Somewhere in America, Muslim Women Are “Cool”

December 2, 2013 7:27 am139 commentsViews: 98760

It’s a bit sad that I’m ambivalent about writing this column. After voicing my critiques on the subject on Twitter, I was attacked as being ’a hater,’ ’catty,’ ‘jealous,’, ‘emotional’, ‘judgmental’ and, my favourite one, a ‘feminazi with a political agenda.’

As if there’s any other kind of feminazi.

Why the attacks? Because I, like many Muslim men and, more importantly, women, feel really uneasy about a video released yesterday by the group (movement? cultural tour de force?) Mipsterz – Muslim Hipsters. The video, set to Jay Z’s Somewhere in America,  features well produced shots of stylin’ hijab clad women strutting their cool in and around random urban areas. Aesthetically, it’s really hip, smooth, fierce and, for all intents and purposes, cool.

But that’s about it.

MIPSTERZ

The video doesn’t really seem to have any purpose aside from showing well-dressed, put together Muslim women in poses perfect for a magazine spread. If anything, by stretching, its apparent purpose is to highlight the diversity of Muslim American women, as several comments under the video noted, as ’normal’ and ‘fun’. One of the women in the video even mentioned that it was created to fight against ‘stereotypes’ by expanding the types of Muslim women we are shown and fuse the American with the idea of ‘The Other’. The purpose, she and some other argued, was to show the ‘Muslim rejects’.

If this video is supposed to be ironic, this 90′s kid from the generation that invented contemporary popular irony (you’re welcome) totally doesn’t get it.

The video, produced/created/directed primarily by Muslim men (oh hey voyeuristic-cinematography-through-the-Male-Gaze heyyy), doesn’t achieve anything to really fight against stereotypes: it is literally young Muslim women with awesome fashion sense against the awkward backdrop of Jay Z singing about Miley Cyrus twerking. The only semblance of purpose seems to come in with the images of Ibtihaj Muhammad who is shown in her element, doing what she does as a professional athlete. Those images are powerful and beautiful in what they are saying. Other than that, however, all we as the audience are afforded are images that, simply put, objectify the Muslim female form by denigrating it completely to the physical. Muhammad’s form as a unique Muslim woman is complemented by her matter – the stuff that makes her her; makes her Ibtihaj. As the credits below the video mention, the rest of the women (Muhammad is included in this) are merely “models” even though every single one of them has a central and important function and contribution to her respective community and in her field. Instead of showing what makes each and every one of those women Herself, they’re made into this superfluous conformity of an image we, as the audience, consume and ogle at because hey, they’re part of the aesthetic of the video. Ibtihaj is shown as a professional badass and the rest are shown as professional hot women who skate in heels and take selfies on the roof. There’s nothing wrong with the latter, in and of itself, but what a strange dissonance and incongruence in imagery?

And if that isn’t textbook objectification then I think I’ve been raging against the wrong machine since I was 14.

In the name of fighting stereotypes it seems we’re keen to adopt  – especially for Muslim women who wear headscarves – tools and images that objectify us (either as sexualized or desexualized; as depoliticized or politicized) rather than support us where we need that support. We’re so incredibly obsessed with appearing “normal” or “American” or “Western” by way of what we do and what we wear that we undercut the actual abnormality of our comunities and push essentialist definitions of “normal”, “American” and “Western.” In that process of searching for the space of normalcy, we create ‘normal’ and through that a ‘good’ Muslim. And in all of this, we might just lose that which makes us unique: our substance.

The Elephant in the Room

The process of creating ‘normal’ is also stripping us, especially women, away from central parts of our faith. The Mipsterz video is hard to stomach for so many because it throws the increasing Islamofashionista culture into your face. Catwalk ready, catwalk strut and catwalk ‘tude seem so antithetical to what we know and expect, sometimes zealously, as Islamic modesty. This isn’t about policing what we wear and how or about casting judgment, but about the sort of culture we’re creating for Muslim women’s dress that is no diferrent than the images and lifestyles sans hijab we criticize. The superficial culture we critique and claim is why we wear hijab is becoming our hijab. It is an elephant in the room that is hard to ignore or swallow easily (well, it is an elephant) without offering a strong opinion and observation, wanted or not.

Sahar Ghumkhor opined on Twitter that what struck her the most about the video was that there was ”something depoliticising about this video in how it reproduces a politics of sameness.” Kaouther Ferjani tweeted ‘promoting ‘palatable’ and cool hijab to show we’re not that different screams insecurity & not progress.’ Azizah Magazine’s Sana Rahim expressed her confusion by asking ‘Isn’t focusing so much on the exterior exactly what caused the trouble we face with the representation of Muslim women?’ When the purpose of the video was argued, another tweep – unimpressed – pointed out: “In the description they title the names of  these women “models”. Fashion emphasis is not that subtle, really.” Journalist Ghazala Irshad, wrote elsewhere:

Why spend all this time and money traveling to different locations around the US filming these intelligent women only to not hear anything from them and hear a man rapping about a girl shaking her ass in the background? Why don’t we send a message about why we are different?
MIPSTERZ2

Again, this isn’t about the individual women in the video – the last thing they need is more body policing and if you’re spending your efforts on social media harping on them then you’re part of the ultimate problem. As far as I’m concerned, more power to them. What this is about, however, is the concept of this video that is built on particular mores that we’re beginning to accept as ‘normal’ and as useful for ‘breaking stereotypes.’ Is this video really going to break any stereotypes? Honestly? Not really. Despite being made for a non-Muslim audience, its primary audience has already been Muslim and chances are it won’t make much of a fuss elsewhere unless our Overlords Buzzfeed and/or Gawker decide it should. It will, however, help create new stereotypes about cool Muslims versus not so cool Muslims. It will, most importantly and poignantly, perpetuate existing stereotypes about Muslim women’s dress’ proxmity to their Americaness and coolness. Especially towards young and thus impressionable Muslim girls. And these stereotypes exist more so in our communities than outside. The concept behind this video misses the point that stereotypes, within and outside our community, aren’t fought with just well-produced videos that focus on consumptive and repetitive mainstream images (even if with a hijab twist), without any substance. Much like what the history of our faith has shown us, the greatest way to fight animosity and resistance is through our character – what it is that makes us us. Maybe in trying to ‘normalize’ ourselves, we’re losing ourselves?

I know it’s not easy. It’s not easy being a woman, a Muslim and especially a (covered) Muslim woman in the ambiguous West. As I’ve argued elsewhere:

A body clad in a headscarf is not a body liberated from social expectations and demands. From both within the Muslim community and from outside of it, women remain encumbered with pedestals for their looks, their personalities and their bodies. This isn’t a problem of religion; it is a problem of cultures and communities – often clashing.

Those of us who wear a headscarf – in whatever form and with whatever clothes and accessories – are constantly carrying a burden of representation and identity, a very public testament of faith and group belonging even if we’re not wearing it for religious reasons (I know, shocking, but this happens). We will always be critiqued for what we wear and what we don’t wear because women, by virtue of their ‘reproductive value’, carry the burden of judgment for their entire communities. What we as Muslim women don’t need in trying to own our spaces in our small and large communities is the use of our image for the purposes of fixing our image. More specifically: we don’t need to use a (“positive”) superficial representation of us to combat other (“negative”) superficial representations. The reason why stereotypes are oppressive and hurtful is that they dilute the diversity and power of our individual experiences by employing caricatures and images that do not allow, to any extent, for depth. The formula for creating stereotypes, mainstream tropes of assimilation and ’good’ vs ‘bad’ should not be our formula for fighting against those very things. So, we need more than our image. We need us.

In this day and age, we are the image that we create and put out – so what are we individually and collectively putting out? Whatever our intentions maybe we need to recognize that art and representation are – at minimum- two-way streets where the eye of the beholder will ultimately frame the purpose more than the artist/creator him or herself ever can.

