Hijab Reflections

Islamic Fashion

Muslim women in their 20s and 30s are making their own mark on hijab culture, while propagating it in a way particular to the “selfie generation”: by posting pictures and videos of themselves on various social media sites.

According to the Quran and the Sunnah, teaching and practices by the Prophet Muhammad, Muslim women are told to cover their bodies, and may show only their hands, feet and face. But some younger women have declared that modesty doesn’t require them to be invisible or unfashionable. Social media, and Instagram in particular, give cosmopolitan young Muslim women (highly educated, well versed in global cultural trends and open to Western influences) an opportunity to own a piece of online fashion space, typically reserved for those who expose more skin or wear body-hugging clothes.

In the not so distant past, the hijab had a very different image in the West, one that stoked controversy in countries like France and led to stereotypes of oppressed Muslim women.

Instagram seems to have neutralized, or at least sidelined, that discussion by focusing on the aesthetics of the scarf. While there may still be political debate about the hijab, another parallel conversation sounds more like: “Did you see my hijab selfie? And how should I tie my head scarf?”

The proliferation of glossy, fashionable images on social media sites could be making young women more confident about wearing the hijab. Part of the reason for this is that the Internet has helped young women find more-flattering ways to wear the hijab.

The style tipping point may have been the release last year of the music video “Mipsterz,” shorthand for Muslim Hipsters, mixed to Jay Z’s “Somewhere in America” that featured urban women dressed in head scarves skateboarding, juggling and doing handstands. Their clothes were more evocative of hipster Williamsburg than a mosque. The video instantly went viral and has been viewed more than a half-million times since December.

Excerpt taken from nytimes.com

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