjoy the act of sex too. The mechanics of it (less the foreplay) and such. It goes back to the chase: it is the part that is equivalent to the culminating victory. We don’t feel manly unless we are achieving intimacy with our partners and you know NOT getting rejected. Our ingrained instinct is to sow our seed to ensure future generations or whatever. The victory – partaking in the act of sex itself — is partly (falsely) a sense of that achievement. Whether you’re having sex for procreation in marriage or recreation between unmarried people, the enjoyment of the chase and the activity itself and the ultimate orgasm are all at once and universal for all men. When you marry, observe this in your husband.

    That’s how the white man operates at least. We don’t care about the gaze itself. The ogling. We don’t feel it is our right to do so either. We just do it: it is our evolved behavior.

    Gazing is but mere means to an end. Most men are also too inarticulate and not sensitive enough to express this perspective. You dont need to accept what ive writ as a finality, but understand all of this nevertheless.

    • Nancy

      June 5, 2013 at 11:14 pm

      Jarrett, as a Muslim hijabi, I totally agree with you. It is instinctual, which is the very reason many women decide to wear the hijab in the first place. It’s really not something you can change, men were born this way, as were women, in a different way. Its a fact of life. And this is one way to, even slightly, to empower ourselves as women…by covering up. You may not agree with it, but this is our perspective, and it should be honored by the public, like we honor those who choose not to cover, not degraded and called ‘oppressed’ by a patriarchal system. We are not (and I do not generalize, I am defending the women who choose to wear the hijab willingly). This is the lifestyle we choose, and if people don’t think it “works”, for a lack of a better word, then so be it. We believe in it, and that’s all that matters.

      While I do not necessarily like that it was the “white male” that was depicted in such a negative light, I do not think she intended to rule out all other men, or even generalize about all white men. It was a mere example she was presenting.

  204. Jarrett

    June 5, 2013 at 7:42 pm

    I don’t know how you think the entire western/white male species feels ENTITLED to “gaze.” I’m not white, but I do not practice Islam. Let’s speak purely from a reproductive perspective here. Men care about the chase. Give us a hint of candy though and we’ll slave after it. Our tastes vary from male to male but the universal aphrodisiac for us is how a woman presents herself to us. That is our great attractor. The most common feature of this presentation is smile And eye contact: if a woman does neither or sends out an angry look or upsidedown smile, men walk away.

    Now, the less shallow man unifies this concept with personality and priorities. I.e. we SEE the woman’s personality and become hooked on the common priorities: If she wants marriage (with you) then its a go. If she wants kids too, that’s an even bigger sign. This is all part of the chase. We find these things out on dates and interviews and activities. We take the first step by acting on what we see that we like. I’m not saying all men make the mistake of judging books by their covers, but men look for signals and then ferret out deeper connections if they want to.

    Even sex is not what you think it is for men. And I speak for all cultures here. Men don’t just enjoy the orgasm: we enjoy the act of sex too. The mechanics of it (less the foreplay) and such. It goes back to the chase: it is the part that is equivalent to the culminating victory. We don’t feel manly unless we are achieving intimacy with our partners and you know NOT getting rejected. Our ingrained instinct is to sow our seed to ensure future generations or whatever. The victory – partaking in the act of sex itself — is partly (falsely) a sense of that achievement. Whether you’re having sex for procreation in marriage or recreation between unmarried people, the enjoyment of the chase and the activity itself and the ultimate orgasm are all at once and universal for all men. When you marry, observe this in your husband.

    That’s how the white man operates at least. We don’t care about the gaze itself. The ogling. We don’t feel it is our right to do so either. We just do it: it is our evolved behavior.

    Gazing is but mere means to an end. Most men are also too inarticulate and not sensitive enough to express this perspective. You dont need to accept what ive writ as a finality, but understand all of this nevertheless.

    • Nancy

      June 5, 2013 at 11:14 pm

      Jarrett, as a Muslim hijabi, I totally agree with you. It is instinctual, which is the very reason many women decide to wear the hijab in the first place. It’s really not something you can change, men were born this way, as were women, in a different way. Its a fact of life. And this is one way to, even slightly, to empower ourselves as women…by covering up. You may not agree with it, but this is our perspective, and it should be honored by the public, like we honor those who choose not to cover, not degraded and called ‘oppressed’ by a patriarchal system. We are not (and I do not generalize, I am defending the women who choose to wear the hijab willingly). This is the lifestyle we choose, and if people don’t think it “works”, for a lack of a better word, then so be it. We believe in it, and that’s all that matters.

      While I do not necessarily like that it was the “white male” that was depicted in such a negative light, I do not think she intended to rule out all other men, or even generalize about all white men. It was a mere example she was presenting.

  205. John

    June 5, 2013 at 7:43 pm

    While I can appreciate this story, the one thing that I can’t understand is why someone who is so prejudiced upon would be prejudiced to white men. By stating “the privileged white male gaze” you are implying that not only do white men consider themselves as better, but also that we all act that way.

    For 6 years I rented a small apartment near Wesleyan between the ages of 17 and 23 while I attended Quinnipiac. Not once did I condescend anyone walking or driving near the campus. I had also been yelled at by men and women in vehicles driving by-some positive, some negative.