I leave you with these powerful words from Dr. Suad Abdul Khabeer:

Somewhere in America? Somewhere in America there is Muslim sister whose scarf is slipping slightly as she nods off on her train ride coming off the late shift. Somewhere in America a niqabi is frustrated in a Muslim clothing store because the “L” sizing on the jlbabs they sell is false marketing. Somewhere in America a Muslim mother tries to sooth a screaming baby while she debates whether the scarf on her head is large enough for an impromptu breastfeeding session. Somewhere in America a Muslim woman giggles with glee after finding the perfect shade of plum. Somewhere in America a Muslim woman is grateful that her headscarf style will cover the choke marks on her neck.  Everywhere in America, a Muslim woman’s headscarf is not only some sex, swag and consumption, it also belief and beauty, defiance and struggle, secrets and shame.

 

Tags:
  • thatmashguy

    You should never expect too much from people that wear glasses without lenses in them to look cool.
    Hipsterism is all aesthetics so in that regard this video is perfect right? It’s cool yo!

  • Law

    I support your position and courage to speak your mind!

  • SS

    lmao? i don’t understand why many hijabi muslim women are in denial about this. Maybe you think these girls are trying too hard, or maybe you are biased? I don’t have enough fingers to count the amount of hijabi fashionista or skateboaders or high heelers I see walking around. And so what? if these girls skateboard or wear high heels, they are not muslim enough for you? Stop judging. And you have a narrow mind. In every community you will find people with their own perspective. You may not dress like them, act like them or feel uncomfortable doing things that other people do. Doesn’t mean everyone else who is a muslim, a woman or a hijabi shares your views. The video doesn’t say every hijabi muslim woman is like this, so chill.

    • listen

      It actually absolutely says that every hijabi woman is like this. They are all depicted in the same way – as hip/cool/urban model types. And not all Muslim women are like that. Why are there no non-hijabis in the video? There are plenty of accomplished non-hijabis that could have been featured.

      Not everyone is an Islamofashionista, and the men who made this video are imposing this voyeuristic gaze that this look is cool, like Sana said. Somewhere in America, American women wear shalwar kameez, or don’t dress super fashionable. Where are those women in this video? Why are only the model types in it?

      • SS

        thats like saying, that every media ad involves women who are slim and pretty and not every woman on the planet is like that. This is a fashion ad or video, so it serves that purpose. Half of the muslim population doesnt look like that or is that. Your questions are liek questioning why a beauty brand doesn’t show all the medium, fat, obese women in an ad, because they just don’t. There is an audience for everything. Yes not everyone is a islamofashionista, just like not everyone is plain jane. Yes, maybe this look is cool, for some people who dress up like this , it probably is. As for what Sana said that somewhere in America, there are women wearing shalwar kameez or not wearing these clothes, yes there are. You will find that mix everywhere. But that doesn’t mean we run after a video clip where there are women who don’t wear shalwar kameez or niqaabs. This is their video, so let it be. Maybe we all don’t need to be in all the videos, 80% of video about muslim woman on the web includes a hijab or a niqab and rarely the muslim woman who don’t wear it, or ones who wear shalwar kameez or another dress. You don’t see everyone else complaining about it.

        • Sara

          The problem is the medium, fat, obese women aren’t used in ads because they’re not seen as desirable by men. The problem is the images in this video are just yet more images of boring, superficial, consumerist culture that is seen as desirable by white capitalist rich America (except as the author points out the images of the sister who fences).

          I dunno about you but for me the beauty of Islam is that it contains guidance on how we can transcend the shallow, capitalist crap that everyone in the world is now constantly force-fed thanks to globalisation (I’m looking at you, Gulf states). I don’t think playing to that is particularly ‘empowering’.

    • nooper

      what the video does is idealize the image of the “American” hijabi, which is not a bad thing in and of itself since there are many American (as well as non-American) hijabis that dress like this. the problem arises when we ask “well what about the hijabi that doesn’t dress like this. is she suddenly inferior?”

      it sets up a polarizing category of “cool” hijabis. naturally, from that you get “uncool” hijabis. that’s not a good thing, because a lot of those “uncool” hijabis dress traditionally, or even just less fashionably for whatever reason. automatically throwing them into the “uncool” category is unfair because if they aren’t cool we’re implying that they are not American enough to want to assimilate. that’s not just unfair, it’s dangerous.

      • SS

        There are numerous videos or hijabis that wear full abayas, or niqaabs or shalwar kameez whatever it is, all over the internet or in media. When those things release the women who don’t dress like that say well we dont dress like that, why are we not depicted in the media? when they are, then we question why they are the ones who got the attention. This is just a fashion video, who cares? why do we worry so much over little things.

  • SS

    OH MY GOD! the more I read this article, the more it pisses me off. Sana is so damn biased, that she can’t see the reality through her crap. Before you start writing blogs about how these two young women, who actually have business skills and who actually bring something positive to a muslim society and stand up for what they believe in, you need to look at yourself in the mirror. Or perhaps, your display pic? All I read in your article is how these women are trying so hard to be socially accepted and why do we need to try so hard to be accepted? Really? perhaps you should wear the hijab the right way, and wipe the make up off your face before posting such nonsense. These women are promoting their business, these women are American women who are talking about integrating their traditional outfits to modern society. And honey don’t be so offended, Get yourself an airplane ticket, and visit the middle east and see how much fashion girls really do there. Those aren’t trying to “fit in” in North America. Biased girls like you make other muslim women cringe and run away. And the ones who are on the same boat as you, are probably going to live a very sad life, discussing other people and making themselves feel better by saying crap about them. Have a wonderful sad life. You deserve the comments you get.

    • genx

      Wow. Can’t you express your opinion without insulting the writer? As the Prophet (S) said, “I was only sent to perfect good character.”

      • SS

        We are all human, and sometimes some people manage to push our buttons way too many times. I never said I am perfect. ;)

    • listen

      ‘These women are promoting their business, these women are American women
      who are talking about integrating their traditional outfits to modern
      society.”

      Lol really? Because none of them say a word on the video. Only Jay-Z gets to speak–and it’s all about Miley Cyrus twerking. The women in this video are silent–they don’t tell their own stories. The men who made it to it for them. Period.

      • SS

        Due to so many negative comments on the video, by some muslim people themselves, the video was removed. You can still find parts of it here I believe. This video showed up with the title last time I checked, last week I believe
        : http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mFMl2p5aDJU

    • Good muffinz

      so what? everything up to ourself…everything for ourself …

    • nooper

      “perhaps you should wear the hijab the right way, and wipe the make up off your face before posting such nonsense.”

      That was pathetic and low. You should be ashamed of yourself. Please, please, PLEASE learn to give constructive criticism and follow the Prophet’s advice about giving advice before you turn someone away from their Islam.

      • SS

        Maybe the person who wrote the article shouldn’t call girls wearing hijabs and being fashionable wrong. This is constructive, make up is to look better and to be fashionable, if the person who wrote it has issues with muslim hijabis dressing a certain way, then before pointing fingers she should be careful of her own image that she wants to display. Low and pathetic? thats exactly my thoughts on the article and the writer. I guess we are even then.

    • dawudisrael

      Simmer down honey! With a screen name like “SS” you are hardly one to judge on appearance. You better calm your face down.

      di.

      • SS

        Yeah? whats up with SS? there are people here with other names as well ex: nooper, genx and listen. I am sure SS is just one of those random ones ;)

    • Sana

      Hahahahah, thanks. I love you too.

