Two days ago, MAC released a video titled “Get Ready For Suhoor,” which promoted a glamorous and shimmery suhoor makeup look. The 31-second video demonstrated a three-step warm golden eye makeup, which admittedly looked quite lovely. It didn’t take some Muslim girls long to tell it like it really is — for some of us, anyway: No one puts makeup on to eat at 4 a.m. in the morning.
However, upon closer examination, it looks like the video was created to target the Middle East — it was posted on MAC Middle East’s YouTube channel and Facebook page — where glitzy suhoor parties are apparently more common that many of us here in the Western hemisphere had expected.
Suhoor, sometimes referred to as sehri, is the meal Muslims eat at dawn to prepare for their long day of fasting which ends at dusk. In my part of the world, it goes without saying that after jolting out of bed in the middle of the night for a week, the meal loses some of its charm. Soon enough, suhoor becomes quite a monotonous routine, which includes but is not limited to: Waking up with bedhead, and/or occasionally rushing out of bed to eat something literally five minutes before the call to prayer, and/or frequently arguing with your siblings over who ate the last samosa while your cat watches curiously.
Personally, the most effort I’ve ever put into suhoor is walking to a nearby 24-hour Tim Horton’s (and even that included a messy hijab and arguments with siblings). But now that I’ve found out suhoor parties are a thing elsewhere in the world, I now imagine a suhoor that involves chocolate fountains, soiree dresses, and my siblings not eating my share of samosas. The concept, while foreign, is quite appealing to me.
The video was quick to go viral in the Western hemisphere, and naturally garnered a lot of warranted criticism. After all, a suhoor makeup look is just something we here the US, Canada, and UK probably don’t do. But in hindsight, the video highlights the vast differences between Muslims around the world and reinforced the fact that not all Muslims and Muslim traditions are the same.
The truth doesn’t seem to have spread as quickly as the skewed version of the story. The video was also posted to the official MAC facebook page (but linked to the MAC Middle East YouTube channel) which probably helped to stir the misunderstanding.
Some have argued that a more fitting makeup look would have been a general Ramadan look at the beginning of the month, or an Eid look to prepare for the end of the month celebrations; something that all Muslims can relate to and enjoy.
Whether you like to glam up and eat your suhoor in style, or stuff your face with Cheerios while you’re comfortably clad in your PJs, Muslim women should ultimately be the ones deciding how it’s going down for suhoor. That’s one thing we can all agree on.