You don't have to signal a social conscience by looking like a frump. Lace knickers won't hasten the holocaust, you can ban the bomb in a feather boa just as well as without, and a mild interest in the length of hemlines doesn't necessarily disqualify you from reading Das Kapital and agreeing with every word. --Elizabeth Bibesco

Thursday, April 28, 2011

"Your skirt is way more modest than mine"

So I sat down on the bus the other day on my way home from work in my ankle-length jean skirt, a black jacket and a silver kerchief on. There was a guy sitting across from me, also wearing a skirt. His came to a bit above his knees. Now, I have to say, in rainy icky weather like that, I rarely see women wearing skirts around Ann Arbor, much less men. He looked at me, smiled, and said, "Your skirt is way more modest than mine. Now I'm embarrassed." I was delighted! I responded with something like, "Well, it's all about what you're going for, right?" But I was thrilled. I don't know if he intended it as a compliment or not (I think he did), but I've never had someone say to me before, "Wow, what a modest outfit you have there!" Usually it's: "Aren't you hot in that?" or more politely,  "I like your... hat," while I'm wearing a hijab. I'm not sure why I was so delighted with this, but I was.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Happy Belated Easter, everyone!

So Happy Easter! Sorry this made it up a bit late-- I went to Easter Vigil, then celebrated my Easter by sleeping in and then working at our local Domestic Violence Shelter-- where I wrote this (in the down time), but didn't get a chance to post it until now.

So today was my first day as a "free woman," so to speak. I also stressed out way more about clothes today than I have in at least a week. And don't get me wrong, clothes were stressful all through Lent, but now I have to decide what I want to wear rather than what's clean that I can wear that matches. :) Truth be told, I don't know what I want to wear.
So here's me trying to figure that out...

I know that I don't see pants as immodest or unfeminine. (To prove this last point, take any one of my jeans and put the butchest man you can find in them and he will look very feminine.) I do, however, see pants as a pain in the neck and not nearly as much fun as skirts.

Not many of my skirts are much shorter than 3/4 of the way down my thighs, but a good handfull of them don't cover my knees. I wore one of those today. With leggings. So my knees wouldn't feel totally bare.

The top was way more trouble for me. You see, I have 34DD boobs, which means that shirts that don't show one whit of cleavage on anyone else, show a lot on me. Today, I wanted to wear something that maybe didn't cover my collarbones, but also wouldn't show cleavage. In fact, maybe that's what I want all the time. I'm not sure. Either way, I own 2 shirts that fall into that category-- and both of them were dirty.

So I ended up wearing a shirt that covered my collarbones, but had short sleeves. I also covered my hair.

One of the big things I learned from Lent is this: my basic outfit of jeans and a t-shirt or jeans and a sweater may be comfortable for me, but it doesn't feel like honoring God. Not because of what I reveal or don't reveal necessarily, but because I want to think about God every moment of every day and I'm not. (Now, the odds of me actually achieving this are slim, but hey, a girl can dream.) So in order to achieve that, I'm going to start covering my head. It's not in obedience to Paul's command in 1 Corinthians... because I don't have a husband to show submission to. And also because I think Paul is a crock... a well intentioned crock, but a crock nonetheless. I plan on covering my head so that every time it annoys me, every time I have to fix it, every time I fuss about finding one that matches, I remember that God is always over me. That's the idea anyway. If it doesn't end up working, I may change it.

Another thing I learned from Lent is that there are parts of my body that I think should be between me, my Woman and God. And that's okay. And it's not necessarily parts of my body that I have issues with. Some of them are, but even then, the reasons I was having issues with them were because I expected the whole world to see them and thus, the whole world's opinion mattered. When I narrow it down to my Woman, my God and me, well... my Woman and my God like all of my body-- it's just me who needs to catch up. :)

Funnily enough, I think these areas correspond pretty well with the Mormon rules, which require that the clothes cover Temple garments (the women's are on the right). I think my body from my breasts down to 3/4 of my thigh should be covered, maybe my knees. I'm not so sure about cleavage yet-- simply because I'm unwilling, I think, to throw out all the clothes that show cleavage on me. I do think my shoulders should be covered almost all the time. (I'll make an exception for swimming.) And, although the Mormons never specifically state this, I think when the weather is cold and everyone else is wearing long-sleeves, I should wear long-sleeves most of the time too. To be honest, I don't think this has changed much since the beginning of Lent. I've simply learned that it's okay. I don't have to be okay with showing all of my body to everyone.

