A scarf does not oppress people. People oppress people.
-Covered in Light
Today is the Covered in Light International Day (or International Choice to Veil Day), an event started by Covered in Light in order to give support to women who choose to veil their hair for religious reasons.
Basically, women who choose to veil are given crap because of a) Islamophobia and b) ~*~feminism~*~. Category A is full of people who are terrified of Muslims and see a head-covering as a symbol of Islamic faith. Which, yeah, it is, but it’s also a symbol of Jewish faith, a symbol of Christian faith, and just a symbol of…you know. Head-covering. For personal spiritual reasons, or because it looks cool, or because it’s comfy, or because the gods have requested it of you, or because you’re cos-playing a character from the Kushiel’s Legacy series by Jacqueline Carey. But regardless the reason behind a head-covering, thinking someone is Muslim is not an acceptable reason to treat them like crap. I don’t care how much you may dislike Islam as a religion; I dislike Christianity fundamentally, but you don’t see me spitting on Christians in public. Because I’m not an asshole. (Mostly.) Leave Muslims alone, for fuck’s sake.
Category B is full of people who think that women who choose to veil are helping the oppression of women who aren’t given a choice, and that it’s anti-feminist to choose to do something that can be used as a tool of oppression. The people in Category B don’t understand that people oppress people, not scarves or pregnancy or marriage or burlesque or PIV sex or whatever other silly ideas they’ve got into their tiny brains. This isn’t feminism, for the record. Denying women’s agency is, like, the opposite of feminism.
Anyway, I’m not here to rant today. (I know; crazy.) I’m just here to mention Covered in Light Day briefly and talk about my experience veiling.
Took me a bit to figure out how to wrap it around my head just right, but once I got it on and secured it with bobby pins it was really quite comfortable. I didn’t go out much today (yet; the night isn’t over), but I did get some interesting looks. No one said anything to me, which is unfortunate — I was hoping for some teachable moments. “I’m choosing to veil today in support of women who veil for religious reasons, whether they’re Muslim, Pagan, or something else.”
I’m not sure if I would ever cover my hair for religious reasons. At any rate, I haven’t been called to do so by any gods I worship. I wear bandanas often to keep my hair out of my face while my bangs grow out/absorb sweat from my forehead while I do housework or other labor-intensive stuff, but to me that’s not really head-covering, it’s more a headband. I like the look of head-covering, so I may only choose to wear it for events like this or as an outfit accessory. Also it’s ridiculously comfy.
It also feels powerful, somehow. Which makes me ponder if I would ever do it for religious reasons. Or magical ones. I just finished reading Star Foster’s post about pagan women who veil, and I do like the idea that head-covering marks one as an adult, instead of relying on biology to mark the stages of life. (This also gives me a plot bunny for a future story. Because I need more of those.) Especially as someone who’s genderqueer and has some serious dysphoria with regards to periods and such. I used to feel that my period marked my coming-of-age as a woman, but truthfully I’ve never really felt like I made a successful transition to adulthood. Like there was no event that helped me cross that threshold. I thought my period was, but realizing I’m genderqueer, not a woman, and dealing with dysphoria kind of…killed that for me.
I don’t know. I may try doing this, off and on, to see how I feel and if it brings any spiritual or magical benefits. Or emotional ones. Might be an interesting experiment.
Scarf courtesy of my mother’s closet. She has more scarves than
there were witches killed in the Burning Times someone with a lot of scarves.
And yes. It’s purple. It looks blue in the photograph but that’s because of wonky light. (My shirt is purple, too, and so is part of my skirt.)