I recently took a quiz to find out which values of life are important for me to pass on to my child and how those values line up with the values of different countries. At the end of the quiz, I found out that my parenting values most closely resemble those of parents in Sweden. I was given a set of 11 values to place in order of importance to me. At the top of my list was Tolerance. This was not on the top of the list for Sweden. However, it was at the top of the list of the United States values, which I otherwise didn’t mesh with.
Though tolerance may be at the top of the list for the American parents who helped create this list of values, America does not feel like a very tolerant country to many people. Many people feel afraid because they are perceived as different than the supposed status quo. I do not blame these people for feeling afraid. The news is filled with horrible stories of people being killed in cold blood, not because they have done anything wrong, but because they happened to be near someone who was intolerant of their difference.
Last week my friend gave me a wonderful opportunity to discuss intolerance, sexism, and Islamophobia with my child, when she, a Muslim, invited me to take part in a new movement called my hijab day (#myhijabday). The idea behind this movement is for women of all colors, faiths, ages, and nationalities to:
stand in solidarity with us! Help us shatter stereotypes about women with hijabs/headscarves. We believe women should be free to wear ANYTHING they want without the fear of being judged, ridiculed, attacked, or murdered by others. Here, we would like to break the cycle of oppression by spreading tolerance and understanding. And we need YOUR help to do this.
We invite you to cover your hair for a day and share your experience (and your photo too, if you like) with us. Please use the hashtag #myhijabday to reach more people. Help us spread the message that wearing hijab is NOT a symbol of oppression. On the contrary, it is a symbol of women’s agency over their bodies.
It is a wonderful movement and I support it wholeheartedly. As soon as my friend invited me to take part and wear a head scarf for a day, I immediately went online and ordered a proper one. It didn’t arrive until late on Saturday and so I chose Sunday (yesterday) as the day when I would wear it.
I didn’t have it in my room when I woke up and so I put on another scarf on my head until I could get it. When my son first saw me, we talked about why I had covered my hair on this day. We had discussed before that I would be doing this but I didn’t tell him when. He quickly got used to seeing me with my hair covered and decided to write about it himself on his own (private) blog. I consider this an extremely positive thing to already come out of my taking part.
My plan was to go out for a run but we got a late-season snow squall and so that idea was squashed. Instead, I spent the day quietly, as I do most days, until a friend visited mid-day. She brought her dog over to play with our dog. I explained why I was wearing the hair covering and she became very excited about the idea of borrowing the hijab I had purchased and using it within her preschool classrooms at some point.
By the end of the day, I felt like I might let my friend down by not having anything more to report than me going through my daily life with my hair covered, but then I realized that is the point. There does not have to be something dramatic about wearing a hajib. You may wear it because it is a part of your faith that you choose to adhere to, or you may choose to wear it because you like the way it looks and feels. You may choose to wear it because you are proving a point of some kind. Or you may choose to wear a head scarf for fashion. No matter what the reason, it is really no one’s choice but your own for why you wear it and when you wear it.
My friend chooses to wear her hajib and I support her in the choice.
I believe in that choice and when February 1, 2016 comes around and it is once again World Hijab Day, I will make the choice again myself.
Until then, I thank my friend for enlightening me and my small corner of the world.