9 stupid generalizations about women who don’t wear hijab

Published: October 27, 2011
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Look at her in those jeans! Haaawww - She has probably had lots of affairs.

We are a polarized society, and we are not just one set of poles. We’ve got a whole bunch of diversity that ranges from language to religious denominations and ethnicities. The kind of social exclusion that stems from this is nothing short of frightening. You would  think, wouldn’t you, that a diverse society like this would exhibit more tolerance?

But surprise, surprise.

On the one hand we’ve got people rallying and brandishing roses for Mumtaz Qadri, while on the other, we have those holding vigils for Salman Taseer and Steve Jobs. We’ve got one bunch that celebrates Valentine’s Day and one bunch that thinks polio vaccines makes the men of tomorrow infertile.

But the worst are tales of intolerance.

Pakistanis can’t tolerate America, or jihadis (anyone sporting a beard or an abaya), or ‘liberal fascists’ (a new term that’s been floating around to insult anyone who doesn’t understand Mumtaz Qadri’s reasons for killing a sitting governor).

After reading a blog that spoke about how people misconceive women wearing hijab, I realized that we’re just not a very tolerant society for anyone, really. For a society that claims its banner to be the ‘religion of peace’ and for liberals who claim to believe in ‘freedom for all’ we can’t tolerate either.

I’m not a hijabi, in fact,  I’m not religious at all. However, I don’t judge hijabis. I don’t think they’re idiots just because they believe in a God. I don’t think there should be death to anyone who thinks or dresses differently from me.

But please note: the courtesy that this hijabi blogger has asked to be extended to many like her is the same courtesy that is demanded by the many, many women who do not choose hijab as a way of life.

This brings me to nine stupid generalizations about women who don’t wear a hijab.

1. Look at her in those jeans!

Haaawww – She has probably had lots of affairs. In fact, she must be the mistress of Mr XYZ  who we saw at Park Towers, getting in to the car with a woman who was wearing similar looking behooda (shameful) clothes.

So, a woman who wears skinny jeans reminds you of Paris Hilton’s notorious tapes? That actually says more about you than it says about the woman who is wearing these clothes. Believe it or not, not all women, who wear ‘revealing’ clothes are in the sex-trade business.

2. She must enjoy all the stares she gets from these men around her.

Ignoring lewd stares and dealing with men being morons isn’t a novel concept and has little to do with wearing a pair of nice looking pants, and more to do with being a woman. And that little staring problem that men have? Believe me, they are staring at you too, wondering what you look like under all those layers. We are all subject to it, hijab or not.

3. What she’s wearing is crazy! How does she possibly fit into something so tight?

Uh. Telepathy?

4. She’s probably a bimbo just like Paris Hilton.

Seriously, you need to get over Paris Hilton. You assume I am stupid just because I wear jeans? I too, just like you have a brain and the capability to think.

5. She must be one of those rebellious daughters. Or maybe her parents don’t care what she wears and how men look at her. Maybe they don’t know what the word ‘ghairat’ means.

She’s a loved daughter and her parents aren’t insecure at all about what she wears, because they trust their daughter. And, no, she doesn’t do drugs

6.  Bet she has oodles of money.

She shops at Zainab Market. And Sunday Bazaar.

7.  She just hasn’t seen the truth and ‘the light’.

Maybe she doesn’t believe in your version of truth or light or straight path. Maybe she thinks differently – ever thought of that? Everyone who doesn’t think like you isn’t necessarily wrong, much as you would like to believe.

8. Oh just another spoilt brat who doesn’t know anything about Pakistan.

Seriously? Just because she wears jeans? That means she’s never picked up a newspaper in her life or gone to a charity/welfare center to volunteer and has no notion of her own history or culture?

9. We should try and convert her. Lets sit her down and show her the truth.

Oh please! I beg of you, anything but this. Why can’t you live and let live? Pray for her, if you want to. But stay outta her way sista – she bites.

Mahwash.Badar.

Mahwash Badar

The author is a clinical psychologist, a mum to two boys and permanently in a state of flux. She tweets @mahwashajaz_ (twitter.com/mahwashajaz_)

The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of The Express Tribune.