Since I knew that I would end up with the hijab whether I fight back or not, I wore it myself.

            I am writing here with a small success. I have been following the platform for about 2 years. Once, while I was reading letters of other’s, my father saw it too and he said platforms like this only aims to mislead us then we argued. He also said that thing that are written here is not real, they are full of made-up things by atheist and deists in order to confuse young people. Of course, he didn’t know that I had friends that I met on this site who inspired me and made me feel that I was not alone.

            2 years ago, I started to have my period, I was 13. This was really important to me because I knew more or less that it would change my life. When my mother found out she knew how my father would react to this situation, she said, “We can hide a little, you’re young yet.” My mother was also married to my father, who is older than her, at an early age, and she suffered a lot and cried a lot during day and night. Then she learned stuffs somehow. Before learning, when I was little, they always showed me hijabi women and made me cry by saying “You will be like that when you grow up too”. If an 11-12-year-old child is treated like this, of course that child will cry. They said things like “Don’t cry, it won’t work”. I stopped wearing tight clothes and jeans after the age of 11. I never forget the first time interfere in my clothes. I was 11, my father was coming home from work, I was running to my dad to welcome him, my mother was next to me. We walked through the park, I was walking ahead. I was wearing a T-shirt and a pair of loose jeans. My father said to my mother “Why is she outside like that, next time she should wear something longer. Does she always go to the park like that?” as if it was the first time he sees me like that! On our way home, he said to me “ You can go to the park if you wear long and neat clothes, except that I will never see you like that again. How logical is it to tell an 11-year-old that she can go to the park if she meets a requirement and suddenly asking her to change her clothes? I was not allowed to wear what I wanted anyway.

            I went to İmam-Hatip,which is a religious school, in middle school. My father kept talking about making me wear the hijab, but my mother was distracting him a little. When I was in middle school even my friends said “Why don’t you wear the hijab. You dress like a hijabi girl, you look absurd.” To crown it all I was dealing with my friends in school besides my family. Like I am wearing these baggy trousers and tunics on purpose! I am a very gentle girl, I wouldn’t resist much, I was scared of my parents and respectful to them. They got me used to this for 3 years, saying “You will wear the hijab on the first day of high school” So I wore it myself, because I did not see other way and since I knew that I would end up with the hijab whether I fight back or not. I was already doing it involuntarily. It was also very unbearable for me as they wanted and tried much harder to make me wear the hijab.

            I was wearing hijab for 1.5 years. Yet they were not satisfied with me. I was always sitting next to them and I still am. I never go out comfortably. After 1.5 half year not being myself, I hate the idea of hijab, myself and people around me. I started to do some research on feminism. Not another religion; feminism is simply a view of gender equality. Me and my mother are doing all kinds of work like housekeepers and still shouted at like “Why did you do this like this?” Okay you can shout at me, but who do you think you are and swear to your wife like “Brainless idiot, you don’t understand anything.”? If you know how to do it so well, why don’t you help? My mother is used to this situation, she doesn’t say a single word for 35 years. My dad is a very religious and conservative person, I wonder who gave him the authority to insult and oppress people? He believes he knows a lot. He likes it so much when we need him, ask something to him, I can understand that. Before going out, I keep think that if my father will get angry at my clothes or not, but my older brother can go out without being worried about his trousers and a short-sleeved shirt. He studied outside the city for years. When I was in the 9th grade, the conversations like “We will never send you out of town to study, don’t get enthusiastic about it” started. I was stucked between the walls and the constant psychological pressure. While men are walking around as they wish in the hot summer season, we are trying to hide our body lines or hide our hair, but why? Oh, men should not be aroused, funny, that can only make me laugh. I have to restrain myself because of the dissatisfaction of person or the wicked mind of them. Like, it was both a sin to me and I was making others sin to. In nature, the woman was created attractive and the man lustful. Like, creation requires hijab. I totally disagree with that, it’s all about the character of the person. Women also have feelings, but men can travel as they wish. Also, in this world not only women are abused. There are many men who have been abused and raped, beyond women and men even animals are raped. Should we have make them wear the hijab too? This is not a topic special about hijab, the claim that men are superior to women seems obvious in Islam, but if you ask, they would say that everyone is equal. Men getting more shares from the inheritance, two women’s witnesses being equal to the witnesses of one man. The woman cannot travel after a certain kilometre without a mahram (women’s close one who is allowed to be with her according to Islam) man.  If you ask someone about some of these, they’ll probably tell you something like “Woman is a valuable presence and things that have value should not be shown to everyone, valuable things should be covered.” Well, here you are oppressing also men, is woman superior to a man? Are men worthless, why do they travel without hijab? This issue of inequality and superiority always comes to a dead end. I do not agree with this idea; It is clearly and obviously said that the men have more desire and that he may not be able to prevent himself. The woman is only seen as a sexual object and if not covered, they think she will arouse sexual desires otherwise. That’s why hijab is wanted. This is really humiliating, and I consider it as an insult.