      • SS

        hugs right back ;)

  • disqus_AXs7s6uMm0

    Lol, sorry but I think you dove in a little too deep with this analysis. If this video featured 4 Muslim girls without hijabs would it ruffle your feathers as much? Enjoy the video for what it is, and please don’t try to find some kind of cultural significance in it. It seems to me that you are seeking some kind of higher message that may or may not be in the video.

    • nooper

      The makers may not have “intended” some kind of higher message to be in it, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t send one. That’s like saying “let’s just not worry about stick thin models and the kind of ideal body image they are imprinting into young girls’ minds. It’s not what fashion designers intended.” And why on earth would we not try to find cultural significance in the video? THAT actually IS it’s stated purpose! To be culturally significant! Analysis of the video is a critique of how culturally significant it is, and what kind of significance it embodies. Let’s not get completely elementary and stifle intelligence here.

  • Meriem Ziane

    Excellent article ! Bravo.

  • Good muffinz

    looks like intention diverted…? something good and bad in the sense of perceptions…

  • Good muffinz

    @sana :)

  • Mohd Ali

    This article is a load of tripe. Textbook tall poppy syndrome. And that’s as much analysis as it deserves.

    • Sana

      Could you share your problems with the article beyond hollow insults? It clearly moved you enough to be so angry and post about how angry you are.

      • Mohd Ali

        LOL Sana, read the last 8 words of my comment again. Suffice it to say that I don’t engage in discourse with regressive hatemongers.

        • uncouthtownie

          Dude! Really! Instead of name-calling, and just trying to sound intelligent by throwing around SAT words, can you make a little more well-thought out comment / argument. You are a typical troll.

          • colbey

            “throwing around SAT words” – LOL!
            spot on!

      • Choo

        Sana,

        As a hijabi I agree with Mohd. Why does this video, which is clearly art, require so much criticism from you? Hijab is a very personal thing and we don’t need to be criticized so much by other muslims because we are not wearing it the way you envision us to. True, muslim women are more than just fashionable clothes and posing, BUT this video doesn’t have the responsibility to show a 360 degree view of muslim women. It is simply showcasing fashion with an islamic twist. Relax.

        That is my critism to your article with out the “hollow insults.”

  • http://hautemuslimah.com Haute Muslimah

    I don’t know, I think you wrote a great, thought-provoking piece here, and I for one was glad to read it. The video also left me somewhat confused as to what the intention behind it was, and although, yea, it was great- fun, cool, etc it did sort of boil most of the women down to a fashion-posing stereotype. A friend (hey SB) mentioned it would be fantastic to have had some of the women represent more of what they actually do. Marwa with sewing machine, Noor with a microphone, sort of like how they showed Ibtihaj in her fencing gear.

    Over all I think we’re all entitled to our opinion without the fear of having people attack us for it…

    • Khalid Alzubi

      I don’t think she is really attacking. She is just ‘nipping something at the bud’. Most of these girls are role models to younger girls, and if these younger girls learn that what you wear expresses who you are then this is a big problem for us as Muslims. Don’t you think? I’m not a female, but this woman obviously feel a little angry. Maybe because as a Muslim woman in America she and many others have been working hard to represent Islam, the Hijab, and Muslim woman in the right way and she feels like this video shows no progress in that.

      • http://hautemuslimah.com Haute Muslimah

        I actually meant the folks attacking the author of this piece. And as a Muslim born and raised here in America, I can totally see both sides the this discussion as a whole..
        Thanks for your calm, rational reply Khalid. I appreciate that.

      • Najwa Aj

        i agree with u khalid (y)

      • Alexi Frest

        If you want the right Islam, go back to Afghanistan. We want freedom and a free world. Your kind is poisonous.

    • Sana

      Well said!

  • dawudisrael

    I saw the video and though it was very cool. Wife material cool. But also probably secret second, third, fourth wife material cool. But ya know probably even talaaq material cool too, but then maybe idda period cool and then maybe even re-marriage material cool. Just wait and see.

  • myname?

    decently written, but the more attention you bring to idiocy the further it’ll spread. that’s how things go ‘viral’. please don’t be the instigator :)
    also, no need to over-analyze idiocy, the root is always so simple you’ll feel stupid not having considered it.
    and it was 80s grown ups who brought about the contemporary 90s sarcasm, not the 90s kids :)
    salam

    • Sana

      Typo! ugh

      • myname?

        what typo?

  • dawudisrael

    Hey wait a minute…Why is this video problematic but other similar hijabi fashionista videos and self-styled fashion models and hijabi fashion shows prevalent in Muslim countries not problematic? They have been happening for quite some time…is it OK in other countries but not in ‘merica?

  • RAMI EL AICH

    This is not cool at all not even right ! It is abuse of Islam ! Hijab never was or will be something about fashion !

    Hijab is worship NOT a fashion statement.

    This is sickening , it is like people praying in a bar.

    And those who are doing this ! they should be shame of their selves !

    Islam made by USA , we do not follow !

    • muneera

      ok, thanks “man” for telling us

      • Truman Golden

        sorry ”whore” for not liking it.

        • Surprise123

          This is unacceptable, Son. Surely, you can do better than this?

      • SS

        he forgot to remember where God tells us not to judge.

        • RAMI EL AICH

          Did I judge ! OMG I saw a video and it is bad , has nothing to do with Islam or Hijjab or Honored woman ! and you tell me do not judge ! why when I see someone kill my deen principal ! i shoud be quiet and I don’t defend the truth ! and say O this is your freedom I don’t judge keep insulting us !
          I am slave of Allah not of people like me dude !

    • MimiShouldBeWorking

      So is it worship when men wear pants? Would you be equally insulted to see a video of Muslim men like this, who happen to be wearing pants?
      I love my hijab, but it is not some kind of crown that I wear to prove how good of a Muslim I am. It is a PART of my life but not the most important part of it.

      • RAMI EL AICH

        what are you talking ! Hijjab is one part of Full worship ! Listen if you do not have encourage to say the truth , then let others do and thanks !

        • MimiShouldBeWorking

          Yeah, covering the owra is part of worship. So when men wear pants to cover THEIR owra, is that worship? Or are you one of those guys who only thinks it’s women’s job to represent the religion well and men get a free pass just because their men?

          • RAMI EL AICH

            Sister , I am not that type of men you mentioned ! For me , I am wearing respectful clothes and normal look in general to not be attractive to some girls , and I should look handsome man only in front of my wife. When I talk to girls I let my eyes down . This is what I have to do as a man.
            I am seeing those kind of girls here too , which is to sad , but never thought someone will encourage and support them by making a video instead to explain to them the right thing .
            And wAllahi I even saw 10s of video and I closed ! Just to make sure I am seeing by myself to speak.

            Finally , I am Muslim , I know what I have to do as man and what woman has to do either.

    • rayanr

      That is a ridiculous and terrible perspective.

      I think you should be ashamed for your arrogance. Are you so certain that YOUR view of Islam is correct that you can come out and lash others with your words?

      You use the tool of the despotic and demonic by citing irrelevant ayahs.

      ‘Islam made by USA.’ Sorry, but Islam is for the Universe, every corner of this universe is Islam’s home.

      This isn’t even about the video, it is about the arrogance which people like you exhibit to condemn others. Its a sickness that pervades the Ummah.

      • RAMI EL AICH

        take it easy sister :) don’t hate me because I am saying the truth ! I saw something wrong and I said it is wrong ! so don’t try to act like honored woman ! and do not try to tell things about me while you do not know me ! We saw video and it is not the first one and many girls act like that cause of their ignorant and others just to insult Islam ! And this has nothing to do with Islam that told us Live in Peace and Act good .

      • Sara

        Can’t you see! He has to be right! He’s using exclamation marks!

    • Surprise123

      Thank Goodness in America there is no ONE authority on Islam.
      And, as religion and the surrounding society always do, Islam will change America a little bit and America will change Islam a little bit. They will not stay each the same for ever. Islam changes in each and every society it enters, and America changes with each and every religion that enters.