What do I think God thinks of this?

Well, as I've said before, I'm pretty sure God would prefer it if we didn't fuss about clothes at all. I shall work on that. In the meantime, I think God's pretty okay with my choices. Do I think God is also okay with what "Anne" wears? Yeah. Do I think God is also okay with what the women at the SlutWalks wear? Yup. I think God wants us to be comfortable in our bodies, to respect our bodies and to treat them as Temples of God, whatever that means to us. I think that can be done in all kinds of clothes.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Outward Acts of Religiosity

I think outward acts of religiosity are tough in Christianity. For one thing, we're supposed to be "not of this world," which makes us stand out whether we want to or not. For another, Jesus said when we fasted not to look like we were fasting and when we prayed not to be pompous about it. On the other hand, we do it. If your Catholic or Episcopalian, think crossing yourself.

I started crossing myself a while back, but I was hesitant about it for all the reasons one could be hesitant about blatant acts of religiosity. Now, though, I do it out of habit. I like it, I'm glad it's become habit, but it's definitely a habit.

Now, I work on a project studying youth suicide prevention. My boss is religious and Episcopalian. The team learned Thursday while I was there that a youth in our community had committed suicide. When I heard it, I crossed myself and prayed (silently) "Let light perpetual shine upon him." My boss saw and thanked me for doing it. She was upset and the sight of that familiar ritual was comforting.

That's why ritual exists, isn't it? So we can fall back on it for comfort? But we generally fall back on our own ritual not other people's, unless it's very visible. Is that why there are acts of religiosity that we do publically? To remind other people of faith that they're not alone? To give them something to fall back on?

Does my covering serve that purpose? I don't know.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Interviews, Part 3


Do you have parts of your body that you feel should always be covered (in public)?

What are they?
Breasts, stomach, bum, upper thighs.

Do you have parts of your body that you feel should never be covered? What are they?
No, although I show clevage most of the time.

Do you have parts of your body that you feel should be covered/uncovered at certain times?
Yes, when I work, for example, I cover from a few inches below my neck to my knees or below my knees. Also, in church, I generally do the same thing.

Besides what you cover/don’t cover, are there other distinctive ways about how you dress? Please elaborate as best you can.
I dress how I feel that morning. I could decide to wear something very hippie-ish (long skirt, flowy top), or I could wear something casual (jeans, and a t-shirt). My style always changes, but I love bright colors and feminine cuts. In the spring and summer, I wear lots of dresses and wrap skirts. In the fall and winter, I wear lots of jeans and long-sleeved shirts, usually in darker colors. I usually wear lacy underthings, because it makes me feel pretty and sexy, even if my boyfriend is the only other person who sees it.

Describe your typical outfit.
I don't necessarily have a typical outfit, but it usually shows cleavage, and is mildly form fitting.

In an ideal world/social norms notwithstanding, would your typical outfit be different? How?
I would most likely be naked all the time, because I love my skin!

Why do you dress the way you do? Please elaborate as best you can.
Comfort, yes, but I do like to make a statement sometimes, mostly I dress how I feel and I dress to make myself happy.

Do you think everyone should dress the way you do? Why or why not?
No, not at all! The beauty of living in the U.S. is that everyone is different, all styles, all colors, it expresses who we are.

How do you think people respond to your manner of dress?
Depends on the person, but I get compliments from all genders. I think it's less about clothes, and more about confidence.

How would you like people to respond to your manner of dress?

The same way they do now.

Anything you’d like to add that I haven’t already asked?
No, I think you covered everything! (sorry, pun was not intended)

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Interviews, Part 2


Do you have parts of your body that you feel should always be covered (in public)?

What are they?
Pretty much from armpits to mid-thigh.

