Are you hot in that?
This is oftentimes the first question hijabi women hear. Many individuals may contest that this is a “genuine concern” or a “question of curiosity,” In reality, this is simply a micro-aggression. This question implies that a hijabi woman’s clothing choice is ridiculous, as if she is dressed inappropriately for the weather or occasion. Asking a woman if she is uncomfortable in whatever clothing she chooses to wear is degrading and unnecessarily judgemental.
Were you forced to wear that?
Wearing the hijab is an extremely personal decision. Many women decide at a certain point in their lives to wear a hijab. Others choose not to. It is important not to overlook the fact that many women face enormous pressure from family or society to wear one, and some women have no choice but to wear one. However, the majority of women, especially in the United States, choose to wear a hijab. These women find it an empowering act and a symbol of their faith to God. Assuming that a man or oppressive belief is the reason behind her clothing is extremely sexist and problematic- doing so only erases the empowerment many women find in the hijab.
But my other Muslim friend doesn’t wear a hijab?
Not every Muslim woman wears the hijab, and the hijab does not make a woman Muslim. Some Muslim women decide to wear a headscarf to fulfill the Islamic mandates of modest dress. Other women choose to fulfill this mandate without the headscarf. And some choose not to follow the mandate at all. Do not compare women with each other. This includes other Muslim women you may know who don’t wear the hijab at all or wear the hijab in a slightly different fashion. Each woman practices their faith in different ways.
Can I see your hair?
Typically, Muslim women will only show their hair to individuals whom they cannot marry. This typically includes women and some men in the family. If you are a man, do not ask. Respect women’s privacy. If you are a stranger who happens to be a woman, do not ask. A hijabi woman’s hair is not a spectacle to gaze at.
Are you Middle Eastern?
Many Muslims reside in the Middle East (also known as the South-West Asian region). However, not all Muslims come from this region. It is incorrect to assume that all Muslims originate from a certain region of the world. Islam is a religion that spans a wide array of regions around the world. Christians, Jews, and other religions also live in the Middle East. Being Muslim does not make someone Middle Eastern and vice versa, being Middle Eastern does not make someone Muslim.
Do you shower with that on?
Sometimes, hijabi women will get the most ridiculous questions. “Do you shower with that on?” “Are you bald underneath?” “Is your hair just really messy?” Be conscious about making ignorant statements and do research about the hijab before making incorrect assumptions or uneducated assertions. Remember that women are not educational tools either and are under no obligation to teach others about their faith or their personal choices.