If you are a member of this FB group I’m talking about below, I urge you to re-think your values. If you have ever used the word “hojabi” to refer to a woman whose hijab style you don’t approve of, with the excuse that it’s “un-Islamic,” I urge you, too, to re-think your values and re-evaluate your relationship with the divine and with fellow humans. You’re doing harm to yourself and to those on whom you put such labels.
Because, as usual, this post got longer than I’d intended for it to, here’s a brief outline: I’ll first introduce this FB group, then share some of their photos with group members’ comments on the photos, and then discuss ten things that are wrong with the group itself as well as the broader concept of a “hOjabi” woman and what it means for Muslim women.
Introduction to the Facebook Group
There’s a Facebook group called “hOjabis.” This term itself is so problematic, so un-Islamic, so unacceptable that I am at a loss of words on what to say about it (but I discuss the word “hojabi” and the many problems with it below). The group, though, is one of the most insensitive, most gossippy spaces for Muslims to come and attack the way Muslim women dress. What the admins/members do is take pictures of random Muslim women wherever they are found wearing the hijab in a way that doesn’t suit the group members’ preferences and expectations, post the photos to the group without their consent or knowledge, and invite other members to attack those being photographed. Some of the photos are taken from the net and are of celebrities, but most are of ordinary Muslim women wearing the hijab in a way that the judges (ordinary Muslims like you and me with clearly no decent purpose in their lives) there do not find “appropriate” enough; they admit to “stalking” the women to take photos of them, some of them proudly professing that they had to run several miles to get the picture and were excited to post it on the page.
The creators of the group claim that:
The creators of this group neither support or are against hojabiness. Our purpose is to allow us to laugh at ourselves and find humor in all the creative ways Muslim women practice hijab. We mean no harm, so if you can’t handle our personal sense of humor then peace out! 🙂
That’s a lie – because if it’s to find humor in all the creative ways Muslim women practice the hijab, why are the photos only of those hijabis who do not practice it the (conventionally/traditionally) “correct” way? If it’s just for fun, and if it’s for “all the creative ways Muslim women practice hijab,” where are the photos of women wearing it — for real — in the many different styles the hijab comes in? What’s with the attack on women showing skin or hair while wearing the hijab, or smoking or dancing or holding a boy’s hand or doing something else you think a hijabi girl should not be doing? Who exactly are you fooling with that disclaimer?
Even so, even if all types of hijabi Muslim women were equally ridiculed on this page, why? Why is it so natural for these members and admins to allow for women’s bodies to be up for mockery and scorn? And even if their bodies were to be praised, why this display? We have no problem attacking the Western media for doing this to women (and we shouldn’t have any problem doing this), but we are guilty of doing this to Muslim women who don’t dress according to our standards, either, okay?
What’s more, this actually isn’t funny because it cannot be funny to the ones it’s being done to. If you disagree, how about testing this out with your photos or with those of your loved ones? Take your own photos and put them up like you’re doing others’ without letting the other group members know whose photos they are, and waiting for their responses? That’s when we’ll know for real whether it’s all just harmless fun or attacks on people’s choices and values. If you won’t like it being done to YOU or to someone you care about, it’s not funny and it’s not fun. If those to whom it’s being done do not find it funny, then it’s not funny – you don’t get to decide that.
What’s Wrong with the Word “Hojabi” – stop using it!
Urban Dictionary has caught on with this term and here’s what it says about it: “I was at the mall the other day and I saw this girl with a shiny headscarf and a skirt which stuck to her so tightly that I could make our her nipples. What a hojabi.”
A blogger writes of hijabis who wear make-up and all:
What is it with women that wear hijabs but still wear figure hugging clothes, full make-up and designer shades and handbags like the Saudi women you see in Kensington and Chelsea?I don’t know whether to judge them or not. You do notice them more than women who don’t wear the hijab because they’re wearing a great skirt or shoes or whatever and you think ‘Ooo, that would be nice in my wardrobe!’
The whole idea of a “ho”jabi is highly offensive. It is slut-shaming at best. The “ho” in “hojabi” refers to the English slang “hoe,” which refers to a woman who’s “too loose” in her clothing and/or is sexually promiscuous – whether this is true or not, whether anyone knows this for sure or not, we determine this by looking at how she dresses or talks to men or carries herself in public. (Note: I condemn such references to women who are “sexually loose”! No society speaks out against the sexual promiscuity of men, but most seem to do for women. This double standard needs to die asap. What are the masculine equivalents of slut, bitch, whore, hoe, etc.? None exist, right? Because men are totally allowed to use their bodies however they want to get pleasure and women are not. The terms “shame” and “virtuous” never apply to men but only to women, and religions have further increased the shunning of women who don’t fall into this chaste vs unchaste binary. How often does anyone talk about men’s virginity, chastity, immodesty, clothing, etc.? To quote the character of Lilly Singh’s mother, “I never heard before.”) No, actually, “hoe” is patriarchy’s code word for any woman who makes her own choices, is confident in herself, stands up for herself; its synonyms include bitch, slut, whore. One might have no idea of the woman’s sexual life, but only because she dresses a certain way — the way that “justifies” rape — she’s declared a whore, a hoe, a slut, a bitch. And, so, when a Muslim woman doesn’t wear her hijab “properly,” it only makes sense that we all pounce on her and put her private life/choices on trial, publicly declaring her a whore, because, look, a strand of her hair shows! Or her skin shows! Or her curves show! Or she’s not slim enough to be covered fully by her hijab and has larger breasts than many women around her!