Do you have parts of your body that you feel should never be covered? What are they?
Not really.

Do you have parts of your body that you feel should be covered/uncovered at certain times?
Only in winter (lol). I probably would not wear anything strapless in church, but I don't generally anyway. If I wear a sundress in summer I do usually have a shawl/sweater for the church part of the day (ie if going to a wedding I'll wear the covering in church but remove at reception).

Besides what you cover/don’t cover, are there other distinctive ways about how you dress? Please elaborate as best you can.
I always wear a cross but more for myself than others--a reminder to me of my faith which I will often hold in a moment of prayer. I always wear my wedding and engagement rings (commitment) and only take them off when cooking something I have to knead by hand. I always wear a ring I got in the Badlands when I went on pilgrimage in 2002. In terms of colors I gravitate to what I like (blues, pinks, red). I never wear animal prints or fur.

Describe your typical outfit.
Jean/slacks (no holes, frayed edges, etc).
If casual, T-shirt or long-sleeved shirt (maybe sweater); if professional light sweater, work appropriate shirt (rarely v-necks and if so not deep Vs), handknit socks when possible, birkenstocks almost always. I rarely wear heals unless a formal occasion, but mostly due to foot problems (bunion and Morton's neuroma surgery 5 years ago).

In an ideal world/social norms notwithstanding, would your typical outfit be different? How?
Nope. I dress mostly for comfort.

Why do you dress the way you do? Please elaborate as best you can.

Mostly physical comfort although I have never been comfortable letting breasts/belly/bottom "hang out". Makes me self conscious.

What are the biggest barriers (internal or external) for dressing the way you would like?

What are the biggest blessings about the way you dress?
Easy to launder! I rarely have to iron anything I own. Also my dress is not a distraction for me or others. It lets "me" come through. As a knitter I am also able to wear my art which makes me very proud.

Do you think everyone should dress the way you do? Why or why not?
No way. You should dress in a way you are comfortable. Also, if you religion suggests a standard (such as hijab) I'm fine with that.

How do you think people respond to your manner of dress?

They don't, 'cause I'm a "boring" dresser.

How would you like people to respond to your manner of dress?

Anything you’d like to add that I haven’t already asked?
I was raised by parents who didn't think it was appropriate to let breasts/belly/butt show and still continue that. I do think that women younger that me who dress to the current more exposed fashion standard can sometimes do themselves a disservice and be taken less seriously especially in professional settings.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Lent is Drawing to a Close: Interviews, Part 1

Okay, so Lent is drawing to a close and I'm trying to figure out what I've gotten out of my Lenten discipline and where I will go from here. I feel like much of it has been a study in what parts of my body I am comfortable showing and why I'm not comfortable showing them. For instance, I've been pretty much always uncomfortable in swim suits and while this is due in part, I am sure, to my own body image issues, I think it is also heavily related to modesty. Some of those parts (stomach, upper thighs) are, for me, between me and God and my Woman. I don't want to show them to everyone and their brother. I think this discipline has liberated me in a way. I feel more comfortable covering what I want to cover, whether or not everyone else does.

It also taught me that everyone has parts of them they think should be covered and parts they think should not be covered, so I decided to interview a bunch of friends for their opinions on clothes. I will do a little series on these with whoever wants to contribute. My questions are in Italics. Their answers have only been minorly edited for comprehension and such.


Do you have parts of your body that you feel should always be covered (in public)?
What are they?

Pretty much just the naughty parts, boobs, butts, and genitals.

Do you have parts of your body that you feel should never be covered? What are they?
Pretty much just the face. Although I really don't like wearing gloves.

Do you have parts of your body that you feel should be covered/uncovered at certain times?
Everything that hasn't been covered before! Every other part of your body can be covered or uncovered depending on the situation. For instance, what you wear to the beach is different then what you wear to a business meeting.

Besides what you cover/don’t cover, are there other distinctive ways about how you dress? Please elaborate as best you can.
I pretty much wear anything and everything. I do try and pull comfort into the mix. Because I live in SoCal in the desert, it can get hot. I like to wear light fabrics with bold prints, and especially sun dresses. In the winter it gets pretty cold, so layers are key. I also like to look good and feel sexy so some times I put in some extra effort like wearing jewelry, but that is only once in a while. There really is no telling what I will feel like wearing on a day-to-day basis.

Describe your typical outfit.

I have two typical outfits. One is for the week when I am in school. I wear jeans and a teeshirt, or one of my longer dresses. I like to keep my legs down to my knees covered along with my stomach. I make sure that my bra or underwear are not showing and that I am not being provocative. On the weekends, it's a whole other ball game. I wear my SUPER short skirts and dresses, often bear my midriff, and like to show off cute colored bra straps. Even still, I try not to be too racy. I only show off one provocative area at a time (legs, midriff, shoulders/breasts). My goal is to be sexy, not slutty.

In an ideal world/social norms notwithstanding, would your typical outfit be different? How?
I think my typical outfit would be a lot different, especially in the summer time. It gets so hot here, that oftentimes the last thing that I want to do is wear clothing. I think that I would start wearing bathing suits as clothing, or just go completely nude (which I guess isn't a typical outfit).

Why do you dress the way you do? Please elaborate as best you can.
My clothes basically try and find an intersection between comfort and beauty. I want to look hot/sexy/beautiful, but I also want to be able to move in my clothes and feel comfortable. I like finding flirty clothes that aren't too tight or too short or too restricting. Because of this, I love my sun dresses. They are typically about mid-thigh length which is enough to run around in and sit down in without flashing anything inappropriate, but short enough to show off some leg. And because they are dresses, they have a certain amount of style and beauty associated with them.

Do you think everyone should dress the way you do? Why or why not?
I think that people should try and follow some of my guidelines about what to wear and when. I have seen, several times, girls wearing micro mini skirts to class where everyone can see their underwear (or lack thereof). To me, that is just not appropriate. Don't get me wrong, I love the micro mini and if they looked good on me I would have 12 in my closet, but it is for a more informal setting then the classroom. As far as what people wear, I would hate it if everyone dressed like me. I wouldn't be able to stand out with crazy fashion sense or ridiculous shoes. I like everyone wearing different things and expressing who they are.

How do you think people respond to your manner of dress?

I think they think I'm a little crazy sometimes, but overall I don't think people really think about what I wear. I don't wear anything that is overly offensive or different from the norm at my school.

How would you like people to respond to your manner of dress?
Mostly for them to think I look good.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Mann traoch, Gott läuch.

That, my friends is Yiddish for "Man plans, God laughs," at least as far as google is concerned.

I'm pretty sure God's laughing at my Lenten Discipline.

Here I am, trying really hard to strictly abide by modesty rules and what happens on my pilgrimage to Lourdes? Of course, to get in the baths, everyone strips (in relatively discreet places, I might add). I was naked as the day I was born in front of at least 3 women who I'd never seen before in my life and will never see again. It was such a shock to my system after so much modesty that I was shaking even before I was plunged in the icy water.

However, this experience that was enabled by these moments of total immodesty was an amazing moment for me. I'm not sure I feel "cured." (I don't think I'd know what "cured" felt like, anyway.) However, being in the bath (albeit briefly), felt like walking into a Mass that I didn't know was going on-- this suprisingly wonderful reminder that I am part of something much larger than myself.

Being dunked in the water, I was reminded of my baptism (and every baptism I'd ever seen or heard of), especially Jesus's baptism, I was reminded of all the other people who had been dunked in this water, all the people who wash their hands in it (including St. Bernadette), I was reminded of all the people who bathe in the Ganges, but maybe coolest of all, I was reminded that God gives us these reminders not only in holy places, but every time we encounter water.

Christianity (and many other religions) picked some really basic elements to make holy. Water in baptism. Food and drink in the Eucharist. Oil in the chrism. Sticks, well, branches, in Palm Sunday. Although I'm a thorough believer in transubstantiation, I think Protestants got one thing right in the whole it's-a-symbol concept. It is supposed to be symbolic everytime we pick up a piece of bread anywhere. My pain au chocolat this morning? Symbolically, the body of Christ. A reminder of the Eucharist I will partake in this evening, which is the literal body of Christ.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011


Several years ago, the deacon at my old church gave a sermon that sticks with me now after attending 3 Masses so far here in France. Now, I'm very bad at paying attention to sermons and I'm doing this from memory at least 3 years on, so I may not get it all right.

