No, I don’t need to wear a hijab to be a good person
Growing up in the New Order era in the late 90’s, my parents taught their 3 daughters to dress and behave politely. But although they were conservative parents, they upheld the value of pluralism. Until 9/11 happened.
Over time one by one the women in my family started to wear a hijab, including my aunts and my cousins, leaving me as the only one whose hair is not covered. They grew more religious, and they wanted me to wear a hijab and be a religious person as well. Little do they know, that I am a libertarian and an agnostic.
It all started when I was leaving for college. My sister told me to wear hijab. She wrote on my Facebook wall about how it is obligatory to use a hijab and how I would burn in hell if I don't wear it. She left comments and say mean things to me in public, and sometimes even replied to my friends' comments and started hostile arguments. She was embarrassing and annoying, so I removed her from my Facebook friends list.
She was never like that before. She used to be like me until she broke up with her long-term boyfriend and became super religious.
Her religious belief is somehow a little different from my family's, and it caused some arguments and made my parents concerned. One time, I had a big fight with her when she found out I drank beer. She was furious and told me that I should taubat (repent).
I wasn’t drunk and it was a sip of beer, so I didn’t apologize at all. But from that moment on, she knew I couldn’t be changed. I had made up my mind and I knew who I wanted to be.
Why the pressure?
Sometimes I don’t understand what bothers my family the most about me: is it me not wearing a hijab or is it my point of view? Why is it so important to wear a hijab?
They told me I would be more beautiful if I wore one, but I don’t believe that. I believe that every woman is beautiful with or without it. I see the hijab as just another trend. Hijab doesn’t measure how well someone behaves or even how devoted she is to God.
A hijab is a hijab – it’s a scarf to cover your hair. It doesn’t determine anything. And my problem is not the hijab itself. It’s the people, especially the women who pressure other women to wear a hijab.
The saddest reason for wearing a hijab I’ve ever heard was from by co-workers during our conversation about rape and sexual harassment issues. They said if the rape victim wore a hijab and covered her body properly, she would have never been raped.
The victim was a woman who was on her way home from work – how do you think she dressed? Rape and sexual harassment can happen to anyone and it’s not a matter of how well you cover your body. It’s the perpetrators’ sick mind that is the problem.
Gender issue is not only about equality between men and women, but also among women. We women should support the freedom for full authority of our bodies, defending other women who are being oppressed, instead of blaming or judging those who dress differently than us.
I’ve seen hijabed women who smoke, who drink beer, who talk with profanity, and, no, I don’t think they are bad for doing that.
As for my family, over time they grew tired of trying to change me. Finally, they have come to understand that I am already a good person, who does good things, even without a hijab. – Rappler.com
This article was first published on Magdalene. File photo from EPA.
Mardiana Widia Ningrum is a true INFJ who is concerned about the world. She loves to spend time watching movies and devoting her life to finding the secrets of the universe.