I was really getting annoyed by the saying “Sümeyyeler” that is used for women in hijab.

Hi, my story is like many of yours. Throughout my childhood, sometimes my father and sometimes my uncle put a veil on my head, and they imposed this idea on me by saying “How beautiful you are in hijab”. My mother always pressured me by saying, “When you go to high school, you will certainly start wearing the hijab.” So, I was preparing myself for that. Sometimes I was saying “I wonder if I should think about this in college?” but I thought if I can’t do it now, then I could never do it. I started wearing the hijab when I was studying for the high school entrance exam in the 8th grade because of my mother’s and others’ pressure. My first year as a hijabi was great, I was really happy, but things suddenly broke out in my second year. I wanted to take my hijab off, I wanted to wear earrings and do many other things. I was getting really annoyed by the saying “Sümeyyeler” (the name used to stereotype and insult hijabis) that is used for women in hijab in society. Because of my hijab, I shouldn’t wear any make up and many other things. I thought about it a lot and talked to my friends. Before I started to think about taking my hijab off, my sister has taken hers off 2-3 months ago. Since my sister was away from the home, my father disowned her at first, but sometimes they talked because she was far away, my father could not fully get his anger out of her. In fear, I brought this subject up to my mother, since my mother had already said to me after my sister, “Take off your hijab if you are in it” but I did not dare to do it because I know that this was a rhetoric. My 2 brothers filled my mother’s head with their opinions, and they didn’t stand by me even a little bit. They said, “If you take off your hijab, you cannot wear trousers, you cannot dress the way you want to.” they set me conditions as if they were my father. I said okay, how bad could it be? My concern was to get rid of the weight of this veil, not wanting to carry something I didn’t want.

I worked for 2-3 weeks, one night my father learned this at sahur (the time Muslims eat their meals before fasting), shouted at me. He made the classic family threat saying, you know “I won’t send her to school.” I was asleep at that time, waking up to the voice of my father saying this made me feel very bad. I felt in an impasse and as I said, when my other sister took her hijab off, everything exploded at me because my father couldn’t fully pour his anger out. My father said, “I wish we had an abortion, at least I would pay the price, then you would become an angel” many times. It is an awfully bad thing that one’s favourite person is not with her. Anyway, after a while, my father was nice to me for 2-3 days, like he was trying to make me forget this incident. I was scared, I thought I couldn’t do it. He came to me, tried to change my mind by offering me money. I said, “I don’t want the money, I do know what I want.” He got angry, shouted at me, and left. At same night I dressed to go for walk with my other sister, I said “I will go without the hijab.” Even they beat me or insult me, in either case I would only wear my hood (as a hijab). My mother said ask your father, and he said, “Do the whatever the hell you want!”

That day, for the first time I went out without hijab after 2 years. It was totally worth the fighting. My situation was a little difficult, but it is worth all difficulties. Do whatever you need for your freedom. I know, you all care about your freedom a lot, and you are not people who will act under the patronage of someone. Please do not do anything just because your family, that you will only spend 1-2 years together, wanted to. Let your hair loose; let them be free. Don’t be afraid of your relatives or others, they will only gossip about you for 10 minutes and after that they can find a new subject. Don’t throw your life away because of 10-minute-long gossip, sweeties.

(Image: Tom Hammick)

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