Through The Lens Of A Hijabi: The Pressures To Fit The Perfect Social Mould
August 8, 2022
Wearing a hijab in the 21st century can sometimes feel like an extreme sport. Girls are always looking for a role model and with that comes imitation, and although some “insta famous” hijabis may say that they are not influential figures they are exactly just that.
To me it felt like there was a time when the hijab was almost seen as a trend. People love a modern looking, aesthetically pleasing hijabi to follow on the Gram. Many of these influencers grew a platform inspiring and unknowingly encouraging girls all over the world to wear the hijab.
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Now, everyone faces their own battles; societal pressure alongside shaytan's whispers can be very difficult to ignore. Growing up in a western country we are always seen as the “others” and then 2001 happened and we suddenly got a new label: “terrorist”.
This would be the most difficult time for a hijabi in contemporary society. Wearing a hijab for some felt like wearing a target on their head, Islamophobia peaked and many sisters were afraid to wear hijab. Despite this we built a society online, first YouTube, where there was a surge of hijab tutorials and hijabi vloggers paving the way for young Muslim women, empowering them and encouraging them to stay true to their identity and despite the negative comments and racism that occurred our society showed solidarity with Muslims where we celebrated our differences and rebuilt our community.
Social media plays a huge role in today’s society, many youngsters go online and see something they like the look of and copy. There was a period of time where “Instagram influencers” started to remove their hijabs and without meaning to started the domino effect but what I loved to see was a new wave of “hijabi influencers”: young girls, wearing hijabs, sharing the struggles they have faced while wearing it, talking about their goals (such as working on covering all their hair), and taking us along with them in their journey. This has helped many Muslim women see that many, just like them are fighting an inner battle.
I started my hijab business when I found it was very difficult to find hijabs that were affordable and as it grew I was able to look into different styles of hijabs that were suitable for various occasions. My favourite was introducing “instant hijabs”. These are hijabs that have an underscarf sewn, making it super easy to wear a hijab and covering the whole head. This was perfect for younger girls who were just starting out wearing a hijab or revert sisters just getting used to the idea of wearing a hijab. My hijab business is based on selling hijabs at affordable prices but also the highest quality.
Here are some stories that have been shared with me about two sisters and their hijab journeys:
“My hijab journey started at the age of 7/8ish, when my mom asked me if I wanted to wear a scarf and I said yes. What I didn’t realise was that was it, I couldn’t take it off. I mean my mom wasn’t strict about it at that age, so I wouldn’t wear it for weddings etc. but would wear it for school.
I remember my sister and I were the only girls in primary school wearing hijab. I got to about 14/15 years old and said to my parents that I didn’t want to wear it any longer, the response to that was to think about what others will say and no you’re not taking it off. I wouldn’t class myself as Hijabi as I don’t wear it for the right reasons, I wear it because it would be weird if I didn’t. I don’t wear it at the gym, if I go for runs, sometimes I wear a hat. I don’t always dress modestly either but that’s one of my many struggles. It’s a long journey for me, but Insha’allah I will slowly get there.”
I was 18 when I started to properly look into Islam, I’d just moved away from home for university and never really had the chance to look into Islam of my own accord before. I started praying 5 times a day and my life became so peaceful and I could see the good in every little thing, as time went on I wanted to take the next step and wear my hijab, this was where it got tough for me.
Implementing salah into my life came easily alhamdulillah but hijab came with a great deal of struggle. First I was met with confidence issues – what would I wear, would it suit me etc. I really loved my hair, I thought to myself that there was no point in hurriedly putting a hijab on only to take it off again at a later date. I was also met with discouraging words – ‘’ you’ll be subject to racism’’, ‘’you won’t find a job in your industry’’, ‘’you’ll look like an outsider’’; these among many other things that made me think the future would be tough for me with a hijab on.
At that stage I kept saying to myself ‘’one day, I’ll have the confidence’’. I never had any Muslim friends growing up, only family and at uni, I finally met some Muslim girls who have been there for me despite in a completely different year group.
Over the last five years, these girls have encouraged me to do what makes me happy and they knew how much I wanted to wear a hijab, I’m sure their duas helped finally get me there (Alhamdulillah) and my first few proper hijabs that I planned to wear as I became a hijabi were from The Modest Cover Up Shop. I just bought colours and materials that I would be comfortable in. My favourite hijab for work is the black jersey hijab, in summer I like to wear the chiffon hijabs as they’re light and look pretty and in winter the suede, which helps to keep me warm.
This blog was written by Ariffa, founder of The Modest Cover Up:
The Modest Cover Up is a UK based online company selling high quality, affordable hijabs and hijab accessories.
Find out more about The Modest Cover Up: