Sunday 25 August 2019 \

 

My Hijab, My Identity, My Freedom

By Khalida Jamilah |Source: MyHighschoolJournalism.org

Female teenagers tend to define themselves by physical appearance like fashion, hairstyle, favorite music, or the most up-to-date gadget like iPad. Popular culture celebrities, especially those who come from Hollywood or appear in their favorite Disney channel become an idol for most of American teenagers.

A question arise: How do female teenagers define their identity without relying too much in physical appearance? To answer this question we must analyze the role of commercial or fashion brands that influence daily life of teenagers. Many girls in middle-school and high-school admire their role model from young celebrity, whether it is because their good-looking, trendy fashion-style, cute hairstyle, or live in perfect, glamorous world with limousine and party, without having to do much homework or pursuing a high education, those celebrity still successful. Some teens believe that whatever their lifestyle or identity they present it is their freedom in life. Is it really?

So, without relying too much in physical appearance or be a follower of celebrity, what is another way to define our identity? One way is through the role of religion. I am a Muslim and Muslim is a term to define the follower of one of the major of religion, called Islam. Islam is a monotheistic faith which emphasize in the teaching of oneness of God. Islam shares similar teachings with Judaism and Christianity and known as the three great monotheistic faiths of the world. The messenger that brought Islamic teaching is an Arab, a humble man named Prophet Muhammad. Through him, Allah revealed the Qur’an— a holy book that contain universal teaching and a moral guidance for both Muslim and mankind.

Some teens might believe that following religious teaching hinder them from having ‘cool’ identity and I leave that as a personal perspective. However, as a female Muslim, there is a specific commandment stated in the Holy Qur’an that women must cover their hair and full body, except hands and foot. Some Muslim sect interpret that face also must be covered and it is true; but, if a female Muslim choose not to cover their face it is also acceptable. This concept called hijab; an Arabic word refers to barrier or partition. In Islam it refers to the principle of modesty both behavior and dress for men and women (BBC).

Usually most of young Muslim girls wears headscarf, knee-length and long sleeve shirt as application for hijab. Not only serve as protection for women’s beauty, hijab also has philosophical value for their honor and dignity, thus reflect women’s identity based on inner beauty. According to Forever Families website, sponsored by School of Family Life at Brigham Young University, “when a girl focuses too much on her physical appearance, she places her self-esteem, emotional and physical health, academic achievement, and sexual safety on the chopping.” With hijab a girl will not focus on her physical appearance because she covers her hair and her body. Hijab prevents her from sexual trend; therefore, self-esteem, emotional and physical health, academic achievement and sexual safety will become a priority.

Furthermore, Sara Javed, a 12th grade Leuzinger’s student emphasized the benefits of wearing hijab that, “Hijab is like shield to me in that way and people around me approach me based on how my personality or character is. I won’t say I am the prettiest girl in this school, but if I would let my hair out and wear clothes which would expose my body, I bet I would attract people, so hijab protects me from that.”

With the rise of popular culture that shaped teenage girls to be cool , most of female adolescents become the ‘midriff’, a highly- sexualized and world-weary sophisticate that increasingly populates television, as reported in PBS documentary titled “The Merchants of Cool.” As a result, one of the most popular clothing store for pre-teens and teens like Abercrombie and Fitch attract them with an ad where naked young woman in the arms of a naked young man (Forever Families). Is an advertisement like this what today’s teen admire or are they buying into sexy to create a mass identity where thousands of teens wear miniskirts and tank tops that reveal their private part of body ? Is looking hot a freedom of identity or is it a clothing and media companies’ strategy to gain as much as dollars from teens and makes them a slaves under physical appearance?

The answer to the question above depends on personal view in defining a real identity and a true freedom. For Muslim teenagers like me and Sara, hijab is real identity and a true freedom which also shaped a humble and modest lifestyle that prevent us from a world of hedonism.

 

 

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