  • siraaj

    Good article. What gets conflated in these discussions are Islamic principles on hayaa’, the struggle and progress each individual sister is making towards meeting those principles (which requires more empathy and positive encouragement rather than conDAMNation from the conservative crowd), and whether a male-chauvinist agenda exists.

    In general, I think our goal with respect to dawah, after knowing what we stand for, is to make the best case for it and provide a bridge of understanding for surrounding society to understand relate to who we are in principle.

    At best, all that can be said is that this video portrays different types of American Muslim women. I can’t provide much of an informed opinion, however, because within a few seconds of watching it I had to put my eyes down and turn it off as the lyrics were vulgar and the sisters were portrayed in an unbecoming manner, unfortunately.

  • Anees

    I tweeted the video out yesterday myself, thought it was cool/awesome – yes could have been a better song selection of course – just thought it was cool to see or show that young Muslim women in different elements, etc Of course, these ladies are just one section of the larger landscape that make up the American/North American Muslimah. I think depending on who you ask, if could bring both positive and negative consequences for the future image of Muslims and of course, the Muslim woman and how she is viewed. Being a male, I know I won’t be able to fully comprehend these issues, not being able to be in their shoes. I’ve always respected Sana’s views – no reason to attack her as others have said – disagree but you can still be respectful.

  • Renee

    Hmmmm, I didn’t see the video, but I really don’t understand how some of these girls can dress so horrible. This is not islamic with partial hijab, tight pants and shirts, showing their shape!

    This is a disgrace! Nothing cool or cute about it! Yes this is America but we are Muslims, and we should be proud of that…… not water it down!

    • muneera

      this wasn’t her point, at all. muslim women can wear whatever they want to. stfu

      • AnasAljumaily

        You’re a vulgar girl with a filthy mouth. Wear what you want, no one really cares about you. Just don’t go out and insinuate that what you’re doing is what Islam teaches. You don’t represent Muslims, you represent yourself. As long as you’re okay with that, like I said, no one really cares about you or what you wear.

        • uncouthtownie

          You are right. Muneera doesn’t represent Muslims or Islam. Neither do you. I sense a lot of misogynistic anger in your tone. You seem to be the type of muslim man who beat his wife, or tells his wife what to wear and what not to.

          • Truman Golden

            no, he/she is merely reminding her that she does not represent what Islam teaches. You want to muddle his message with insult by falling back the outdated cliches of the muslim man beating his wife, maybe I can call you the drunk homosexual who think islam allows gays to express themselves in the open because there are no rulings about it.

        • Carabosse

          Let me settle this: there is no god. Neither of you is right and those debates about who should wear what are ridiculous.

          • Jekyll

            I think your avatar represents your inner brain workings.

          • Carabosse

            Ouch. that really hurt.
            [/sarcasm]

      • Mohmed Abdimalik MBA

        who told you told that? did you ever read koran or haditha..direct from bush to america…reer gobol waaxid

      • Mohmed Abdimalik

        who told youthat? did you ever read koran or hadith…reer gobol waaxid

      • Yamathedon

        According to who? you or Allah?

      • Jekyll

        Dummy!

    • Najwa Aj

      i agree with u

    • Nomadic414

      They are tryng to change islam, whit theyr fabricated false version of islam.

      they are propagating the Moderate muslim- be a muslim but in moderation,
      the islam whit minishirt and tight jeans,,, the islam whit pants sagging.

      They are tryng to confuse and dvide the ummah so they can change it.

      all this are done to confuse the muslim..
      what they are tryng to do, is not change the muslim…but islam!

      the one who follows quran and sunnah and the one who whant to use hijab..is labeled as fundementalist,backwards and oppresed etc.

      and the one who drinks, and is liberal, socialictic,,,gay, or prays few times a year ect is labeled as moderate muslim

      what they are tryng to do is to divide the muslim…when the muslim is divided its will be more simple to comqure the “idea” of islam,….
      History proves it…

      We are muslim and we follow the quran and sunnah of prophet muhammed. dont belives in this propaganda spread by the media.

      • Surprise123

        The good (and bad) thing about America is that there is no one authority who can legally stop ANYONE from calling herself a Christian, or a Jew, or a Muslim, regardless of her beliefs, adherence to ritual, or dress.
        You believe in the Hindu God, Shiva, you believe in reincarnation, you can call yourself a Christian. You eat pork regularly, both of your parents are indigenous people from Mexico, and you believe in Santaria, you can call yourself a Jew. You wear skin tights tights, a breezy Hijab, attend mosque once a year, and skateboard in a youtube video, you can call yourself a Muslim.
        There is no market in America more competitive than that of the religion or “identity of belonging” market. That’s why there are so many different types of churches, so many different types of synagogues, and soon, I’m sure, so many types of mosques.

  • Hasan

    I think that the fact that you are critiquing this is rather pointless. Just let these rad chicks continue being rad.

  • Azamspazam91

    Great critique!

    Kudos to the muslim girl fencing…it actually has a useful purpose- self defense. But thumbs down to the Jay Z, twerking, heels, watches and flash. Whats next Noor Taghoori? Muslim versions of Miley Cyrus and Rhianna? Splendid -___-

  • Zainab

    Dr.Khabeer’s quote went totally over my head. Choke marks? What is that supposed to mean? PLEASE HELP

    • bmack

      because somewhere in america muslim women are abused.

  • http://gersande.com/ Gersande

    Amazing article. Amazing.

  • Muslimah

    I agree with your article and I couldn’t have said it better myself!! This is an issue which is extremely relevant nowadays, it is becoming more and more common nowadays to see Muslim girls similar to these all over YouTube, making makeup tutorials, “outfit” videos, etc. and Im sorry to say it does not represent the modesty and hayah that Islam teaches. Modesty and hijab is not just about covering the head, it is modesty in your clothes, your actions, your gaze. I didn’t really get the purpose of the mipster video, but apparently it seems they were trying to make some sort of point. There are so many ways to express yourself and if you want to make people believe you are “normal” like the rest of them, and just as “cool”, because doing all those things you did apparently makes you a boss, then there are tons of other approaches to convey that message across if you really need to. And on a side note, you should be proud of who you are and not have to appear “normal” to other people so that they will accept you. If they don’t, its their loss and they’re not worth the time. We have a beautiful religion and we should be proud of it and do it justice by portraying it the way Allah made it. We are the best of Allah’s creation, and we don’t need to impress or live up to the expectations of those who are bound to the Hellfire.

    • maliurj

      Beautifully said, sis! Muslim women who get caught up into this trend are simply those that lack knowledge. They are young and searching for right guidance. We cannot judge them by the images they portray because no one has shown them how it’s done! There is no daleel that proves that Allah SWT does not want his women slaves to be beautiful but He presents one mandate and that is we MUST be appropriately covered when we leave our homes. For instance, some sisters do need to wear makeup to cover severe acne scars while others just want to look fresh and clean. There isn’t anything wrong in wearing makeup but rather it’s how it is applied; moderation is key. A woman can wear whatever she wants but it should fulfill the requirement of dress as mandated by Allah SWT. The other reminder that our young sisters need to understand is to avoid emulating the non-believers. Be original-remember one can be covered and still be beautiful! The sisters who are addicted to Christian Louboutin stilettoes must understand that those type of shoes… for the Muslimah… should only be worn in the home due to the hazards they create and the seductive movements that occur when wearing shoes that high. Any Muslim woman who complains about the guidelines of dress in Islam has not put her creative genius to test.
      We don’t have to look wretched when we take to the streets but we must carry the fear of Allah’s displeasure as the most important garment with which we dress ourselves.