            Now I am 17, I took of the hijab last year. I had never fought so much with my family before. It was the first time I felt so confident, I believed I could succeed. Nobody was with me during the time when I first mentioned about the subject and continued to talk about it. They act like I don’t exist in the home for 3 months. My older brothers, my older sibling, my mother and my father… I was sorry for both my own self and how they treated me like a stranger. My psychology was a mess. When my mother wakes me up, she was rubbing the cloth on her hand to my face and saying ‘Get up’ and what is worse than that? I was like an unwanted enemy at home, I was alone. Don’t think that my family become enemy to me will change my mind, rather than changing it, I hated it even more over time. Would a person treat their child like an enemy for 3 months just for the hijab? Even if it is meant to be, it won’t be after these things. I’m full of hate and grudge. I saw that nobody cares about me, everyone treats me badly, but even they don’t care about me I was still asking for someone’s permission to take off the hijab. I said enough to myself. I went to school, and took of the hijab… Of course my friends in Imam-Hatip also bullied me. I wasn’t wearing the hijab in school and wearing it after the school for a week. But after a while, person feels bad, because those in school have never encountered such a situation before. I go to school with hijab, I take it off during the school time and then I wear it again after school. I was in a funny and mocking situation. Then I told my parents that I took the hijab off, they said things like “It will never be the same between us”. We had long conversations and argue. I felt a little regretful, it is really hard to sit with your family and say that you took of the hijab. Since you took it of for a week in school, you cannot wear it back.

            I regretted, but don’t know what to do. They didn’t talk to me for a month or two. During this time, they took away my phone and kept it for months. I had a school-to-home and home-to-school life. I was like an enemy at home, and I got really tired of it. In time they started to talk to me little, discluding my older brother and older sister. Since I took off the hijab we are not talking, we are insincere. They are both very religious people, once it is ruined between us it is never same. Now it is like I have no brother or sister. This really makes me sad. I was sad deep down inside, they were the ones that I have more close relationship than I had between my parents.

            Despite all of that, stand by my decision. I still have some problems yeah. They keep interfering my hair style and model or my cloths. After you take the hijab off, you cannot dress like you want like when you are wearing it. I don’t want to go through all of that, I want to be free. It bothers me so much that a piece of clothing or a piece of cloth has been made so important in my life over the years and that it does not let me live my childhood and youth. I would love to stay with my friends, go on a picnic, have fun too. But since I have take the hijab off, all I can do right now is just to be outside the door. Only a year left for me to take the university exam. My parents plan to send me to the boarding course of Quran. This indicates that a new marathon adventure is about to begin for me. Even though we are talking to my mother and father, I can feel that I look like a stranger in the family and that I am left out. I don’t know what to do. They discourage me so much that I don’t even want to study.

            Translator: Ö.K.

(Image: Pamela Phatsimo Sunstrum)

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