Three years ago, I stood in my backyard clad in a black Abaya, black trench coat, and black Hijab with a pair of aviators while my friend took a few shots with my camera, which would eventually give birth to the Badass Muslim Girl™ meme. I posted the picture of myself on my Facebook. Soon, a friend approached me commenting on how cool it would be if this became a meme. He then, jokingly, made one small post about it, and it came to have a life of its own. People began to add captions, describing this picture as the symbol of Badass Muslim Girls; they would detail situations faced by many Muslim women, and write about what this girl would do in response. My meme began popping up on many Islam-related forums. Facebook pages and Muslims began posting it. But, I started to think: What makes a badass Muslim girl?
Badass is a term used when describing a person who totally owns who they are; they are uninhibited in who they are and doesn’t let what other people think affect their own actions/decisions. This is, I believe, part of what a Muslim should be, especially Muslim women who are often represented as oppressed, infantile, and submissive individuals. This meme aims to disprove this notion that we are helpless and are in need of liberating by challenging the western perception of the Muslim woman. But what values and qualities make a Muslim woman badass?
1. Humbly confident | When living in a society that represents Islam so negatively, it is important to remain true to who you are, most importantly, being confident in being a Muslim. It may be hard in some communities, but always stays true to the faith. Also, while being confident is a good thing, remind yourself the position you are in front of God. Be humble, kind, even confident, but not condescending.
2. Promotes Equality | One should strive to put equality back into the faith and society where years of cultural and patriarchal ideas have stunted certain individuals and groups of people. A person who exhibits this trait does not stand for sexism, regardless if it comes from within the community or outside. But, this does not stop at sexism; one should also be a person who combats racism, Islamophobia, religious oppression, and promotes social justice. Islam and Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) have always promoted human rights, especially those of women and the poor. This is an essential part of being a Muslim, especially a badass one!
3. Accepting | Badasses are not only confident in who they are, but are also open-minded and accept many of the differences between themselves and others around them. Always respect the choices people make, even if you don’t always agree with them; make sure to treat others the way you wish to be treated. For example, we should try very hard to refrain ourselves from looking down on others, especially between other Muslims.
4. Role Model | Educating others is apart of being a Badass Muslim, whether it is about Islam or anything else. We must be role models for our community. It is a part of our responsibility to fix misconceptions and bigotry about Islam as well as other social issues. Your motive should be to help people understand, and to help eliminate the issue that arises from the misinformation in a kind and respectful matter, no matter how they approach you. Remember, most of the time if someone is asking you to tell them, then that means that they see you as knowledgeable and they want to know. See it as a compliment! You’re the closest resource for them to clear up any misconceptions they may have. Being an activist or a good Muslim should not be driven by the intention to seem superior to someone. Especially if you’re aiming for equality!
When you think about the qualities and values that a Badass Muslim Girl™ should possesses, you will come to notice that this is simply what every Muslim should be! Being confident, independent, resilient, intelligent and having a passion about their religion!
All images belong to Ainee Fatima. Please credit if used.