He was talking, as I recall, about why Episcopalians put so much weight on the Eucharist and not on the Bible (not, at least, as a literal, premade document). He compared two people growing old, one of whom was very Protestant and who's central "icon," if you will, of the faith (by which I mean what represented the faith to them) was the Bible, and the other of whom was Episcopalian and who's central "icon" of the faith was the Eucharist. Both of them were losing their eyesight and, in some ways, their understanding, so the Protestant was struggling with their faith because they were losing their ability to read and comprehend the Bible, which was their tangible connection to the faith. For the Episcopalian, even though they were losing their sight and comprehension, still had the Eucharist to hold on to. They could still experience the Eucharist, even when the Bible was inaccesible to them.

Having attended Mass here in France in 3 different churches and in 2 different languages, I get that. I love the beauty of being able to walk into a Mass and understand what is going on without knowing the language very well. It feels like the most accessible link to God possible-- a way to access God through something we humans have to do all the time anyway-- eat!

In a way, that's kind of what I'm looking for in covering my head-- a way to access God through sometihng I do every day.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Hijabi in France

So in light of my confession yesterday, I ended up going home and wearing the same outfit, but with my hijab over the top. I felt pretty, classy, modest and best of all... cool. (I mean that the air cooled me off, not that Justin Bieber would approve of my clothing choice.)

That feeling of finding the perfect clothes (which I get so rarely these days) evaporated after about 3 blocks. I was wandering around my hotel's quartier (neighborhood), doing some shopping and stopping in cafes. I was minding my own business. No one else was, it seemed.

As I stopped by jewelry stores and book stores run by Jewish men (I am, after all, in the Jewish quartier), I'd get distrusting looks as I stood in the window. The moment I crossed the threshold into their shop, I got outright glares. And followed. I don't know whether they expected me to plant a bomb or steal stuff or what! And this at just about every shop I went into, because, let's face it, why go into anyting besides jewelry and book stores? When I walked into stores that weren't Jewish-run, I got ignored. The shopkeepers would not greet me, although they greeted everyone else that walked in and out. Good thing I didn't want to buy anything because I would have had to jump up and down with money in my hand to get anyone to bat an eyelid at me.

I did get some headnods from women in hijabs, which made me smile, and even a headnod from a woman in a hijab-esq thing, wearing a hodgepodge of modest clothing-- she kinda looked like me actually: indefinably modest.

I wanted to wear a sign that said, "I'm Christian. I'm a feminist. I like my rights. I also like hijab." Or for the Jewish shops, maybe a sign that said, "Do your research. Hijab and tzniut are very similar!" Would that have made it better? I don't know. I felt like everyone was judging me-- and I think they were. It was totally isolating and, frankly, humiliating. I was embarrassed for me and for the French. This was a very touristy-area and there were people who noticed how these French shopkeepers were treating me. It was awkward for everyone involved. It can't have been good for business.

Interestingly, there was one exception to all this. And it made me hella proud. Near the end of my day, I stopped at a gay cafe. The waiter showed up almost the moment I sat down (which never happens in France, hijab or no) and took my order. It took him about 10 minutes to come back with my drink (not long, in France) after which he apologized profusely for being so slow (which he wasn't compared to everything else here). He was sweet, he checked on me frequently and he was prompt about everything. It was such a relief, because the afternoon in my hijab had been so incredibly draining!

Why did this one gay man treat me like a human being? Did I set his gaydar off? Did he recognize me as a fellow oppressed person? Is he just that nice to everyone? Whatever the reason, I hope he continues...

Sunday, April 10, 2011


Ok, so I'm vacationing in France right now... which is awesome, but I had a little incident today.

I went to church this morning. I caught the metro to the American Cathedral in Paris. (Which smells like an Episcopal Church? What is that? There's a smell. Only in high church places, though... Do we all use the same wood polish or something?)

