I just recently caught up with some controversy on a post that Star at Patheos did on Veiled Pagans and so I feel a need to preface this before I continue. I understand that the controversy was based on how Star obtained her info and I know that she has since publicly apologized. I am not going to comment on the validity of her apology or whether or not she was in the wrong. I am going to say that I am very glad it all went down.
Many years ago, when I was in college, I had done a project on Islam. I was fortunate enough to have a connection to a man at the local mosque whom helped me with this project. In advance I knew I was going to have to cover my head so I did some research and practiced a few techniques ahead of time. I knew that covering the head was oppressive and awful for women but I was going to do it anyway out of respect.
What I didn’t know was that I was going to fall in love with it. I was shocked because after all, this was oppressive to have to cover. Instead I was enlightened by the whole thing. I didn’t stick with it though out of fear that when people would see me wearing a hijab they would freak out. Oh silly, silly me!
It’s been a few years but every once in awhile I would get the urge to watch YouTube videos of women wrapping their heads in beautiful scarves. All the while that “oppressive” urge would stir deep within to follow suit. But I would sigh and turn them off and put it out of my mind. Over the last two weeks this cycle started, except I haven’t put it out of my mind yet. Instead I found the article in one of my google searches and read over it. I was intrigued and found myself nodding my head in agreement with some of the sentiment these women expressed in the article. I discovered Tichel and became intrigued with this style. Surely the people in my area wouldn’t freak out over this! No, it looked less Islamic but still beautiful.
Then a friend experimented with hijab and tichel styled wrappings and even allowed me to see her veiled. Stunning! And I was a bit jealous. Because of the short nature of my hair, she helped me find a video on wrapping short hair. The urge became too great and this evening, I picked up some bobby pins and a scarf at the store for playing around with. My middle daughter was intrigued so I picked up her one as well in her favorite color.
It will take some practice to get it better in the future, but for now I am pleased. I am so comfortable that I pretty much forget the hair is covered. The middle daughter loves it but has expressed she won’t always wear hers this way and that is perfectly fine by me. See, we forget that in order for something to be oppressive, it has to be something forced. She wants to control her appearances and I will fully support that (within reason!). As for me, for now I am okay with wearing it at home, weekends, and on the day of public ritual. If I feel the need to wear it outside of that then I will. I have some concerns with work just because of the initial shock of suddenly having your head covered. I would prefer to ease people into it and be able to express that this is very much MY choice and not because the patriarch has made me feel unsafe or that I must cover. This isn’t about modesty as I enjoy wearing tank tops in the summer and live to run around without shoes on. This is something different and I will expand on that in the future. For now, I am enjoying myself.