The first advice column was created in 1898 by a woman named Marie Manning. The column was called Dear Beatrice Fairfax, and while it was inspired by letters from women looking for advice, the column did not discriminate. Manning offered advice to women and men, to the young and the old, to the lovelorn, the confused, the misunderstood, and the abused. Her advice ranged from personal to professional, and readers found solace in her words. Marie Manning gave voice to concerns that could not be spoken, questions that could not be uttered — above all, she offered an anonymous, judgement-free forum for people to turn to when they needed help of any kind.
Now, before you say, “what the heck is she talking about?” let me say one thing: When I was younger, I used to think standing next to a boy could get you pregnant. I spent a year enveloped in unending confusion — why wasn’t everyone always pregnant? If I had been able to go to an adult with these questions, I would have saved myself a lot a energy, gotten more A’s in fifth grade, and not fallen into a fountain that one time. But there are a lot of cultural taboos in Muslim families, and it’s not always possible to go to our parents for advice. But without dialog we don’t learn, we harbor misconceptions, and we often end up assuming that we’re pregnant because we stood too close to Ali Iftikhar during P.E.
So today, we are beginning a MuslimGirl advice column, “Dear MuslimGirl.” Questions can be about anything and everything you can think of, as long as they relate to issues affecting you as a Muslim woman (or girl). Faith, Muslim fashion, current issues, lifestyle, entertainment — it all goes.
If you have questions that have been burning holes in your head, send them my way! Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org — and every Wednesday I will do my very best to answer them.
P.S. I did eventually learn that standing next to a boy cannot get you pregnant. But kissing might. So watch out.