Anyway, caught the metro there in beautiful, appropriate kosher clothing. Loved the service. Decided to walk back. It was a long walk, but I thought I'd manage. Fail. I ended up walking the wrong direction. Which I only realized when I was practically directly under the Eiffel Tower. So I walked back to the American Cathedral and by that point I was so hungry and sweaty and tired that I caught the metro home.

I climbed up the 5 flights of stairs to my hotel room and decided to change into the lightest-weight clothing I could-- which turned out to be a mid-calf-length brown skirt and an Indian style blouse with 3/4-length sleeves and a lightweight brown scarf that I'd tied kerchief style. I left the hotel (after much moaning and groaning and flopping about). Two blocks down the road, I think, "Wow. This light-weight fabric is so awesome; I'm so much cooler already... Wait, did my blouse slip, is that why I'm showing too much collarbone? ... *tugs on shirt* Oh shit! I forgot to cover my collarbones."

Actually forgot. I just didn't look in the mirror on my way out of the room.

Well, so there in the middle of the street, I whipped my scarf off my head and folded it more hijab style. Now my collarbones are covered but I definitely wasn't planning on wearing anything remotely resembling a hijab this soon. It makes me nervous in this countrty-- even though there are definitely plenty of women wearing them.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

France's Niqab Ban and Me

So, I am joyously heading to France tomorrow to simultaneously reward myself for finishing my thesis and celebrate the last time I won't feel guilty about paying for something extravagent for a while because I am still a student until the end of this month.

Hijab, from
Interestingly, France is very anti religious head coverings. Mostly Muslim ones, but in order not to be discriminatory, they have to be anti all of them. They banned the hijab in public schools in 2004. (Again, ostensibly they banned all large religious symbols, but it boiled down to banning the hijab.) This used to bother me --a lot-- but now it really touches close to home because I wear them on a regular basis. It irks me, but it is only in public schools... I haven't decided yet whether I shall wear a hijab in France or not.

Now, as of the 11th of April, 2011, the French are banning the niqab. Not in public schools. Everywhere. Now, I don't wear niqabs and have no interest in doing so. I mean, come on, turtlenecks make me claustrophobic-- I have no illusions about how trapped a niqab would make me feel. On the other hand-- the attachment I've developed towards covering my head in such a short time makes me very empathetic to women who might have developed a similar attachment for covering their face. Especially for people who grew up wearing the hijab or niqab. If you're with me on the hijab, but not on the niqab, let me offer an example.

Niqab, from
I grew up in a meat-eating household. Nearly every meal we ate for my entire childhood had meat in it. I was always a little averse to meat, but was never "fanatical" enough to go vegetarian while living with my parents. Prompted by health reasons, I eventually stopped eating meat. To me, it's a small but important sacrifice to make for a variety of reasons. I've learned to make some wonderful meals that are vegetarian. Even my solidly ominvorous family likes some of my meals.

I have a friend, though, who grew up vegetarian. She's never eaten meat at all as far as I know and all her life her family cooked wonderful vegetarian things. Also prompted by health reasons, she became vegan. For her, it was a small sacrifice. For me, it would be an almost incomprehensible one. I just can't imagine my life without milk or cheese. Maybe it's a silly comparison, but that's how I look at the whole hijab/niqab thing. Wearing hijab for me is a big difference (from, say, no head covering), but I love it. I could see how forsomeone who had grown up wearing hijab, the niqab would be appealing and just another small step in their relationship with God.

So, here's a questions. For those of you who wear a head covering or have considered it, how do you feel about France's ban? (Definitely google it if you haven't heard of it before!)

Monday, April 4, 2011

I've always been offensive, just by being myself.

It's true. If I did everything "by the book" (or "the Book"), I'd still offend a majority of the world's population, just by how I feel about women. (Shall I get in to the fact that it is actually impossible to do everything the Bible says literally? ...No, I shan't.)

Simply "having homosexual tendencies" makes me ineligible to teach Sunday School in many churches.