“Hojabi” Assholery on Twitter
Forget this Facebook group – we have plenty of folks on Twitter calling hijabi women out when they don’t wear their hijab properly. It’s you either wear it the way these men want you to or don’t wear it at all! There’s no in-between, and there’s no such thing as your own choice. (But make no mistake, non-Muslims: The hijab is “a Muslim woman’s choice! Leave her alone!” Even though, in reality, it’s other Muslims’ choice for the ones who wear it.) Check out the following tweets, where mostly men are out to tell us all what the difference between a “pure” hijab and a “ho”jabi is:
Respect the scarf, or don’t wear it #Hojabis
— Ahmad Bazzoun ™ (@AhmadBazzoun36) March 10, 2013
I swear some Hijabis are undercover pornstars. #Hojabis
— Tao (@Tayyub24) December 23, 2012
Man, this frustrated pious brother of ours is really upset with us, girls; we have GOT to start wearing the hijab his way or continue getting his wrath:
#Hijabis during Ramadan #Hojabis after Ramadan…#SadWorld.
— Sohail (@SohailBuddy) July 23, 2012
And yet one more from him! My:
I just saw a #Hijabi acting like a #Hojabi. #Hojabis are insults to ALL pure #Hijabis. #SlapYourself
— Sohail (@SohailBuddy) December 6, 2011
But we ain’t being spared by other women, either (more proof of this below in the comments on photos to the FB group):
I know WAY more girls who don’t wear hijab and they have extremely good morals compared to many who do wear it. #hojabis — Anum Shaikh (@1800Shaikhthat) May 15, 2012
And good God, there’s a whole Twitter account dedicated to the struggles, whatever they may be, of a “hojabi”!
I don’t wanna ruin how the designer of this gorg see-thru blouse intended it 2 look so I’ll wear a nude tight skin shirt under it #hojabi
— hojabi problems (@HojabiProblems) December 22, 2011
At least you know I’m fertile and can have yo babies #nailpolish #hojabiproblems
— hojabi problems (@HojabiProblems) December 22, 2011
Texted w/ a guy till 3 in the morn & he didn’t text the next day-> Hojabi equivalent of hooking up w/ no call the next day #hojabiproblems
— hojabi problems (@HojabiProblems) January 8, 2012
Let’s just do it this way – and we’ll stop right here with the Twitter assholery:
Sample Photos from the FB Group
This idea of the “ho”jabi promotes this misogynist attitude that women’s bodies, women’s choices, women’s lifestyles are a valid source of enjoyment, amusement, ridicule. On the FB group, even in the cases where warrior-like women’s photos are displayed on the group, the comments from the Muslim men are vulgar, sickening, and disrespectful. Check this out, for example:
The above photo with more comments:
Here’s some more ridiculousness from the page:
Maybe they’re just jealous, I onno … like:
You’d think someone actually asked these people’s opinion on what they’re wearing and whether they approve of it … take a look:
And now, boys and girls, a round of applause for this one sweet boy for whom this is the dirtiest thing he’s ever done: stalking a “ho”jabi to take her photo to get approval from this group:
Lo and behold, folks, they don’t spare non-Muslim women – true equality!
This one below is one of the most insensitive ones they’ve got – and the comments … oh my God. This particular poster has some of the most harmful things to say about the women whose pictures he posts. I have no idea in what world he can be allowed to speak this way of other humans.
I could go on and on with the photos and with the kinds of comments boys are writing there.
Now for the ten things I promised above that are wrong with this group and with the idea of telling women how to wear their hijab:
1. While you may think that there’s a specific way to dress in Islam or one specific way to don the hijab, nothing in Islam permits you to mock others, especially publicly. We shouldn’t mock people just because Islam says not to but because it’s simply the right thing to do as humans – don’t insult others. At the very least, it’s gossiping. And while everyone loves to cherry pick their favorite hadiths, imposing some on other Muslims while ignoring others for themselves, remember that hadith that says that gossiping and backbiting is like eating a fellow Muslim’s flesh?
2. You might be thinking that the “ho”jabis whose photos you’re sharing and mocking on social media are simply facing the consequences of their “mockery” of Islam and the concept of hijab — no, YOUR concept of hijab — but the fact is that that’s actually subjective: you don’t get to go around telling others how to dress, mock them because they’re wearing leggings or tight jeans with their hijab or are showing some strands of hair with the hijab on. But what’s not subjective is that what you’re doing is hurtful and disrespectful not just to the women you’re attacking but to all women. Most Muslims might not agree on the basics of Islam — for example, you guys clearly think it’s more important for a woman to cover her hair and body a certain way while many other Muslims and I believe not making fun of people is more important than whether someone’s hijab is done “right” — but what we should ALL be agreeing on, and what all religions and faiths agree on, is that it is wrong for anyone and everyone to laugh at people. That’s not open to debate – that’s just a fact. Laughing at people is wrong everywhere. Also, man, is it heartbreakingly telling that the creators of the group are women (more on this below)!
