Issues Underneath The Veil

The women of Islam are blessed to have Hijab, it protects them in so many ways and it makes them feel the respect they deserve. But, there are issues that the Hijab can’t protect them from. They are covered, respected and protected but underneath their veils are stories they cannot express. Insecurities, pessimism, negative body image, unspoken desires and unhealthy habits are stories they hide within them and sometimes are what murder them silently.

There are so many things that make them believe that they have to be attractive. And so, when they are being told that they have to be thin, white and pretty, they do it. Sometimes they become obsessed to make their bodies perfect so to have a worth. Muslim women are not an exemption from this global stigma. Even Muslim women felt that their bodies are artworks. And, because they can’t show some skin they made the artwork a little bit Muslim version. That is why, we can see that there’s this big change in how women wear Hijab, the modern veil turns out that it doesn’t represent modesty anymore but art. Even Muslim women find it a need that they should be attractive, if not by showing skin, then by modernizing Hijab. But, this is just making them sicker for Hijab’s purpose is not to attract unnecessary attention but to actually protect them from these.

There are these girls who see themselves not beautiful. They are those who are drowning with their own insecurities. They have this negative body image which is another serious issue. It actually makes them feel lesser, and worthless. They are just silent and most of the times they are strong and smiling, but deep inside them are extreme sadness. There are too many vices that tell women that their bodies have to be perfect, they are being told that they have to be thin and beautiful the way the society portrays. From school to home, they often hear advices on how to make themselves beautiful and more beautiful.  People will always talk about beauty tips, fashion trends, slimming teas, make up products everywhere – it’s always about girls, females, women, ladies. Can you imagine the pressure they feel?

Related to body image issue is unhealthy eating. How many young girls have we heard the words, “I’m on a diet”? We might have encountered many of them. We can see our Muslim girls uttering this phrase every time they are offered some food. Some are suffering from serious eating disorder which is more than a diet fad. These are girls who are having trouble with food, it’s either they see food as enemy or they see it as best friend. Some don’t eat, some overeat. Their life is evolving with food. Both cases are due to some terrific experiences that keep on hunting them. The next time you see a girl overeating or not eating at all, do not judge them but rather talk to them and care. Because, sometimes it’s just actually what they need.

Muslim women are perceived to be safe from these ideas about attractiveness and perfection which are brought by the media because of the modesty they wear. It is surprising to find out that Muslim women also have issues which lie underneath their veils. They are also struggling with low self-esteem and body image issues just like other girls. Even in cultural context, woman is being measured based on her physical appearance. It is a global issue that women face every day. Due to these, most are belittling themselves even there is nothing bad about their looks. Muslim women are images of modesty, but they are human beings who still have issues. Do not play with their emotions, do not judge them. Do not make them feel that they aren’t beautiful by telling them what beauty should be.

For the girls who feel sad today, read this: Your Silence

Featured Photo Credit: Colleen Clark’s Body Image Comic

Najmah is a Clinical Nutritionist, Med student and Writer. She is the founder of The Muslim Bricks. You can also find her blogging on her blog, By Najmah, where she writes about wellness, personal excellence, and her journey to white coat.

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