Like many Xangans, I’ve found myself sitting in front of my monitor sighing at the recent influx of modesty posts, so much so that I got sick of it and er… decided to write one. Not because I’m opposed in any way to the notion of modesty, but because I 1) whole-heartedly disagree with the insincere prorogation of it, especially where self-righteousness, judgment, and/or intolerance are involved and
2) many of these posts, pro and con, have entailed misconstrued, one-sided perspectives on a subject many writers fail to fully understand.
I conceal my hair and body in the Islamic observation of hijab, but I don’t do it out of some imagined responsibility to stave off the lust of men (aka Mission: Impossible). That’s a wonderful bonus when it works, but what guys drool over isn’t my fault; my beauty is God-given and I agree that it’s definitely nothing to be ashamed of.
I understate my beauty because I believe very deeply in the importance of humility; in the importance of espousing the idea that the merits of my body can, in fact, be forgotten in favor of the workings of my mind and spirit.
Yes, my beauty is a wonderful thing, but just wait til you see what lies beyond the outward charms my genetic makeup has disposed me to. Take a look at the beauty I can create outside myself, in the reaches of the dark world around me. Love me for my willingness to do good, not my curves.
I’m happier with my body than almost any girl I’ve ever met, but I cringe at the thought of it being a qualifier for what people think of me. I don’t think I’m better than anyone because I take time to cover myself, nor do I believe anyone else should do so unless inspired by personal inclination. It horrifies me when I hear of women being thrown into prison for not covering themselves, and though I have a little Arab blood in me, I believe Saudi Arabia is home to one of the most corrupt governments on earth, especially for its degradation of women.
But in a nation where its observation renders me the object of many peoples’ derision, pity, and unabashed hatred, I don my hijab voluntarily and I don’t feel like apologizing for it any more than I feel like apologizing for my right to write these words.I don’t see it as a ‘big deal’. I don’t see it as something I should be championed or lauded for, and certainly not something I should be criticized or ostracized for. Women have different tastes in how they present themselves; it’s what makes being a female so great and what gives Lovelyish a constant stream of fun articles.
My style happens to be covered up, and it’s a preference that does not infringe on or lessen anyone else’s right to what style they prefer. I have never looked down on anyone for not choosing to dress like me, in the same way that I would never look down on someone for not possessing the same passions or loving the same people.
On the contrary, as I devote my appearance to the idea of looking deeper, I find myself inclined to look deeply into everyone I meet, to try to find the goodness there. In this regard, I have never been disappointed.I’m tired of being seen as oppressed, misguided, naive, or unfortunate. I am well-educated, independent, and a walking thesaurus on beauty who could show you that there are a million kinds of loveliness beyond what’s outwardly considered. And for the record, modesty is an attitude, a state of mind. It is not a cloth or lack thereof.