    What readers around the world won’t understand is where your campus is. It is very closes to the farm oriented town of Durham, right off route 9, and close to a very run down area of Middletown, CT. Now, while I can’t speak to the Fraternity brothers, or the immature nature of college males, I can say that it is 100% believable, but not acceptable that racial slurs came your way. Being called a racial slur by a redneck means less than nothing.

    To summarize, it’s not the dressing or the covering you wore. If you were a fat white girl, sexy Jewish girl, or even a white male in your 20’s, the route you walked has cat-calls from everyone. I mean, a slur at 45 miles per hour is as pathetic as you can get – but that’s that area for you.

  206. John

    June 5, 2013 at 7:43 pm

    While I can appreciate this story, the one thing that I can’t understand is why someone who is so prejudiced upon would be prejudiced to white men. By stating “the privileged white male gaze” you are implying that not only do white men consider themselves as better, but also that we all act that way.

    For 6 years I rented a small apartment near Wesleyan between the ages of 17 and 23 while I attended Quinnipiac. Not once did I condescend anyone walking or driving near the campus. I had also been yelled at by men and women in vehicles driving by-some positive, some negative.

    What readers around the world won’t understand is where your campus is. It is very closes to the farm oriented town of Durham, right off route 9, and close to a very run down area of Middletown, CT. Now, while I can’t speak to the Fraternity brothers, or the immature nature of college males, I can say that it is 100% believable, but not acceptable that racial slurs came your way. Being called a racial slur by a redneck means less than nothing.

    To summarize, it’s not the dressing or the covering you wore. If you were a fat white girl, sexy Jewish girl, or even a white male in your 20’s, the route you walked has cat-calls from everyone. I mean, a slur at 45 miles per hour is as pathetic as you can get – but that’s that area for you.

  207. John

    June 5, 2013 at 7:43 pm

    While I can appreciate this story, the one thing that I can’t understand is why someone who is so prejudiced upon would be prejudiced to white men. By stating “the privileged white male gaze” you are implying that not only do white men consider themselves as better, but also that we all act that way.

    For 6 years I rented a small apartment near Wesleyan between the ages of 17 and 23 while I attended Quinnipiac. Not once did I condescend anyone walking or driving near the campus. I had also been yelled at by men and women in vehicles driving by-some positive, some negative.

    What readers around the world won’t understand is where your campus is. It is very closes to the farm oriented town of Durham, right off route 9, and close to a very run down area of Middletown, CT. Now, while I can’t speak to the Fraternity brothers, or the immature nature of college males, I can say that it is 100% believable, but not acceptable that racial slurs came your way. Being called a racial slur by a redneck means less than nothing.

    To summarize, it’s not the dressing or the covering you wore. If you were a fat white girl, sexy Jewish girl, or even a white male in your 20’s, the route you walked has cat-calls from everyone. I mean, a slur at 45 miles per hour is as pathetic as you can get – but that’s that area for you.

  208. John

    June 5, 2013 at 7:43 pm

    While I can appreciate this story, the one thing that I can’t understand is why someone who is so prejudiced upon would be prejudiced to white men. By stating “the privileged white male gaze” you are implying that not only do white men consider themselves as better, but also that we all act that way.

    For 6 years I rented a small apartment near Wesleyan between the ages of 17 and 23 while I attended Quinnipiac. Not once did I condescend anyone walking or driving near the campus. I had also been yelled at by men and women in vehicles driving by-some positive, some negative.

    What readers around the world won’t understand is where your campus is. It is very closes to the farm oriented town of Durham, right off route 9, and close to a very run down area of Middletown, CT. Now, while I can’t speak to the Fraternity brothers, or the immature nature of college males, I can say that it is 100% believable, but not acceptable that racial slurs came your way. Being called a racial slur by a redneck means less than nothing.

    To summarize, it’s not the dressing or the covering you wore. If you were a fat white girl, sexy Jewish girl, or even a white male in your 20’s, the route you walked has cat-calls from everyone. I mean, a slur at 45 miles per hour is as pathetic as you can get – but that’s that area for you.

  209. Esther

    June 5, 2013 at 7:56 pm

    Hijabis are sexualized too. Weather by the orientalist gaze of white/non-Muslim males or the orientalist gaze of other Muslim men (yes…you read correctly). The very statement “take that shit off” implies sexualization-not a lack there of. Look at any harem/obilesque orientalist painting-this has been going on for a long time. Its an example of men wishing to “see whats concealed,” so to speak. Its a reflection of both the sexism that white/non-Muslim women face-the “cruising for chicks” bit, and the hyper-sexualization of women of color.

    The statment “THIS IS PROOF THAT HIJAB WORKS” and the argument that Hijabi Muslim women avoid/resist sexualization by solely by virtue of being covered is weak. It dosn’t matter how much or little you wear-resistance to sexualization is more than just a cover-up. If only it were that easy…

    Before I’m charged with “just not getting it”-I am a Muslim and I wore hijab for five years. I’m just speaking from my experience.

