Hey, FEMEN — Topless Women Are Not Liberating Muslim Girls

Topless women at a Muslim conference? This is supposed to be some sort of statement to liberate Muslim women?

Apparently, every “true feminist” knows that liberating Muslim women from the oppression they live in everyday under those radical extremist men is the ultimate feminist victory. I mean, every woman who wears the hijab must be oppressed, right? So before I go ahead and explain how exactly the hijab oppresses me, let me break down what the hijab actually means for all of y’all.

The hijab simply means to veil — to cover oneself — but honestly, it’s SO much more than that. I’ve been a #ProudHijabi for about 10 years now. I somehow seem to always find myself to be the only Muslimah in the social circles I work and roll with. I’m always that “I have a Muslim friend,” friend. Being that friend, I realize I have an incredibly huge responsibility. Most people I interact with have never met one of “us” before, and that means I get one chance to show them the beauty of Islam — To show them that underneath my wildly fabulous cheetah print scarf, there’s a brain with an abundance of educated opinions and viewpoints on just about everything under the sun.

Sure, the hijab forces me to do things, but it’s in different ways than most people would think. The hijab is clearly a visual representation of who I am and because of that, it forces me (in a healthy, positive way) to always strive to become a better Muslimah. To stand up for injustices everywhere I go. To throw on my most fierce hijab and get ready for battle every day, because every word and action that comes out of my mouth symbolizes Islam and possibly the future of Islam. Who knows what path has been laid out for the person I just interacted with? Seriously. They could become the next commander in chief and abolish Islamophobia.

But for real, why is the image of feminism automatically associated with shouting and running around topless and condemning those who choose to dress a little more modestly? Why can you, topless women, wear what you want, but I can’t wear what I want? FEMEN, here’s some advice for you, so get out your sharpies and take notes.

First of all, stop condemning your fellow sisters for wanting to be completely covered.

Secondly, you aren’t saving us and you never will, because you don’t know us.

Thirdly, you seem to love feminism — so you should know that feminism is about respecting, supporting and encouraging your fellow women regardless of your beliefs or how you choose to dress. Feminism is about standing up for your sisters when injustices occur. Feminism is having a sister’s back, period. Feminism is about loving and respecting your gender. It’s not about this judgmental, condemning bullshit.

I am a feminist because I am a woman, a Muslim woman for that matter, and I’d be crazy not to love my gender. But don’t for a second confuse that with me trying to be equal to men. I ain’t over here trying to be equal to a man, I’m over here busting my hijab to be signing that man’s paycheck.

FEMEN, your ignorant views just make you look massively uneducated. Every time you claim you are freeing us from oppression, take it from a feminist Muslim woman: If the hijab oppressed me in the way you claim it does, why the hell would I wear it? I refused to even wear my gym clothes in high school because I hated being told what to wear. So then why would I allow someone else to dictate what I wear now? The only thing the hijab forces me to confront is the fact that I need to fill my brain and have the utmost emotional intelligence, because I am a constant representation of Islam. And that’s because of organizations like yours that want to falsely paint the narrative of what a Muslim woman represents. FEMEN, showing up naked at conferences doesn’t do a thing for us Muslim women and if you actually do, according to your beliefs, want to save us from oppression, save us from the Islamophobia we are constantly oppressed with — The Islamophobia that you perpetrate.

I am a feminist because I am a Muslim. #FemenIsntFeminism

Written by Sabha Abour

Image from the Independent