I'm a regular teenager who loves everything that has to do with fashion. I don't fancy covering my head like Muslim women are supposed to either and I consider myself someone with a neutral view of things. But the recent hoopla on in social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter over Muslim women being oppressed and suppressed under the burqa is something that I strongly disagree with. I can't help saying that the media, along with certain sections of society, are exaggerating things as usual.
It is simply beyond my logic why people whine and create a lot of commotion over women wearing burqa, but are completely at ease with the so-called “forward” bikini-clad women. Society is okay even with celebrities posing nude for glam magazines but raise an uproar over burqa-clad women. This couldn't get any more disgusting.
The actual question, though, is about the freedom of choice. If a Muslim woman is comfortable with her dressing and is doing no one any harm, then why bother about it? Nobody opposes the lingerie ads and the photos of women in “hot pants” and exposed cleavages printed in magazines and hoardings. Why the double standard? Is this fair in any manner?
Coming to the next misconception. I have been hearing this over and over that Muslim women are being oppressed under the burqa. Yes, there are women being oppressed and subjected to the most inhuman torture and brutality imaginable, especially under the Taliban. But there's a small correction here. Just because a woman is wearing the burqa, it does not necessarily mean she is oppressed. And come to think of it, every Muslim is not a supporter of the Taliban and, on the contrary, many are against them. I live in Calicut, where a majority of the Muslim women I see are under the hijab and some of them I know quite well! But I must say, under the hijab lies the empowered, well-educated, smart, independent women who are also well-versed in English. They go about driving scooters and cars like any other and they are also important decision-makers in the family.
As a girl who sees empowered, happy and smart women in hijab around, it is indeed hard for me to digest the statement that women are being suppressed under the burqa. In fact, most of the women I know have chosen to wear this attire out of their own choice and not out of compulsion. While society and feminists are busy saying how narrow-minded the Muslim society is, I would like them to open up their minds a bit and look around before making a solid statement. Of course, there are exceptions like the unfortunate women I mentioned earlier. But my point is that the hijab doesn't make Muslim women the slightest bit oppressed. It is only a matter of personal choice.