  210. Esther

    June 5, 2013 at 7:56 pm

    Hijabis are sexualized too. Weather by the orientalist gaze of white/non-Muslim males or the orientalist gaze of other Muslim men (yes…you read correctly). The very statement “take that shit off” implies sexualization-not a lack there of. Look at any harem/obilesque orientalist painting-this has been going on for a long time. Its an example of men wishing to “see whats concealed,” so to speak. Its a reflection of both the sexism that white/non-Muslim women face-the “cruising for chicks” bit, and the hyper-sexualization of women of color.

    The statment “THIS IS PROOF THAT HIJAB WORKS” and the argument that Hijabi Muslim women avoid/resist sexualization by solely by virtue of being covered is weak. It dosn’t matter how much or little you wear-resistance to sexualization is more than just a cover-up. If only it were that easy…

    Before I’m charged with “just not getting it”-I am a Muslim and I wore hijab for five years. I’m just speaking from my experience.

  211. Esther

    June 5, 2013 at 7:56 pm

    Hijabis are sexualized too. Weather by the orientalist gaze of white/non-Muslim males or the orientalist gaze of other Muslim men (yes…you read correctly). The very statement “take that shit off” implies sexualization-not a lack there of. Look at any harem/obilesque orientalist painting-this has been going on for a long time. Its an example of men wishing to “see whats concealed,” so to speak. Its a reflection of both the sexism that white/non-Muslim women face-the “cruising for chicks” bit, and the hyper-sexualization of women of color.

    The statment “THIS IS PROOF THAT HIJAB WORKS” and the argument that Hijabi Muslim women avoid/resist sexualization by solely by virtue of being covered is weak. It dosn’t matter how much or little you wear-resistance to sexualization is more than just a cover-up. If only it were that easy…

    Before I’m charged with “just not getting it”-I am a Muslim and I wore hijab for five years. I’m just speaking from my experience.

  212. Esther

    June 5, 2013 at 7:56 pm

    Hijabis are sexualized too. Weather by the orientalist gaze of white/non-Muslim males or the orientalist gaze of other Muslim men (yes…you read correctly). The very statement “take that shit off” implies sexualization-not a lack there of. Look at any harem/obilesque orientalist painting-this has been going on for a long time. Its an example of men wishing to “see whats concealed,” so to speak. Its a reflection of both the sexism that white/non-Muslim women face-the “cruising for chicks” bit, and the hyper-sexualization of women of color.

    The statment “THIS IS PROOF THAT HIJAB WORKS” and the argument that Hijabi Muslim women avoid/resist sexualization by solely by virtue of being covered is weak. It dosn’t matter how much or little you wear-resistance to sexualization is more than just a cover-up. If only it were that easy…

    Before I’m charged with “just not getting it”-I am a Muslim and I wore hijab for five years. I’m just speaking from my experience.

  213. Nancy

    June 5, 2013 at 9:14 pm

    There is a MAJOR misunderstanding in this thread. Just because you can clearly see Muslim women doing their part, does not mean they bear the entire responsibility.

    The fact of the matter is that the commandment to dress modestly for women, particularly the covering of her hair, is simply more visible in public than the commandments for men, such as lowering his gaze, and a particular dress code (that obviously does not include covering his hair). This oversexualized society is a reality..in particular the oversexualization of women. Both the men and women have to do their part, it doesn’t work if the woman says F*** you, i’m gonna wear hot shorts and a bikini top and expect the man not to gaze at you lustfully. That’s absurd.

    But it is not merely her responsibility…because even if the woman wears those clothes, in Islam, men are commanded not to look at you. And that is the part that everyone here seems to overlook. Do you really think it’s easy for a man not to look at you if you’re wearing sexy attire? You simply wouldn’t notice it nor would you notice his dress code (which also exists, FYI) which is why there is a misunderstanding that only women bear the responsibility. It’s simply not the case.

  214. Nancy

    June 5, 2013 at 9:14 pm

    There is a MAJOR misunderstanding in this thread. Just because you can clearly see Muslim women doing their part, does not mean they bear the entire responsibility.

    The fact of the matter is that the commandment to dress modestly for women, particularly the covering of her hair, is simply more visible in public than the commandments for men, such as lowering his gaze, and a particular dress code (that obviously does not include covering his hair). This oversexualized society is a reality..in particular the oversexualization of women. Both the men and women have to do their part, it doesn’t work if the woman says F*** you, i’m gonna wear hot shorts and a bikini top and expect the man not to gaze at you lustfully. That’s absurd.

    But it is not merely her responsibility…because even if the woman wears those clothes, in Islam, men are commanded not to look at you. And that is the part that everyone here seems to overlook. Do you really think it’s easy for a man not to look at you if you’re wearing sexy attire? You simply wouldn’t notice it nor would you notice his dress code (which also exists, FYI) which is why there is a misunderstanding that only women bear the responsibility. It’s simply not the case.

  215. Nancy

    June 5, 2013 at 9:14 pm

    There is a MAJOR misunderstanding in this thread. Just because you can clearly see Muslim women doing their part, does not mean they bear the entire responsibility.

    The fact of the matter is that the commandment to dress modestly for women, particularly the covering of her hair, is simply more visible in public than the commandments for men, such as lowering his gaze, and a particular dress code (that obviously does not include covering his hair). This oversexualized society is a reality..in particular the oversexualization of women. Both the men and women have to do their part, it doesn’t work if the woman says F*** you, i’m gonna wear hot shorts and a bikini top and expect the man not to gaze at you lustfully. That’s absurd.

