The truth is my generation onwards doesn’t know what to do. Can we be blamed? I don’t expect you to understand but it is just so damn hard. It is a constant fight in our heads.
On the one hand, we see girls on TV that wear tiny skirts and tight tops, and honestly they look gorgeous. Magazines tell us we should look like that, wear that and be that or otherwise we are lame and old fashioned. Honestly, we don’t want to be lame and old fashioned. We want to look and feel beautiful. We want to be admired. We want to attract. We want to catch the eye. We want people to stare. We want the hot guy to notice us. And yes, we want to look sexy. It doesn’t make it easier that there is a voice in our head that pushes us to have some fun, thrill and excitement; it’s in our nature after all.
On the other hand, there is religion and reason. In Islam, girls should be wearing long loose decent clothes. The face and hands don’t need to be covered. The “Abaya” is an Arab tradition, not an Islamic uniform for women, and the colour black is not a rule.
As for us, we understand what our religion wants to protect us from, we understand what our families want to protect us from, and we understand the reason behind all those preaches.
I know it sounds so cheesy, boring and old fashioned. Even though I take the risk of sounding like your mother who annoys you as hell whenever she says “your body is a gift, you are precious, blah blah blah”, in the end it is true.
Frankly, why would I want people to like me for how I look, it’s going away anyway. If I want to attract that hot guy, I don’t think it is a good idea to rely on looks. If I end up married to the poor lad who thinks I’m kate Moss and gets to see me when I wake up in the morning as myself with no makeup, I might risk killing him with a heart attack. Plus, cookies, cake and ice-cream are very tasty and tempting, so that fit figure will go down the drain too and if food doesn’t affect, babies and age will finish the job. Why care what people think? Life is tiring enough already, study, work, and relationships. If I had to care what people think I will be tense and stressed all the time. I want people to like me for who I really am. It makes it easy and relaxing because I don’t have to act. I know I’m sounding like a 60 year old talking but this is because media has done the job, they brain washed us so well, we are immune to all this talk. We are programmed to think it is retarded.
The result of all this jumble of ideas and emotions has resulted in a double standard lifestyle. Wrong and right are tricky to identify. Excuses are made for the wrongs to be validated and forced on society to be accepted.
Let me draw you a picture of Bahraini society. The malls are our catwalks, our New York fashion week, our Paris fashion week and we all are models. People go to malls to see and be seen by people. “Abaya”, skirts, jeans, “Hijab”, tank-tops, etc. Everything is available, from strictly religious to girls out of fashion magazines.
Some girls wear really tight clothes, which can be better called a second skin and a “Hijab”. This is how people want to force match the modern fashion with religion, even though they are incompatible, mostly. The clothes might cover the skin but the curves are flatteringly presented. What to do? We want to look like the actresses on TV and the models in magazines but still somehow remain connected to our religion.
Showing skin is not unusual either. Whatever you wear makes you that sort of girl. That is the harsh truth. Girls and clothing in Bahrain is a very hot topic. Oh and the makeup, if that 5cm layer is off you will never recognize the person. And recently the favourite colour for clothes was bright yellow. It is all big show.
As for us Muslims, the “Hijab” is another aspect in clothing. I will be perfectly honest. I will say what a lot of girls that wear the “Hijab” think but never allow their selves to say, because it sounds as if they doubt their selves and their religion. I know that I look without the “Hijab” a lot better than with it. I feel much prettier without the “Hijab”. It doesn’t make it any easier when the media displays us as puppets that are oppressed. Every time I hear it, it’s like a slap in the face. Every time I get that look, it’s like a stab in the heart. It hurts. It hurts very much.
That being said, I have another thing to say: no I don’t doubt the “Hijab”, it’s a part of me. When girls take off their “Hijab” there is a transformation; there is a wow effect that you get to see in movies when the leading female star shines in a beautiful dress. As non-Muslim you can’t understand because you grew up seeing people showing off what they have, it’s normal. It’s not normal for us. Hundreds of years ago, women even in Europe or America had to dress decent. In the early days of Christianity women covered their heads too because Virgin Mary did. Nuns cover their heads to this day and I never heard that someone said they are oppressed. We are just like them, we choose to live a certain way. Over the years, people took off a little more and then even more. Today there are nude beaches. As funny as it might sound, as a Muslim I’m not slightly surprised to see both men and woman with very little clothing. It even got normal. Mind you, it is only normal if that person is not Arab or Muslim. I’m not trying to say that people are bad because they choose to wear more, less, this or that.
We Muslims stick to our religion and traditions closely because if we let these foundations slip, every new scandal becomes a trend and then it just blends in and become normal. Where will we end up then?