The loving, monogamous relationship I have with my Woman has made mothers pull their children away from us in the street. (Not knocking polygamy/polyamory-- that's simply a fight I'm not going into right now.)

Being Christian means 9 out of 10 gay people I meet assume I'm closeted and self-hating. Worse! They'll assume one or the other is a "phase"-- where have I heard that before???

And while I'm on other queer people! Some of the people I find I offend the most are other queer people who are less affectionate than my Woman and I are in church. Like, they feel the need to act like heteros so why don't my Woman and I?

So I can't get around being offensive and my choice was to minimize my offensiveness and not "act gay" --whatever that means-- or be myself and risk offending people.

My point is, I guess I'm going to have to do that here.

The modesty thing is constantly changing the way I look at clothing (more on that in another post), but I don't think I will continue it (at least in quite this way) in perpetuity. Head covering, on the other hand, I really feel called to, if that makes sense. It's not something we typically talk about having a calling for in the Episcopal Church, but I really just feel like it should have been there all along.

Maybe that's offensive. Or is it only offensive if I wear hijab? To that end-- here we go.

First off, I have yet to find a source anywhere where a Muslim person says they would be offended by a non-Muslim wearing a hijab. Now, I'm sure some Muslim somewhere is probably offended, but obviously it is not a majority. Not including the ones Megan found in my earlier post, here's what I found in my first two or three pages of googling.

And then there's this facebook group that is specifically for non-Muslim hijabis.

And, check out my blogroll on the right hand side of the page. Cover(ed) Girl is by Heather, a Christian hijabi who was formerly a niqabi. Little Steps Home is written by Amber, who is an Orthodox Christian who covers, as far as I can tell, sometimes with a hijab.

Even with all that, I just feel comfortable in a hijab-- perhaps it's because I prefer it when my ears are covered and I like having something that tucks into my shirt-- it just makes the whole thing feel more "right" for me.

And when I lived in Senegal, it was encouraged. Honestly, I fought it tooth-and-nail there because it felt like it was saying they would only treat me respectfully if I wore it. And frankly, I resent that, but near the end of my time in Senegal I got into the hijab more. (As a note: I covered my hair there a lot, because it was easier to do it and not look abnormal.) So maybe that let it in as an option for me? I don't know.

I might also add that there a finite number of ways one can cover one's head. At some point, I'm going to step on somebody's toes.

All I know is: I feel called to cover. I will continue doing so unless and until I feel called to stop or it gets too difficult to manage. As for the hijab, I will try to be culturally sensitive, but I don't think I'm upsetting hijabis. I imagine a lot of them feel called to the hijab and so understand what it's like trying to argue with a call.

I do appreciate your input; after all, I asked for it. It is totally enlightening and feel free to continue commenting, but in the end, it's my submission to God and it's my call.

Friday, April 1, 2011


So I was sitting in a meeting the other day with about a dozen other women. It was informal so I was wearing my ankle-length jean skirt, a sweater with a shell underneath, and a kerchief. I looked around the room and every other woman was wearing jeans. Now, I like jeans-- they're durable, they're versatile and they look cute. But I can't stand shopping for jeans. This goes back to what my old dietitian said about the fashion industry-- they're out to get women. I can spend 2 hours in Express trying to find the right jeans, finally find them, grab another pair of the same cut, style and size off the wall, take them home and then find out they other one doesn't fit! And that's not to knock Express-- at least they have jeans that fit me. Most places don't.

Skirts on the other hand, I'm not looking for an 8 long, I'm just looking for an 8. I can shop for them anywhere and I do! My ankle-length jean skirt does almost anything a pair of jeans could do and it took me 20 minutes to try on. Now that's liberation from the fashion industry. :) Or it's a start, anyway.

Maybe one of these days I will learn to sew and make my own clothes or buy clothes just from people who've made it themselves-- that would be about as liberated from the fashion industry as one could get (like most Plain people). And I'm not saying I'll never wear jeans again --I mean, come on, try riding a horse in an ankle-length skirt. I just mean that maybe wearing more skirts and fewer jeans isn't just an act of modesty or an act of faith or an act of beauty (and all of those things are subjective). Maybe, it's also an act of liberation.