    But it is not merely her responsibility…because even if the woman wears those clothes, in Islam, men are commanded not to look at you. And that is the part that everyone here seems to overlook. Do you really think it’s easy for a man not to look at you if you’re wearing sexy attire? You simply wouldn’t notice it nor would you notice his dress code (which also exists, FYI) which is why there is a misunderstanding that only women bear the responsibility. It’s simply not the case.

  216. Nancy

    June 5, 2013 at 9:14 pm

    There is a MAJOR misunderstanding in this thread. Just because you can clearly see Muslim women doing their part, does not mean they bear the entire responsibility.

    The fact of the matter is that the commandment to dress modestly for women, particularly the covering of her hair, is simply more visible in public than the commandments for men, such as lowering his gaze, and a particular dress code (that obviously does not include covering his hair). This oversexualized society is a reality..in particular the oversexualization of women. Both the men and women have to do their part, it doesn’t work if the woman says F*** you, i’m gonna wear hot shorts and a bikini top and expect the man not to gaze at you lustfully. That’s absurd.

    But it is not merely her responsibility…because even if the woman wears those clothes, in Islam, men are commanded not to look at you. And that is the part that everyone here seems to overlook. Do you really think it’s easy for a man not to look at you if you’re wearing sexy attire? You simply wouldn’t notice it nor would you notice his dress code (which also exists, FYI) which is why there is a misunderstanding that only women bear the responsibility. It’s simply not the case.

  217. Peter C. Morse

    June 5, 2013 at 9:29 pm

    As a white male living in Indonesia I like and applaud your wearing a hijab … quite frankly it focuses your inner beauty…

  218. Peter C. Morse

    June 5, 2013 at 9:29 pm

    As a white male living in Indonesia I like and applaud your wearing a hijab … quite frankly it focuses your inner beauty…

  219. Peter C. Morse

    June 5, 2013 at 9:29 pm

    As a white male living in Indonesia I like and applaud your wearing a hijab … quite frankly it focuses your inner beauty…

  220. Peter C. Morse

    June 5, 2013 at 9:29 pm

    As a white male living in Indonesia I like and applaud your wearing a hijab … quite frankly it focuses your inner beauty…

  221. Nancy

    June 5, 2013 at 9:29 pm

    Covering simply does not conform to modern standards of western feminism…what many women here do not realize is that there are many different interpretations of feminism! I’m actually astounded by the uniformity of these responses, and the lack of knowledge on the various forms of feminism (which in Zeinab’s case is deemed “victim blaming”, rather than a feminist stride).

    Many women who wear the hijab are feminists, and feel empowered, and feel they have agency by unilaterally taking the decision to cover, rather than uncover and conform(a KEY component of feminism)…including myself.

    Conforming by undressing to many hijabi women is merely another interpretation of conforming to our patriarchal society, men who desire and expect to see us undressed, expect to look at us like sexual objects. This may not prevent them from imagining us as that, but it certainly does not allow for them to go beyond imagining. This is the case for MANY women in the United States, Europe AND THE MIDDLE EAST, believe it or not.

  222. Nancy

    June 5, 2013 at 9:29 pm

    Covering simply does not conform to modern standards of western feminism…what many women here do not realize is that there are many different interpretations of feminism! I’m actually astounded by the uniformity of these responses, and the lack of knowledge on the various forms of feminism (which in Zeinab’s case is deemed “victim blaming”, rather than a feminist stride).

    Many women who wear the hijab are feminists, and feel empowered, and feel they have agency by unilaterally taking the decision to cover, rather than uncover and conform(a KEY component of feminism)…including myself.

    Conforming by undressing to many hijabi women is merely another interpretation of conforming to our patriarchal society, men who desire and expect to see us undressed, expect to look at us like sexual objects. This may not prevent them from imagining us as that, but it certainly does not allow for them to go beyond imagining. This is the case for MANY women in the United States, Europe AND THE MIDDLE EAST, believe it or not.

  223. Nancy

    June 5, 2013 at 9:29 pm

    Covering simply does not conform to modern standards of western feminism…what many women here do not realize is that there are many different interpretations of feminism! I’m actually astounded by the uniformity of these responses, and the lack of knowledge on the various forms of feminism (which in Zeinab’s case is deemed “victim blaming”, rather than a feminist stride).

    Many women who wear the hijab are feminists, and feel empowered, and feel they have agency by unilaterally taking the decision to cover, rather than uncover and conform(a KEY component of feminism)…including myself.

    Conforming by undressing to many hijabi women is merely another interpretation of conforming to our patriarchal society, men who desire and expect to see us undressed, expect to look at us like sexual objects. This may not prevent them from imagining us as that, but it certainly does not allow for them to go beyond imagining. This is the case for MANY women in the United States, Europe AND THE MIDDLE EAST, believe it or not.

  224. Nancy

    June 5, 2013 at 9:29 pm

    Covering simply does not conform to modern standards of western feminism…what many women here do not realize is that there are many different interpretations of feminism! I’m actually astounded by the uniformity of these responses, and the lack of knowledge on the various forms of feminism (which in Zeinab’s case is deemed “victim blaming”, rather than a feminist stride).

