Hijabis (Muslim women who wear the headscarf, or “hijab“) living in non-Muslim countries typically spend their days being stared at, pointed at, and at times, even glared at. It’s all part of the “experience.” The greatest part, though, is being asked really stupid questions (yes, there are stupid questions, despite what you may have heard). I would like to take a moment to share some of the true “gems” that we get to hear.
Question #1: Aren’t you hot in that?
What the hijabi says: “No.”
What the hijabi thinks: “Of course I am hot!! Aren’t you hot in that?? Why does everyone have to assume that I must somehow be more hot than everyone else?? It’s so terribly hot that it really doesn’t matter what you are wearing!”
Question #2: Do you wear that when you sleep?
What the hijabi says: “No.”
What the hijabi thinks: “Hmm… Let’s see. Do you sleep in your shoes? Or in your cashier’s apron? No? Then why do you think that I sleep in this??”
Question #3: Do you wear that in the shower? (this is really similar to the last question, and is sometimes asked in tandem.)
What the hijabi says, “No.”
What the hijabi thinks, “Oh yeah, this thing makes an excellent shower cap! You should try it sometime! By the way, I also shower while wearing all of my clothes!”
Question #4: Can you hear me with that on?
What the hijabi says: “Yes.”
What the hijabi thinks: “I didn’t respond because I was either ignoring you, or jamming to my iPod. Do you mind??
The hijabi gets to hear these questions, and many more. Some of the questions will be about ethnicity (“Are you Arab,” “Where are you from,” Where are your parents from,” and so on). Others will be attempts to challenge why we wear hijab, but those are more offensive than stupid, which is why I did not include them (plus, it’s after 2am, and I really should be in bed!). At times, she comes so close to actually saying what’s on her mind, but she doesn’t, because she knows that the meaning would be lost completely. She sighs, and continues her business, wondering how much time will pass before someone else asks another stupid question. One day, maybe, she will just. Go. Off. On. Them.
**Disclaimer: Okay, okay, so not all of us feel irritated by such questions, and even those of us who do feel irritated, do not always feel this way. I have dealt with stupid questions for a decade now, and at times, they really don’t get to me at all. I even decide to have a bit of fun with the questions, and give answers that are a little bit quirky. Or, delay in giving the answer that they are looking for (especially in regards to my ethnicity and/or country of origin, because that one just realllllly peeeeeeeves me).
I certainly do not wish to “discourage” people from attempting to learn about Islam, Muslims, and why Muslim women wear headscarves. But at the same time, I would just like to let people know that sometimes it’s okay to use your brain and think about it before opening your mouth. Really.
Thanks go to Erin Staley, for reminding me that I have not mentioned the aspect of stupid questions. heh heh heh