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A Stray Thought About Headscarves

One of the most contentious issues regarding women's rights in my country I have often mulled about over the years is the choice to wear either a headscarf (hijab) or a veil (niqab). It has taken me a great many years to realize that what this boils down to is a matter of choice. Whether a woman decides she should cover her hair or not should be her choice alone to make and her right under the law to have. Any ruling that deprives her of her right to choose the clothes she wants to wear is prejudiced against her, and should be acknowledged and combatted as a basic infringement of her rights as an individual. This is true whether that ruling decides she should or should not wear a headscarf.

I have chosen not to cover my hair, or my face. A culmination of the values I was raised with, and the values I developed for myself as an individual, has shown me that the mode of dress I employ is the one best suited to my needs. I have come to deeply respect the choices female religious revivalists and nationalists have made to wear a headscarf as a means of demonstrating their values, whether they are doing that to assert themselves as Muslims, or in some cases, to defy conventional fashion requirements they may find offensive to their self-worth.

Personally, I think that regardless of what we choose to wear, the human mind will always manage to be its own peculiar tool of our sexuality. It will continuously seek to evaluate our peers as potential mates regardless of what we do. If women were to cover themselves from their heads to their ankles, their ankles would be a point of sexual arousal for onlookers. If they were to cover their ankles, the human mind would still find some pleasing shape to linger over. The same goes for men. If the men were to cover their crotches, onlookers might be attracted to their legs. If they were to cover their legs, we might be attracted to their chests or their arms, or their hands. I rather like a good set of hands, myself. If, upon reading this, the men who know me take it upon themselves to wear gloves, I will find that quaint. I am, after all, a rational person. Just as they are.

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