When it comes to Muslim women, stereotypes are plentiful. Across the globe, Muslim women find themselves at the receiving end of heinous behaviour.
Islamophobia continues to be at an all-time high. After the Christchurch shootings that saw 50 Muslims gunned down in a mosque, the number of anti-Muslim hate crimes has skyrocketed by 600 per cent in the UK alone (yes, really, 600 per cent).
And that’s just one example. That’s not even counting the innumerable stereotypes that are constantly cast upon Muslim women—especially those of who are are visibly Muslim (i.e. hijabis).
The harm they cause is immense, so to bring light to what many women are forced to battle every day, these are just a few of the many stereotypes cast upon hijabis that we have to dispel.
The hijab informs their every decision
The hijab is a personal decision made by Muslim women; it doesn’t mean that every action has to be guided by the veil that covers their hair.
Hijabis are conservative
The hijab is actually not a measure of religiosity nor is it a measure of their political compass.
They are all forced to wear it
Sure, some women are legally required to in some countries, or by their parents—this, however is not the majority. Generalizing is a dangerous game.
Women who wear hijabs are oppressed
The hijab is largely seen as a tool of oppression (which feeds into the above stereotype). The hijab is, and has always been, the choice of the woman who wears.
Hijabis cannot play sports
We can take Olympian Ibtihaj Muhammad as an example of why this is a ridiculous assumption.
There’s only one correct way of wearing the hijab
As mentioned previously, the hijab is not a measure of religiosity. But above all, women are agents of themselves, and their sartorial choices are not to be policed.
Hijabis can’t be feminists
With the hijab misconstrued as a tool for oppression, many believe that women who wear it inherently are abiding by patriarchal rules. But those who believe that hijabis cannot be feminists are ultimately policing women for their sartorial choices—and not accounting for their agency. After all, wearing a hijab is a choice made by the women who wear it.