    Many women who wear the hijab are feminists, and feel empowered, and feel they have agency by unilaterally taking the decision to cover, rather than uncover and conform(a KEY component of feminism)…including myself.

    Conforming by undressing to many hijabi women is merely another interpretation of conforming to our patriarchal society, men who desire and expect to see us undressed, expect to look at us like sexual objects. This may not prevent them from imagining us as that, but it certainly does not allow for them to go beyond imagining. This is the case for MANY women in the United States, Europe AND THE MIDDLE EAST, believe it or not.

  225. Ellen

    June 5, 2013 at 9:32 pm

    I am sorry to hear the abuse you faced. It was very unfortunate. The islamophobia is definitely an angle to this incident. I blame the Muslim community and right wing media for this. I have studied Islam and worked in middle east. I understand the importance and significance of hijab in Muslim tradition. The others like me in United states are not educated on Islamic tradition. What is your responsibility Zainab? Or others from Muslim community? I think it’s time to educate normal citizen on Islam as Muslim population is growing in America like Europe.

  226. Ellen

    June 5, 2013 at 9:32 pm

    I am sorry to hear the abuse you faced. It was very unfortunate. The islamophobia is definitely an angle to this incident. I blame the Muslim community and right wing media for this. I have studied Islam and worked in middle east. I understand the importance and significance of hijab in Muslim tradition. The others like me in United states are not educated on Islamic tradition. What is your responsibility Zainab? Or others from Muslim community? I think it’s time to educate normal citizen on Islam as Muslim population is growing in America like Europe.

  227. Ellen

    June 5, 2013 at 9:32 pm

    I am sorry to hear the abuse you faced. It was very unfortunate. The islamophobia is definitely an angle to this incident. I blame the Muslim community and right wing media for this. I have studied Islam and worked in middle east. I understand the importance and significance of hijab in Muslim tradition. The others like me in United states are not educated on Islamic tradition. What is your responsibility Zainab? Or others from Muslim community? I think it’s time to educate normal citizen on Islam as Muslim population is growing in America like Europe.

  228. Ellen

    June 5, 2013 at 9:32 pm

    I am sorry to hear the abuse you faced. It was very unfortunate. The islamophobia is definitely an angle to this incident. I blame the Muslim community and right wing media for this. I have studied Islam and worked in middle east. I understand the importance and significance of hijab in Muslim tradition. The others like me in United states are not educated on Islamic tradition. What is your responsibility Zainab? Or others from Muslim community? I think it’s time to educate normal citizen on Islam as Muslim population is growing in America like Europe.

  229. KittyWrangler

    June 5, 2013 at 11:07 pm

    Great piece! I guess more in response to the comments than the OP, as a white woman who is regrettably familiar with what is said behind closed doors (of pickup trucks) I find Zainab’s explanation of these harrassers’ motivations to be completely plausible, albeit surely on an unconscious level.

    I’ve been sexually harrassed most of my life and I’ve always found the specific ways in which I’ve been harrassed and by whom to be extremely interesting (in addition to infuriating, obviously). The relationship between harrasser and harrassee and the classes to which we both belong speak volumes about how those classes are situated in society. I see no reason to assume the author is unaware of harrassment in general, and I appreciated her take on the racialized sexism (or sexualized racism, take your pick).

    I also think that it’s only natural that Zainab think and write about this issue (“overthinking” it? what?!). Sure, 45 mph bigots may be the id of society, but why on earth wouldn’t you analyze that? What are we afraid might happen if we think too much about bigotry?

    In a non-religious context, I also am most comfortable dressing somewhat modestly, as I’ve found after years of experimentation. I had to wear a school uniform for nearly a decade that was designed for bodies definitely unlike mine and was frequently sexualized and I’m so freaking glad I have a choice now in how I dress.

    And no, dressing more modestly (I hate that word; I’m not modest or “chaste”) does not stop harrassment or affect it much at all. It’s not a solution. Harrassment, objectification and sexualization is a truly unfair, unwinnable minefield for sexualized people. But people do the best they can and it is very important that the choice in how they do so is left up to them. I really value being able to dress the way I want, and for other people to dress the way they want, whatever it is.

    I can honestly say that feeling better clothing myself one particular way has had no affect on how I see people who dress differently than me or cover up less. It simply doesn’t follow, as some commenters implied, that to choose one option and notice the affect is to denigrate another.

    Anyway, all that to say I enjoyed the piece and am suprised at the reaction it got.

    Ok fuck that, why am I being so polite? I am face-palming at some of these comments.

  230. KittyWrangler

    June 5, 2013 at 11:07 pm

    Great piece! I guess more in response to the comments than the OP, as a white woman who is regrettably familiar with what is said behind closed doors (of pickup trucks) I find Zainab’s explanation of these harrassers’ motivations to be completely plausible, albeit surely on an unconscious level.

    I’ve been sexually harrassed most of my life and I’ve always found the specific ways in which I’ve been harrassed and by whom to be extremely interesting (in addition to infuriating, obviously). The relationship between harrasser and harrassee and the classes to which we both belong speak volumes about how those classes are situated in society. I see no reason to assume the author is unaware of harrassment in general, and I appreciated her take on the racialized sexism (or sexualized racism, take your pick).