    • cali

      But maybe they’re not “trying” to appear like anything. Maybe they were just being themselves and showcasing that? Why is there an automatic assumption that what the video shows isn’t who they actually are?

  • AmericanMuslim

    There is a broad hijabi spectrum of Muslimas in America, from those that wear scarves to those who wear nikab. Then there are those sisters who have chosen not to cover their hair. The most important aspect in all, is what is in your heart and your love for Allah. Hijab does not put shackles on you, it liberates you, and that is what the message of the video is about. Yes, the song choice could have been better, it was originally supposed to be Loud Noises by Yuna, but I think the video is awesome. Just saying:)

    • Muslimah

      I think part of your comment is true, that Allah knows what’s in our hearts and what our intention is and that we shouldn’t judge anyone outwardly because of this reason however I think the fact that there is a “broad hijabi spectrum” is the issue here. We’ve each seemed to make up our own definition of what hijab is, and we each wear it based on what we individually believe it to be, when in reality Allah has already defined it and set guidelines for it so we should not be the one to decide what defines as hijab and what does not. Yes, these girls could have a pure intention when dressing a certain way, but a good intention is not enough to justify your actions when they step outside the boundaries of Allah’s guidelines. If the message of the video was to show that hijab liberates you, and that is a very good message to portray, but the way they portrayed it (posing, angling their bodies at the camera, wearing tight figure-revealing clothing, heavy makeup etc.), they basically transgressed Allah’s guidelines for hijab to prove that it was liberating. There are so many other appropriate ways to get that message across, they had a good intention of portraying a good message, but used a very poor method to convey it.

      • rayanr

        Your attitude is actually the problem.

        Allah has not defined any guidelines. The Qur’an has been written and subsequent to that interpretations of the Qur’an have been made. If it was black-and-white in the Qur’an then you would have a monolithic faith. Islam is not monolithic.

        It boggles my mind that people persist in their thought that Islam is clear-cut. Any one who has actually read the Qur’an knows it is anything but clear-cut. There is justification for eating non-halal meat, there is justification for eating only zabihah meat in the Qur’an. There is justification for music, there are ayas against music. The Qur’an only mentions three salat, which is what Ismailis do, but the generally accepted role is 5 rakat. Certain Muslims believe in Taraweeh which Umar (ra) instituted and certain Muslims believe this is bidah.

        How is this faith so clear-cut to you?

        People have justifications for their form of dress through the faith. That does not lessen their faith. Fear God, unless you are 100% certain that YOUR interpretation is correct. Debate, educate, but never impose or judge.

        The only things that are clear-cut in Islam which no one can debate are the following:

        1. There is only one God
        2. Muhammad (Saw) was his messenger
        3. Be honest, be just, be truthful
        4. Give charity
        5. Remember God (prayer).

        That is it. Everything else has its perspective and interpretation.

        • Muslimah

          Allah has most certainly defined guidelines in the Quran, and any guideline which isn’t clear cut enough for us has been exemplified in the sunnah of prophet Muhammad (PBUH) and in authentic hadith. It is when we begin to view the teachings of Islam as blurred and vague do we stray from the actual meaning and command of Allah and make various interpretations of our own. Islam was given to us as a complete religion and way of life, it is not open for any modification we please. If that were the case, and people followed Islam based on their own individual interpretation then we would have countless versions of it and they could not all be classified as the same Islam. As for interpreting the Quran, any Muslim who is not a qualified scholar and has not studied the history and context of the ayah in the Quran has no right to say that their interpretation is correct. This is why we have Islamic scholars who are dedicated to this work to make the interpretation clear cut for us. And these scholars all basically have the same idea and interpretation, and the things in which they slightly vary are small minor issues, not something that would become a question of risking your faith. So this is not really as big of a problem as you make it out to be.

          • Sara

            Are these scholars not subject to their own cultural context, their own backgrounds, their own pressures in life not to deviate from the ‘accepted’ interpretation? It is beyond naive to think that Islamic scholars are either perfect beings or existing in some kind of intellectual vacuum that is totally devoid of politics (believe me, I grew up in Saudi Arabia).

            I’m not saying we shouldn’t have respect for scholarly opinions and interpretation because yes, people have devoted their whole lives to it – but this is about our relationship with Allah. This is about how we relate to the Divine and our purpose in life. If we’re not allowed to think critically about that, to contrast opinions between different scholars throughout history and – whisper it – think for ourselves, what is the point? Because if we believe Islam to be the true religion, then actively thinking about how you interpret it in your life is nothing less that the search for the truth.

            It is incredibly depressing that we have a beautiful, lyrical text like the Quran, that constantly asks us do you not think, do you not see and that that very act is considered haram. If we believe Allah is merciful, if we believe he wants us to move closer to him, we have to do so with bravery, genuineness and conviction and trust that if we make mistakes in trying to do so with intellectual honesty, we will be forgiven.

            There is room for many types of Muslims – Islam is not some fragile thing that will shatter unless we all think and act the same. Although we differ in how we view our faith, there is room for both of us, as only Allah can judge either of us.

        • Muslimah

          The justification for eating non-halal and not eating non-halal is in the context, as are the other issues you mentioned. Obviously if you take out one line that says do this and another line somewhere that says don’t do that same thing, you haven’t understood the context in which Allah is making those commands. I suggest you study the context or ask a qualified scholar for the context before you conclude that the Quran is making contradictions and is not clear cut.

  • Francesca

    Non Muslim here, so sorry if I don’t get it.

    I liked the video. I saw a bunch of women having fun. Fencing, riding bikes, climbing planks. I feel a lot of your criticism is about your desire to make women do what you think is right rather then what is presented in the video. I don’t think the video passes much judgement on women who choose not to dress like this, but your article is. Your comment ” Catwalk ready, catwalk strut and catwalk ‘tude” of all the women in the video, is particularly judgemental.
    As ridiculous as it sounds, I think its important that the west gets to see muslim women having fun. So many people think that muslim women are oppressed and never allowed to go out without the watchful male eye. This was what the women in the video were doing.

    • Sana

      I had no idea Muslim women were on display to ‘prove’ we can ‘have fun’ and ‘be like other women’. God forbid that onus is put on everyone else who seems to have a bigoted conception of us as non-human. Secondly, I’m sorry you missed the parts where I mention the last thing we need is more policing of women’s bodies and that’s not the purpose of the critique.

      I don’t think we need to dispell stereotypes and oppressive tropes by co-opting other (classist at that) stereotypes and caricatures that drain us into physical representations — which is the source of the problem in the first place.

      • Brooke Benoit

        I think the word is “pandering”. *shakes if off*

      • Sunehna Kayn

        Also when people of another religion are trying to understand your religion or put forth their own opinions on it, you shouldn’t reply so ‘acerbically’ yourself. Otherwise you’re just chasing people off. No one’s mind gets changed when they’re being attacked. ‘Catch more flies with honey’ as it goes.
        Anyway, I quite liked your article, and I thought many of the points were interesting, if debatable.

        • Salma

          Agreed, Sunehna. Sana, I liked your article, but ease your defensiveness with that comment response. Take it easy. As much as my opinion is similar to yours on the video, I hugely appreciate the input of Francesca and recognize that her reception of it was one positive that the video put out.

          My comment on the video itself:
          American culture has introduced the world to a culture of consumption. Global decadence is the result of the attitude that only values the external. Spirituality teaches otherwise, for peace to be found internally and not in material, and that is why spirituality is so important in the lives of all. My issue with the video is that it places greater value on the very thing that is destroying our world (external focus) by, ironically, using “models” that one would expect to embody the thing that is meant to save us, to keep us, to bring our hearts to peace (the hijab as a symbol of modesty, of faith, of inner peace, internally focused). Instead, these beautiful women (not individually but symbolically) of Islamic faith contradict (knowingly or unknowingly) the teachings of the very religion they are trying to bring light to. The result is a group deceived by and promoting the ideal portrait of the consumerist woman: potential reduced to flesh over substance.

