As someone tired of expressing her thoughts only to herself, I want to talk openly here. Although I am wearing a headscarf, I don’t define myself as a veiled woman; my style and makeup don’t comply with the Islamic understanding of a veiled woman. My manners, thoughts, and style show that I cannot fit into the stereotypes of being a veiled woman. As you must have realized, people who are judged through Islam are only veiled women. Because of the people who put the physical appearance and seeming personality in the same place with the feelings and thoughts, a veiled woman’s inner world is easily vulnerable to criticisms based on how she looks. So, whether they are religious or not, people judge veiled women. I am uncomfortable about this situation. I don’t want people to combine the ways in which I act and the ways in which I speak by calling me as “Süslüman” (a combination of “süslü” (fancy in Turkish) and “Muslim” (Müslüman in Turkish). At this point, even leaving religion seems easier and more possible because it is not something that has to be revealed, unlike my rejection of the stereotypes about women who wear headscarves. Using these stereotypes to silence women seems just unfair to me because some of those women basically live for conforming with such stereotypes. I endlessly think about this. No matter what people think I should be, I will continue expressing myself in the way I want. I already feel extremely repressed. If what I express doesn’t conform to their morals, values, and beliefs, what I’ll experience will just be another shade of repression. What is there to lose?
To the times when religion, society, and traditions keep their hands off on women…
(Image: Gertrude Hermes)