    I also think that it’s only natural that Zainab think and write about this issue (“overthinking” it? what?!). Sure, 45 mph bigots may be the id of society, but why on earth wouldn’t you analyze that? What are we afraid might happen if we think too much about bigotry?

    In a non-religious context, I also am most comfortable dressing somewhat modestly, as I’ve found after years of experimentation. I had to wear a school uniform for nearly a decade that was designed for bodies definitely unlike mine and was frequently sexualized and I’m so freaking glad I have a choice now in how I dress.

    And no, dressing more modestly (I hate that word; I’m not modest or “chaste”) does not stop harrassment or affect it much at all. It’s not a solution. Harrassment, objectification and sexualization is a truly unfair, unwinnable minefield for sexualized people. But people do the best they can and it is very important that the choice in how they do so is left up to them. I really value being able to dress the way I want, and for other people to dress the way they want, whatever it is.

    I can honestly say that feeling better clothing myself one particular way has had no affect on how I see people who dress differently than me or cover up less. It simply doesn’t follow, as some commenters implied, that to choose one option and notice the affect is to denigrate another.

    Anyway, all that to say I enjoyed the piece and am suprised at the reaction it got.

    Ok fuck that, why am I being so polite? I am face-palming at some of these comments.

  231. KittyWrangler

    June 5, 2013 at 11:07 pm

    Great piece! I guess more in response to the comments than the OP, as a white woman who is regrettably familiar with what is said behind closed doors (of pickup trucks) I find Zainab’s explanation of these harrassers’ motivations to be completely plausible, albeit surely on an unconscious level.

    I’ve been sexually harrassed most of my life and I’ve always found the specific ways in which I’ve been harrassed and by whom to be extremely interesting (in addition to infuriating, obviously). The relationship between harrasser and harrassee and the classes to which we both belong speak volumes about how those classes are situated in society. I see no reason to assume the author is unaware of harrassment in general, and I appreciated her take on the racialized sexism (or sexualized racism, take your pick).

    I also think that it’s only natural that Zainab think and write about this issue (“overthinking” it? what?!). Sure, 45 mph bigots may be the id of society, but why on earth wouldn’t you analyze that? What are we afraid might happen if we think too much about bigotry?

    In a non-religious context, I also am most comfortable dressing somewhat modestly, as I’ve found after years of experimentation. I had to wear a school uniform for nearly a decade that was designed for bodies definitely unlike mine and was frequently sexualized and I’m so freaking glad I have a choice now in how I dress.

    And no, dressing more modestly (I hate that word; I’m not modest or “chaste”) does not stop harrassment or affect it much at all. It’s not a solution. Harrassment, objectification and sexualization is a truly unfair, unwinnable minefield for sexualized people. But people do the best they can and it is very important that the choice in how they do so is left up to them. I really value being able to dress the way I want, and for other people to dress the way they want, whatever it is.

    I can honestly say that feeling better clothing myself one particular way has had no affect on how I see people who dress differently than me or cover up less. It simply doesn’t follow, as some commenters implied, that to choose one option and notice the affect is to denigrate another.

    Anyway, all that to say I enjoyed the piece and am suprised at the reaction it got.

    Ok fuck that, why am I being so polite? I am face-palming at some of these comments.

  232. KittyWrangler

    June 5, 2013 at 11:07 pm

    Great piece! I guess more in response to the comments than the OP, as a white woman who is regrettably familiar with what is said behind closed doors (of pickup trucks) I find Zainab’s explanation of these harrassers’ motivations to be completely plausible, albeit surely on an unconscious level.

    I’ve been sexually harrassed most of my life and I’ve always found the specific ways in which I’ve been harrassed and by whom to be extremely interesting (in addition to infuriating, obviously). The relationship between harrasser and harrassee and the classes to which we both belong speak volumes about how those classes are situated in society. I see no reason to assume the author is unaware of harrassment in general, and I appreciated her take on the racialized sexism (or sexualized racism, take your pick).

    I also think that it’s only natural that Zainab think and write about this issue (“overthinking” it? what?!). Sure, 45 mph bigots may be the id of society, but why on earth wouldn’t you analyze that? What are we afraid might happen if we think too much about bigotry?

    In a non-religious context, I also am most comfortable dressing somewhat modestly, as I’ve found after years of experimentation. I had to wear a school uniform for nearly a decade that was designed for bodies definitely unlike mine and was frequently sexualized and I’m so freaking glad I have a choice now in how I dress.

    And no, dressing more modestly (I hate that word; I’m not modest or “chaste”) does not stop harrassment or affect it much at all. It’s not a solution. Harrassment, objectification and sexualization is a truly unfair, unwinnable minefield for sexualized people. But people do the best they can and it is very important that the choice in how they do so is left up to them. I really value being able to dress the way I want, and for other people to dress the way they want, whatever it is.

    I can honestly say that feeling better clothing myself one particular way has had no affect on how I see people who dress differently than me or cover up less. It simply doesn’t follow, as some commenters implied, that to choose one option and notice the affect is to denigrate another.

