Every so often, Western feminists are struck with the need to “liberate” Muslim women from our religion and hijab. FEMEN is a Ukrainian feminist group that recently launched an “International Topless Jihad Day,” a series of demonstrations throughout Europe, in protest of Islam’s “oppression” of women.
First, why is there a prevalent belief that women can only garner attention by displaying their bodies? Why is nudity considered the only form of valid self-expression and freedom?
Second, why is it that white women who certainly aren’t Muslim and have no inkling of our struggles and morals, are actively speaking on behalf of Muslim women without their participation and input?
Third, why is it that when Muslim women react with anger and denounce this movement, their voices are discounted by the very group that seeks to “free” them?
FEMEN leader Inna Shevchenko told Huffington Post UK that “through all history of humanity, all slaves deny that they are slaves. They say they are against FEMEN, but we still say we are here for them. They write on their posters that they don’t need liberation but in their eyes it’s written ‘help me.'”
This flawed, offensive logic strips the legitimacy from Muslim women, their choice of lifestyle, and their voices.
Muslim women are not weak, they are not oppressed, they do not need saving, they do not need nudity or mouth pieces in the form of Western feminists and imperialists, and they do not need to be legitimized through a movement that devalues and denigrates the core values of Islam. We find peace in our choice of dress. We seek to please our Creator. We do not cater to societal norms for the sake of ascribing to what others deem “liberated.”
Muslim women, in a move to counteract “International Topless Jihad Day,” launched Muslim Women Against Femen to reclaim their voice. They uploaded pictures of themselves denouncing FEMEN’s message on social networking sites like Tumblr, Facebook, and Twitter, and tagged the project #MuslimahPride.
“Nudity does not liberate me and I do not need saving.”
“Femen I am a strong Muslim woman, do I look like I need imperialists to free me from oppression?”
“I’m a Muslim feminist… FEMEN does not speak for Muslims or feminists.”
“We have a brain. We don’t need your advice, FEMEN. #MuslimahPride”
“I am a PROUD Muslimah
I don’t need “LIBERATING”
I don’t appreciate being used to reinforce WESTERN IMPERIALISM
You do not REPRESENT ME! #MuslimahPride”
Nudity DOES NOT liberate me and I DO NOT need saving #MuslimahPride #FEMEN”
Rest assured: our unified voices will rise in harmony against anyone who tries to stamp them out.