          I would like to note that the producers’ good intent is appreciated. Truly. Simply recognize that the light is within.
          Salaam.

          • Alexi Frest

            Go back to Afghanistan and you can be as modest as you want. I am interested how modest or spiritual or peaceful you will be after a thorough beating and rape.

    • Sunehna Kayn

      Non-Hijabi wearing Muslim here and hey I think your opinion is valid and the person who replied to you Sana, was over-offended for no reason. Tbh when I look at Hijabis I tend to think they’re oppressed too, and at the end of the day yeah the general western view of people who cover their heads is that they lack their own identity.

      It may not be the ‘correct’ view but I am curious, if anyone here can legitimately tell me why it is so good to cover your hair and what it achieves?

      • Muslimah

        Im not expert enough to give you a well educated and justified response but from what I know: Haya (modesty) is a big part of Islam. Having a degree of modesty prevents one from transgressing certain commandments of Allah. Allah orders both the men and women to practice modesty in our actions, our dress, our words, our gaze. Women in Islam are valued greatly and their virtue is given a lot of importance and their modesty is a shield to protect them from the evil thoughts and actions of others. Allah has advised us to cover those parts of our body which attract unwanted attention of men. This includes our figure, hair, basically those things which can attract someone’s unwanted attention. This goes both ways, and men must also dress appropriately and are ordered to lower their gaze when they see a stranger woman so that these thoughts do not come to mind. Because if the gaze brings haram emotions and thoughts, then the man has sinned and the women who brought those feelings and thoughts on has also shared in the sin. A good, short video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dod325_0iu4

        • colbey

          but based on this article and the author’s reaction to the video, it seems that the author is arguing that “modesty” has many definitions, and that more than just one form of modesty would probably be a goal for those of the islamic faith. (the mention of “classism” and female muslim “fashionistas” come into play here. it is not “modest” to flaunt one’s wealth, or perhaps just greater income–perhaps because it can cause those with less wealth can feel shame because of one’s actions?)

          but your post basically relegates “modesty” to merely a sexual modesty–that women should be covering all of their body that might cause a sexual thought/attraction in another. (to the extent that women are held responsible for the thoughts, feelings, and instincts of another human being–a woman ‘sins’ if she causes a man to think of her sexually, no matter what she is or isn’t wearing. if that’s not true, then your explanation of it plays right into western stereotypes of that aspect.)

          so, either way–either a sexual modesty (where all the body parts that could be sexualized by another must be covered), or a more comprehensive modesty (modesty in all areas [akin to "moderation in all things"?])–the video seems to fail. the women in it have covered their oh-so-sexualized hair, but then wear form-hugging clothing, and marginalize certain segments of the muslim society that are already marginalized (the poor, the disabled, etc.).

          or maybe i’m completely missing all the marks. i’m not muslim; i’m not of the islamic faith; but i am a woman.

        • Dillon

          Covering the head is a really poor excuse to claim modesty. Really poor. Modesty is an individual virtue…it comes from being humble as a person. You need no religion for this. I know many women who are modest and very humble but are not required by a man made rule to cover up . Covering up is law under the quise of religion for men who are sexually insecure.. Nothing more.

          • Rafa Shu

            Islam’s brand of modesty is all-pervasive. The hijab is the outward aspect of it, as it guards the physical form from illicit attention. Make no mistake; hijab usage does not arise from sexual insecurity, but rather from a place of divine decree. Even men have their own hijab, albeit in a different form. Modesty is required of all women AND men.

            The inward modesty is also important, if not more so. Also, modesty is beyond just being humble. It is more about having a sense of quiet dignity, a personal confidence, in the way one carries herself, such that one does not have to act in a way that demonstrates the opposite of that.

        • Surprise123

          “Women in Islam are valued greatly.” One way I determine whether females are valued in a culture is to ask, if a young mother’s 1st born child were a girl, would she be delighted or disappointed? What if her 2nd born child were a girl as well? And, her third?

          And, then I turn the question around and ask, if a young mother’s 1st born child were a boy, would she be delighted or disappointed? What if her 2nd born child were a boy as well? And, her third?
          The closer the delight of new mothers for girl babies, 1st born, 2nd born, 3rd born is to the delight of new mothers for boy babies, 1st born, 2nd born, 3rd born is my yardstick for how well women are valued in a society.
          Because if women think that life is so very bad for females in their society, they won’t want girl babies. Or, if their only status is wife and mother, and their husbands and then sons may be absolute tyrants over them, even to the point of easily divorcing them without support, or throwing them out on the street, or injuring or even killing them without consequence, then they will see their baby daughter as competition, and not delight in her birth.
          In my own culture, delight of a mother for a girl baby is almost the same as her delight for a boy baby. Indeed, women of my culture often PREFER to adopt girl babies.
          What is the feeling of Muslim women if her new baby is a girl? Delight? Disappointment? Resignation? Happiness?
          And, how does it compare to her feeling if her new baby is a boy?

          • Muslimah

            First off, Islam is a RELIGION, not a culture, so you cannot judge Islam based on actions a Muslim does because of his/her culture. Secondly, before Islam emerged about 1400 years ago, women in society were treated unjustly, so much so that newborn baby girls were considered a disgrace and were buried alive. This evil act was put to an end by the emerging of Islam, and its prophet Muhammad (pbuh). The prophet himself had 4 daughters and loved them all dearly. There are many authentic hadith (sayings) of prophet Muhammad (pbuh) regarding the high status of women in Islam, and this was so important to him that in his last sermon before his death he specifically ordered the men to care for their women and treat them justly. There are many other sayings as well, and just to give you an idea, here are a few:

            1. “Paradise lies under the feet of your mother”
            2. “Whoever has three daughters or three sisters, or two daughters or two sisters, and takes good care of them and fears Allaah with regard to them, will enter Paradise.”
            3. A man came to prophet Muhammad (pbuh) and asked, “Which of the people is most deserving of my best companionship?” He said, “Your mother.” He said, “Then who?” He said, “Then your mother.” He said, “Then who?” He said, “Then your mother.” He said, “Then who?” He said, “Then your father.”
            And there are so many more…Raising daughters is considered a huge blessing in Islam, and the more daughters you raise, the more reward you get. Women in general have a lot of rights in Islam, they were given rights which many other religions and cultures did not permit until hundreds of years later, for example they were given the right to vote, to inherit, to witness in court, divorce rights, right to education, etc., all over 1400 years ago when Islam was born. I mean even in the US, women weren’t given the right to vote until 1920 which was less than a hundred years ago, so you get the idea. Mothers especially are given a huge status in Islam (see #1 and 3), so much so that a person cannot enter Paradise if his/her mother is displeased with them. The list goes on and on…If you need more clarification or proof on the status of women and daughters in Islam, I will be happy to provide it.

    • isfpers

      I’m a muslim woman live in Indonesia. And I just wanna say it straight forward. I knew many muslim women in Indonesia, who wears hijab neatly, covering their body except their face and hands just like what Allah said thru Quran, and they are happy. They don’t feel oppressed as what I see they even can continue their education until post graduates, they can teach in university, there are entrepreneur, studying abroad, working in foreign company, and so on. Yet they remain wearing hijab and stay away from haraam relationship.

  • Brooke Benoit

    You are so way cool for writing this. Seriously. Thank you!

  • Mohammed Ali Laghzaoui

    what it shows is how hijab is obsolete and shows our muslim societies schizophrenia.
    these girls try to combine hijab with hipster style and you put a headscarf on and wear two kilos of make up. you try to be sexy and beautiful while the essence of hijab is to deny that you can be feminine and sexy.
    sorry but you are ridiculous, just like the girls on the video. before starting to judge these girls, take a minute and think about how you are a brainwashed, submitted person.
    that article shows again how ashamed I am of muslim women who are happy to be men’s objects.
    ton article, comme ta pensée, est pourri. réveille toi ma grande. t’es à côté de la plaque.