    Anyway, all that to say I enjoyed the piece and am suprised at the reaction it got.

    Ok fuck that, why am I being so polite? I am face-palming at some of these comments.

  233. naq

    June 5, 2013 at 11:19 pm

    well if it helps ur beautiful to me.

  234. naq

    June 5, 2013 at 11:19 pm

    well if it helps ur beautiful to me.

  235. naq

    June 5, 2013 at 11:19 pm

    well if it helps ur beautiful to me.

  236. naq

    June 5, 2013 at 11:19 pm

    well if it helps ur beautiful to me.

  237. Jamie

    June 6, 2013 at 12:50 am

    I am a white male “guy” and I do not dislike your Hijab.It is unfair to use that term loosely especially as a graduate of such a goodchool.I respect that you wear it. . As you should know, its not correct to judge an entire population based upon the actions of a few. Is that not what racism/ sexism is?

  238. Jamie

    June 6, 2013 at 12:50 am

    I am a white male “guy” and I do not dislike your Hijab.It is unfair to use that term loosely especially as a graduate of such a goodchool.I respect that you wear it. . As you should know, its not correct to judge an entire population based upon the actions of a few. Is that not what racism/ sexism is?

  239. Jamie

    June 6, 2013 at 12:50 am

    I am a white male “guy” and I do not dislike your Hijab.It is unfair to use that term loosely especially as a graduate of such a goodchool.I respect that you wear it. . As you should know, its not correct to judge an entire population based upon the actions of a few. Is that not what racism/ sexism is?

  240. Jamie

    June 6, 2013 at 12:50 am

    I am a white male “guy” and I do not dislike your Hijab.It is unfair to use that term loosely especially as a graduate of such a goodchool.I respect that you wear it. . As you should know, its not correct to judge an entire population based upon the actions of a few. Is that not what racism/ sexism is?

  241. luqman

    June 6, 2013 at 4:56 am

    we are proud of our sisters who stay firm despite all the challenges in protecting their dignity and covering themselves,we are proud of you all and we will always be by your side in sha Allah

  242. luqman

    June 6, 2013 at 4:56 am

    we are proud of our sisters who stay firm despite all the challenges in protecting their dignity and covering themselves,we are proud of you all and we will always be by your side in sha Allah

  243. luqman

    June 6, 2013 at 4:56 am

    we are proud of our sisters who stay firm despite all the challenges in protecting their dignity and covering themselves,we are proud of you all and we will always be by your side in sha Allah

  244. luqman

    June 6, 2013 at 4:56 am

    we are proud of our sisters who stay firm despite all the challenges in protecting their dignity and covering themselves,we are proud of you all and we will always be by your side in sha Allah

  245. Mlambert

    June 6, 2013 at 8:21 am

    Heterosexual white male gaze that lacks understanding of basic human rites should really be what is said. I am a white male…. but I have also been hit with a tire iron, and held at gun point for who I am. Dont blame the white man blame ignorance no matter whats its color, gender or sexuality!

  246. Mlambert

    June 6, 2013 at 8:21 am

    Heterosexual white male gaze that lacks understanding of basic human rites should really be what is said. I am a white male…. but I have also been hit with a tire iron, and held at gun point for who I am. Dont blame the white man blame ignorance no matter whats its color, gender or sexuality!

  247. Mlambert

    June 6, 2013 at 8:21 am

    Heterosexual white male gaze that lacks understanding of basic human rites should really be what is said. I am a white male…. but I have also been hit with a tire iron, and held at gun point for who I am. Dont blame the white man blame ignorance no matter whats its color, gender or sexuality!

  248. Mlambert

    June 6, 2013 at 8:21 am

    Heterosexual white male gaze that lacks understanding of basic human rites should really be what is said. I am a white male…. but I have also been hit with a tire iron, and held at gun point for who I am. Dont blame the white man blame ignorance no matter whats its color, gender or sexuality!

  249. Yasemin

    June 6, 2013 at 8:27 am

    She misses the point. This woman uses her experience of racism, not “access to women.” I, too, grew up in the Middle East and my own mother wears the veil but to suggest it is a form of empowerment is flawed. Women should never be responsible for the male gaze and it’s heartbreaking to see her internalize it upon herself.
    With that said, I do think we share the same injuries of being women, just differently. I hate when western women point their fingers at women who wear the hijab without realizing they are also part of a patriarchal society through the way they are sexualized. Different sides to the same coin, none that are a form of empowerment.

  250. Yasemin

    June 6, 2013 at 8:27 am

    She misses the point. This woman uses her experience of racism, not “access to women.” I, too, grew up in the Middle East and my own mother wears the veil but to suggest it is a form of empowerment is flawed. Women should never be responsible for the male gaze and it’s heartbreaking to see her internalize it upon herself.
    With that said, I do think we share the same injuries of being women, just differently. I hate when western women point their fingers at women who wear the hijab without realizing they are also part of a patriarchal society through the way they are sexualized. Different sides to the same coin, none that are a form of empowerment.

