A Powerful Girl in a Scarf

People ask me if I’m hot

Why they ask me this, I know not

Are they trying to ask how do I stay

Covered up when Summer’s well on its way?

Are they trying to say I don’t know

That if I’m hot I must cool down so

My body temperature drops

And I don’t feel faint

Are they telling me this because

They don’t see a saint

When they see my covered head

Or a nun or a monk or a priest

Who’s chosen to cover up

Because they believe in a higher decree

Who’s chosen to put their Lord above

This material world

Who’s chosen to sacrifice her looks

For something high

Done something solid instead of simply watching life pass her by

No, they see a girl oppressed

They see someone who doesn’t look like them

‘She sometimes wears a flowing skirt

She looks like she’s walking on air

If we look the other way when she smiles

We can pretend she’s not there

She must have been forced to wear attire such as that

Surely she hasn’t chosen to wear that instead of a hat

When it’s sunny outside

Surely she wants to run and laugh, dizzy and free

And shout out loud and jump about
In little shorts and a T,

If she were given the choice she would look like us

I’m sure she doesn’t choose to dress like that, nobody does

If she does then why can her husband walk free?

To dress as he wills, he can dance with glee’

But even though they’re right

He doesn’t wrap a cloth around his head

He has a little hat on instead

His shorts must go down to his knee

He shouldn’t be wearing jeans as skinny as these

This is what we call modesty

Now ask yourself this

When you see a pearl

Through the dirt, did it swirl?

Has it been shown off a lot?

Or was it left out to rot?

Polished, covered, protected,

Does it shine all the more?

Does it glow?

Does it become a thing of beauty that people adore?

When I started to cover

I shocked my gay friends

They thought this was the point where our friendship ends

They didn’t know covering was more about me and less about them!

I was still the same,

I wasn’t oppressed

And I certainly didn’t need education from the West

To get myself out of this mess!

A woman who chooses her Lord above all

Isn’t a woman who’s going to fall

Who needs some help

Who needs a voice

Whose words are faded out

Who isn’t able to shout!

Of course she’d like to walk out into the waves

With bare feet and shorts on

Without a care in the world

That’s why we need ladies’-only territories!

She can do this in a Muslim country with the right facilities!

The leisure centres here only cater for those of us who want to mix,

Why can’t they give us the freedom we desire?!

Our fix!?

Those who are in management think about this

This will help those other people who are more conservative or conscious of their body image too!

Do we really have to mix with men at a pool?

We deserve a place of our own! Oh what bliss!

Somebody called this hijabism

When I’m discriminated against because
Of what I wear

Because I choose to cover my hair

I think it’s about education

I want to send a message to this nation

It’s because I don’t care what a man thinks

That I cover my hair for my Lord

And don’t look like a minx

When I leave my house

I’m free

Yes because I’m not going to dress according

to what pleases them

No, I’m less oppressed

Less of a mess

When I get to choose the way I dress!!


If you enjoyed this post and would like to support my writing, please thank me by buying me a coffee here!

Thank you,

Peace and Love,

Sidra Ansari

Published by Sidra Ansari

Sidra Ansari is a freelance writer, blogger, copywriter and teacher. Although she was born in Manchester, she has lived in many places in the U.K including London, North Wales, Birmingham and Leicester. She now lives in the Black Country and dreams of living by the sea once again- a seagull being her preferred muse. She has been shortlisted for the AsianWriter Short Story Prize and was selected for WriteNow Live, the Penguin Mentoring Program for underrepresented writers. She works for the Mud Season Review as a Creative Non Fiction Reader and has work published in the inaugural Desert Rose Lit Magazine. Her self development book ‘Finding Peace Through Prayer and Love’ published by Beacon Books is out in 2020. She lives in the West Midlands with her husband of over fifteen years and five children. You can reach her at @sidra_writes on Twitter, sidra.7.ansari on Instagram and follow her blog at the7ofus.blog.

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