  • Guest

    I shall rewrite the comment you deleted : you are not better with your picture with a duck face and 2 kilos of make up

  • Darlene Hider

    Salam all,
    I am a 31 year old female from One of the, if not the, most populated Arab and Muslim communities outside the Middle East. If anyone has watched hijab evolve into being modernized and westernized in a community it is here in my hometown. I wore the hijab back in July 2013. I have 3 lovely children, and lead a very active lifestyle. I think were missing the message behind many comments and the video itself. Hijab is modesty, it is the epitome of silently telling someone I am a Muslim. I represent Lady Fatima a.s. who if she is looking down on us would be very disappointed in the way hijab has been taken out of its comfort zone. And not only in America but all over the world. Cover not only your hair but your tongue, your actions, and you become a model not for your clothes or body and trendy hijab, but a model for the ideal modest Muslim woman. I am proud to wear my hijab the way I do, and as modest as I am, I bet you i will be criticized by some other Muslim women who think I’m not modest enough. Your actions, your speech, everything intangible represents who you are. I do not like to judge, I believe God is the judge of us all, but at the same time it saddens me to know hijab is not what it used to be. Alot of the comments here make sense on both sides. Why do we have to try to fit in when we wear hijab? I’m not advocating to look miserable and unfashionable when wearing hijab, but trust me, I found many fashionable clothes that are modest with my hijab. When you make a decision to wear hijab, be 100% sure you are ready for what comes along with it. If not, don’t do it. Do it right or don’t do it at all. What’s right? Be modest. Am I perfect? Absolutely not. But I have a 3 year old daughter who imitates and we have to remember this is our future. Will she wear hijab? Inshallah one day she will, but I want to teach her true modesty. Islam has and will always be under scrutiny. How strong are we to stand with our faith? And not conform with society? It’s going to be an on going battle and I hope that hijab, one of the most beautiful aspects of Islam needs to be preserved to its original beauty and form. Also when wearing hijab, in my personal opinion, a woman must be confident in her own skin, so that her clothes don’t define who she is, but rather her inner beauty. Which should be the case for all women, Muslim or non-Muslim. So please if anyone feels the need to fit in with their hijab, think about the faith you are representing. Are there nuns out there making videos? As far as the video goes, as a muhajabi myself, would I dress like some of the girls in the video, probably not, but ill leave that to the true Judge. And I hope as Muslims we can all one day just understand each other rather than bash each other. Lets also remember the positive and how far we’ve gone and how succesful our Muslim generation has become. Did you know now that for surgeons who wear the hijab, in some countries, they provide them with disposable hijabs for the operating room, how great is that!? Why? Because of one woman’s request. It takes one voice. So for every bad lets see a good. God bless all of you and I hope that some good comes out of this discussion and all future discussions.
    Salam

  • http://juustpeachy.blogspot.co.uk/ Asmaa

    This was so articulate and well written! I couldn’t agree with you more!

  • BeastinBeekeeper

    Hey Sana,

    Male American Muslim here, I have to say that I agree with this article. Hooowever, the video doesn’t intentionally try to make it seem that Muslim women are hip and cool only if they dress and act this way. I think what the aim of the video was to create an image of diversity, that Muslim women are not just subjected to a form of clothing, a jilbab or a niqab of some sort. If you guys want to talk about objectifying woman to a type of clothing, or “hipness” then lets start with the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, and other countries in the middle east. They have mastered the image that a pious women, that a righteous woman is that who is dressed in niqab or wearing a certain color, and being less than a man, utter nonsense. I have my head on my shoulders alhamdullilah, if I saw a video today of men dressed in suits and jeans rolled to the ankles, while wearing sperrys and the title was “How to be a Hip Muslim man” I’d get a kick out of it, and encourage my Muslim brother to keep it up and encourage him to show his side of diversity. Islam is diversity. Islam is not as singular as we think it is.

    Sana, I understand your frustration with the video. By saying these are hip Muslims it gives the view that those who are not dressed this way are not Hip and cool Muslims, but I don’t think that’s how the majority of those who watch this video see it that way. I just saw it as some Muslim women thinking they are hip, and its how they want to express themselves. In no way did i ever think, “hmm i guess muslim women who dont dress like that arent hip”.

    • Surprise123

      Non-muslim woman here. I have to admit, it made me want to go skate boarding with the skateboard girl. It reminded me of my childhood, skateboarding around the neighborhood.
      Sure, it was staged. But, it just looked like a group of girls having fun and laughing…and they happened to be Muslim.
      It made me feel good!

  • Dawuuud

    Salam!

    The mistake you make in degeneration the video is in essence this: every representation of Muslim women needn’t be a representation *of all Muslim women*

    Doctor Abdul Khabeer’s words are poignant and amazing masha Allah – but videos of Muslim women needn’t be representations of the vast swathes of Muslimah diversity that we know is there.

    Personally I do think the video is ultimately a little bit shallow and certainly lacks any powerful poignancy.

    But breaking unrealistic and unhelpful stereotypes of Muslim women doesn’t need every creative output representing Muslim women to cover ‘Muslim women in their entirety’ if that’s even possible.

    This was evidently a fashion video, a cool slick kooky fashion film (clear by the focus on outfits and use of models) – so what? This is what these middle class educated and fashion savvy girls get up to… It’s their part of the story of Muslim Women, Muslims and humanity – a part that rarely gets representation in favour of the centuries old stereotypes that just don’t get to near heart of being a Muslimah.

    It’s certainly not the video I would make – I would make a video about the ballsy Glaswegian Muslim women that defy patronising sterotypes without any conscious effort (as it seems in this video), purely by being strong women – something that is not always so easy in a world so wrought with male domination.

    The video was a total middle-class hipster-fest so what? – it gets closer to real Muslim women’s lives than probably any media representation we see on a weekly basis.

    • Rin

      Yes! My thoughts exactly!

    • rayanr

      Excellent post.

  • Fatima

    You get what you seek – if you’re searching for something to critique, than you’ll find it here. If you’re looking for inspiration and diversity, than you’ll find that. Annd, if by chance, you happen to be seeking God, I suspect you could find that too within the nooks and crevices of this video.

    I guess, what I’m trying to say is, I agree with SS. The article is biased … not necessarily bad-biased, but biased nevertheless :) The video itself? I thought it was nice… (and yes, I mean nice and not “nice”).

    With love,
    Fatima :)

    • SS

      Thank You for getting my point of view and being more calm than me. Sometimes it bothers me how muslim community cries over their women being shown in burkas, in shalwar kameez and other outfits ad say media portrays us as “oppressed” and “uncool” and “unhappy”. But when some one person bother showing the other side, everyone is in an uproar and question why did media ppl dare do this? My question is, if there is one movie that protrays a group of hijabis that are fashion forward, THAN WHAT IS THE PROBLEM WITH THAT? they are not talking about 99.9% of the hijabi women, so everyone needs to chill. There is a reason they took the video off.

  • raaf

    I think we need to look at this video in the context of other representations of muslim women in the media. The muslim community has been hard at work over the past couple of years to redefine the image of the muslim women- bring forward our individual contributions to society, put an emphasis on character (I’m thinking of Zarqa Nawaz, Little Mosque on the Prairies, Muslim American, etc). So my question is , what is so wrong if we focus on the consumerist/fashionable side of muslim women- because it definitely exits (I’m a hijabi who wants people to care about my character but I also want to look good and be socially acceptable!). If there was a lack of more substantial representations, THEN this video would be a problem. I think alot of young hijabis will feel that it depicts hijabis as cool, fun and normal. If you ask me, these are major concerns for any preteen/teenager.