  251. Yasemin

    June 6, 2013 at 8:27 am

    She misses the point. This woman uses her experience of racism, not “access to women.” I, too, grew up in the Middle East and my own mother wears the veil but to suggest it is a form of empowerment is flawed. Women should never be responsible for the male gaze and it’s heartbreaking to see her internalize it upon herself.
    With that said, I do think we share the same injuries of being women, just differently. I hate when western women point their fingers at women who wear the hijab without realizing they are also part of a patriarchal society through the way they are sexualized. Different sides to the same coin, none that are a form of empowerment.

  252. Yasemin

    June 6, 2013 at 8:27 am

    She misses the point. This woman uses her experience of racism, not “access to women.” I, too, grew up in the Middle East and my own mother wears the veil but to suggest it is a form of empowerment is flawed. Women should never be responsible for the male gaze and it’s heartbreaking to see her internalize it upon herself.
    With that said, I do think we share the same injuries of being women, just differently. I hate when western women point their fingers at women who wear the hijab without realizing they are also part of a patriarchal society through the way they are sexualized. Different sides to the same coin, none that are a form of empowerment.

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  257. Kristina

    June 6, 2013 at 10:16 am

    I do agree that this being geared at white men makes me a little uncomfortable at first, however, when this type of behavior from mostly white men has been the norm, I can see why this article is being aimed at them. Also, I’m assuming the author is operating in racial generalizations here to make a point– I highly doubt that she actually believes this of all white men. People make racial generalizations about her all the time. I think this article highlights how when these stereotypes are so often applied to you, you start to apply stereotypes to others, too.

    As for the privileged male gaze, ABSOLUTELY! I am your pretty typical midwestern white female, and I have been told by men to wear less clothing, to “dress up a little,” and even to not wear my glasses because “you’d look hot that way.” Seriously? I suppose I missed that memo that I’m supposed to base my looks completely on what is pleasing to men.

    Anyway, where I was going with that is if men like this are pissed off that I’m wearing a sweatshirt, just imagine how they would feel about a hijab! And mix that with probable racism. It is certainly not just white men, this is a general male problem. I know that there are many, many men out there who would never act like this, but the sad thing is, that there are also many who do.

  258. Kristina

    June 6, 2013 at 10:16 am

    I do agree that this being geared at white men makes me a little uncomfortable at first, however, when this type of behavior from mostly white men has been the norm, I can see why this article is being aimed at them. Also, I’m assuming the author is operating in racial generalizations here to make a point– I highly doubt that she actually believes this of all white men. People make racial generalizations about her all the time. I think this article highlights how when these stereotypes are so often applied to you, you start to apply stereotypes to others, too.

    As for the privileged male gaze, ABSOLUTELY! I am your pretty typical midwestern white female, and I have been told by men to wear less clothing, to “dress up a little,” and even to not wear my glasses because “you’d look hot that way.” Seriously? I suppose I missed that memo that I’m supposed to base my looks completely on what is pleasing to men.

    Anyway, where I was going with that is if men like this are pissed off that I’m wearing a sweatshirt, just imagine how they would feel about a hijab! And mix that with probable racism. It is certainly not just white men, this is a general male problem. I know that there are many, many men out there who would never act like this, but the sad thing is, that there are also many who do.

  259. Kristina

    June 6, 2013 at 10:16 am

    I do agree that this being geared at white men makes me a little uncomfortable at first, however, when this type of behavior from mostly white men has been the norm, I can see why this article is being aimed at them. Also, I’m assuming the author is operating in racial generalizations here to make a point– I highly doubt that she actually believes this of all white men. People make racial generalizations about her all the time. I think this article highlights how when these stereotypes are so often applied to you, you start to apply stereotypes to others, too.

    As for the privileged male gaze, ABSOLUTELY! I am your pretty typical midwestern white female, and I have been told by men to wear less clothing, to “dress up a little,” and even to not wear my glasses because “you’d look hot that way.” Seriously? I suppose I missed that memo that I’m supposed to base my looks completely on what is pleasing to men.

    Anyway, where I was going with that is if men like this are pissed off that I’m wearing a sweatshirt, just imagine how they would feel about a hijab! And mix that with probable racism. It is certainly not just white men, this is a general male problem. I know that there are many, many men out there who would never act like this, but the sad thing is, that there are also many who do.

  260. Kristina

    June 6, 2013 at 10:16 am

    I do agree that this being geared at white men makes me a little uncomfortable at first, however, when this type of behavior from mostly white men has been the norm, I can see why this article is being aimed at them. Also, I’m assuming the author is operating in racial generalizations here to make a point– I highly doubt that she actually believes this of all white men. People make racial generalizations about her all the time. I think this article highlights how when these stereotypes are so often applied to you, you start to apply stereotypes to others, too.

    As for the privileged male gaze, ABSOLUTELY! I am your pretty typical midwestern white female, and I have been told by men to wear less clothing, to “dress up a little,” and even to not wear my glasses because “you’d look hot that way.” Seriously? I suppose I missed that memo that I’m supposed to base my looks completely on what is pleasing to men.

    Anyway, where I was going with that is if men like this are pissed off that I’m wearing a sweatshirt, just imagine how they would feel about a hijab! And mix that with probable racism. It is certainly not just white men, this is a general male problem. I know that there are many, many men out there who would never act like this, but the sad thing is, that there are also many who do.

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