  • Melissa G

    Jazakallahu khairan. Well said.

  • Messenger

    Nothing wrong with the video. Great video in my opinion! What people miss is the fact that many Muslim women are leaving the “hijab” and what these women have done in an exceptional way is show those women (and others) that you don’t need to leave the “hijab” to be “cool”! Nothing wrong with the video or objectifying.It’s comical the “Muslims” who think women doing anything is “haram”. So what guys shot the video! The women were fully clothed and I didn’t think “sex” when I saw the video. (perverted minds see perverted things). It’s like silly Muslims who say Astaghfirllah everytime they see a woman period. Even when she’s fully clothed. Grow up. And I’m praying the movement spreads! None of the women I knew growing up cover. Maybe if they saw this video they would have and still would be.

  • Awais

    After discovering this article and the video through Reddit, i feel i need to comment on the matter. The levels of stupidity i never thought were that high in the Muslim community but after seeing the video and some comments, i will admit i was wrong. The video is a one big funny joke, LMAO HAHA such try hard’s. All i can do is laugh at the stupidity and i encourage others to join in the laughter.

  • J011N D@Y^15

    Life is so challenging and complex.

  • A.Kamal

    Sana, you’re a powerful writer, I applaud you for that. Having said that, I found the article to be rather thought-provoking. And before you brace yourself for some kind of negativity directed your way, rest assured , none is forthcoming. :) Because as Muslims, it’s not befitting for us to degenerate in to petty name-calling and an abject lack of common courtesy towards one another even if (/especially when) we disagree. Yes?

    moving on.. I will now get to the point. Admittedly, when I first watched this video, I found it quite charming and was taken in by the ‘swag and the flash’. But your article made me think about the profound consequences it might have in how the meaning of ‘wearing a hijaab’ is interpreted and therefore perceived by a varied audience (esp. one including non-Muslims). I think you identified the crux of the issues that the video might raise and I thank you for that. Not everyone understands &/ appreciates nuances and for those who do, I think you are special. :)

    Btw, I still think the video is rather ‘cute’ (superficially, yes) but that was never the point of the discussion, was it? I think it was about (or should be about) the message it portrayed because it could be a potentially dangerous one. So, good on you for voicing your opinion and hope you continue doing so no matter what the naysayers think. Also,as an aside,I sincerely hope they make a follow-up video to show how all these women are changing the world for the better, slowly but surely. :)

  • Hade Sheriff

    My dear friends Islam has its boundaries & barriers, anyone can jump out , but dont tarnish its image, its like shitting in your own food-plate.

  • Ahmed Saleh

    Whats up girl? lets hook up

  • Mansoor Sakhiy

    I agree, I have seen these girls around and they look like freaks. Not sure why they wearing a hijab!

  • Guest

    The video has been taken down.

  • Diane Nemea Laessig
  • cali

    I don’t understand Dr. Khabeer’s words: “a Muslim woman’s headscarf is not only some sex, swag, and consumption.” Maybe I missed it but where in the video were the women depicting their hijabs as “sex, swag, and consumption.” My understanding is that these women love fashion, and they just happen to enjoy it with their hijabs on. And furthermore, there was nothing remotely sexual about the video – they were just girls having fun with cool clothes on! Nothing in their movements, or the way they were dressed was at all provocative.

  • Ibrahim_Long

    Excellent analysis and insights. Thank you for taking the time to share them. My wife and I had similar thoughts after viewing the video, and you have conveyed these points eloquently.

    Your criticism of stereotypes also hints for me at the need to understand our identity without reference to stereotypes (like, “I am not like [insert stereotyped group],” or “I am just like [insert stereotyped group]“). There is a genuine need (as you pointed out) to include greater depth regarding “us” in the picture. I would also include in that assessment that we need greater compassion (with ourselves and others).

    God bless.

  • ladycooks

    The people who use these nameless models used (objectified) to try and break the stereotypes are doing more harm than good. It satisfies the voyeur palate, gives people some THING to talk about, never even wondering who these women are, what good they are doing in the world, what is their substance. It furthers the idea that all that matters is how women look, hijab or not, and anyone pointing and judging is feeding right into the objectifying and dehumanization of their sisters in Islam, just as the mainstream media does to women as a whole.

  • Tristan Laing

    “art and representation are – at minimum- two-way streets where the eye of the beholder will ultimately frame the purpose more than the artist/creator him or herself ever can.”

    This sounds like a declaration of war against all artists. “You basically can’t do anything, your attempts to challenge the way people frame your work are in vain.”

  • Amber Horton

    I started watching the video and couldn’t even watch the whole thing. I had to turn it off because I just couldn’t continue to watch what they “think” is Islamic dress. How shameful that we have strayed from following the Qur’an and sunnah so much that we now think skinny jeans is appropriate for us to wear. I can understand some slacks if they are loose, skirts that are long and not form fitting.. but skinny jeans and stretch pants? Please someone please tell me what is the point of covering the hair if everything else is hanging out. Just shows that we need to teach our children better, because I can’t for the life of me think that they were properly taught and still want to make a mockery of it.

  • Mike Van Roy

    When I get my 72 virgins I hope the cutie on the skateboard is one of them.

  • TRUTHSEEKER50
  • Burntberry Dot Net

    We utilized some of the sisters from the modeling agency for this video, with the idea to show the beauty of Muslim woman covered. love it or hate it….

  • Dillon

    religion…the poison of the world. You need a book written by men to tell you what to wear and how to be as a person? Then you allow yourself to be controlled by it under the disquise of allah? Cultural and religious indoctrination is a process well understood by the learned. Rationalized and angered at by the endoctrinated who cannot see past the endoctrination. If you are true to islam it is NO religion of peace. What is the penalty for apostacy if you doubt me? Get rid of the baggage and just be a good human being. You have all you need as a person to be this. People hide within religion because they fear life and death and cannot except that they really are alone within themselves.

  • Dillon

    As it is there is NO evidence for allah….none…zero…..if you provide evidence then I will consider but as of yet no evidence exists. Faith is belief but belief does not make something true and it is NOT evidence. Because something is written is NOT evidence either.

  • http://aminor.tumblr.com aminor

    “We’re so incredibly obsessed with appearing “normal” or “American” or “Western” by way of what we do and what we wear that we undercut the actual abnormality of our communities and push essentialist definitions of “normal”, “American” and “Western.” In that process of searching for the space of normalcy, we create ‘normal’ and through that a ‘good’ Muslim. And in all of this, we might just lose that which makes us unique: our substance.”

    Yes to all of this. So many not “normal” communities in the US do away with their own unique culture to fit in. Languages gets lost, because speaking a foreign language is “weird”, traditions get lost, because celebrating in a way no one else does is “weird”, foods get lost, because eating something that isn’t a hamburger is “weird.” Many think it’s beneficial, but it really hurts people, because they are alienated from their own heritage and who they are. It’s hard to build a sense of self when you can’t understand where you can from.

  • stampece

    Showing young women playing sports and enjoying other normal activities is not “objectification”. The author either doesn’t understand the term or is intentionally misusing it to create controversy.

  • Little Feather Hadi

    look, Islam is not just about hejab, if you show your body shape and talk dirty than even the hejab won’t do anything!

  • Little Feather Hadi

    please people who are reading my last comment, don’t be mad because that’s only my opinion.

  • Alexi Frest

    Sweet modest Muslim girl, go home, along with your modest Islam believing friends! We have enough of your likes, we have more modesty for women than we need and we really do not like your kind. Go back to Afghanistan. The West do not need your harmful kind. We do not need oppression, rape, and any symbol of it, i.e. towels on women’s heads.