3. You do not have the permission of the women whose pictures you’ve either stolen off the internet or whom you stalked to take their photos and post on social media without their approval or even knowledge. What form of Islam do you think would permit you to do such a thing? Oh, yes – YOUR form of Islam. After all, there are as many Islams as there are Muslims, as your practices show.
4. This is one of the misogynistic attitudes among Muslims. As if it’s not enough to simply correct women about their practice of Islam or to tell them they’re wrong in the way they dress, but on top of that, this Facebook group takes their photos, puts them up for display for group members and others to see, and subjects them to ridicule by any and all viewers. While I’m fully aware that women are sometimes the most strongest supporters of misogyny and patriarchy, it is saddening, heartbreaking to see Muslim women ridiculing their fellow sisters. I’d like to remind these women that the Muslim men you’re sitting there laughing at your sisters with are actually not your friends; if they can take pleasure in mocking, harassing, stalking, and humiliating other women, they can, they will, and they probably have already done it to you, too. I’m not suggesting Muslim men are our enemy; I’m saying the patriarchy and misogyny you’re promoting and tolerating on your page are our common enemy no matter how you choose to wear your hijab. Next time you laugh at a woman because she’s not wearing the hijab the way you think she should, pause for a moment and ask yourself what right you have to tell her what to do.
5. If the intention behind this is to teach Muslim women a lesson about HOW to wear the hijab properly, there are many things wrong with this, too, including:
a) That’s not your prerogative; you have no right or authority to do that.
b) Even if you did have a right to tell other women how to dress or what the correct form of hijab is, this is an offensive and un-Islamic platform to send them that message.
c) You think you’re simply pointing at the “hypocrisy” of these hijabis (e.g., they claim to be pious by wearing the hijab (!!) on the one hand, but on the other hand, they’re not doing it right – like “wearing nail polish, seriously?! Going to a bar, seriously? OMG! Wearing a tight shirt? What a slut!” or “holding a boy’s hand or, God forbid, kissing a boy while wearing a hijab?! What a total complete whore!” What you’re insinuating is that when a woman wears the hijab, there’s not only one specific narrow way she must wear the hijab and which parts she should be covering and showing, but on top of that, she should also not be doing certain things in public. Like being an Olympic Figure Skater (whose photo you folks ripped apart with disrespectful, destructive comments on your page – she shouldn’t be subjected to such comments even if she weren’t dressed that modestly, but for God’s sake, what more do you expect of women! Not that anyone should care what you expect of women, though); in other words, the moment a Muslim covers her head, she has to fulfill a whole bunch of other criteria in order to be considered a true Muslim or a true hijabi — which basically breaks down to “she can only pop out babies and do nothing else, especially something like pursuing her dreams!” — and if she doesn’t fulfill that criteria, she’s a “hoe” covering up her hoeness with a hijab. You’re also implying that only hijabi women are prone to being hypocrites. Which, by the way, this isn’t hypocrisy because you don’t know that what they’re doing may actually be totally legit and acceptable in their worldview. But while you pick on women, have you ever pointed to a man’s hypocrisy? Like the last time a Muslim man did or said something that is downright impermissible in Islam – like harassing women, staring women up and down, laughing at women, beat up a woman, drank alcohol (while ordering “halal” meat), committed murder or theft, and so on?
6. Goddamnit, STOP it with this whole hijab-policing! Stop telling women what to do!
7. There’s a whole history of men dictating to women how to live Islam, how to dress, how to think, how to do this and that – how to be – and it’s nothing less of men’s desire to control women. I don’t care if a man insists he’s just doing it because he means well and that he’s just trying to guide women; it’s still about control. Men have always done this throughout history, and they’ll continue to do so until the women they’re controlling and telling what to do and how to dress and think and be and live and practice Islam shut them up. So this needs to stop asap, and a perfect example of this patriarchal dictation is this group I’m so sickened by. Women are fully capable of deciding for themselves what is right and what is wrong, and that includes the style of their hijab. YOU don’t get any say in it, and I don’t get any say in it. At the very most, you (but not I) may dismiss their choices as un-Islamic – but that’s where it should stop, if it goes that far at all (it shouldn’t); you have no right to take pictures of them and publicize them on social networks and encourage others to mock them and their choices. You accuse them of not having any Islam or faith, but where’s YOUR Islam/faith? Why is it that in
8. For the last time: If you think what “ho”jabi women are wearing is something God would disapprove of, do you think what you’re doing in response is something God would approve of? That is assuming that you get a right to respond to their hijab styles in the first place.
9. There’s no one particular way to wear the hijab, and every woman who wears it and only her herself gets to decide how, when, and where to do it. YOU don’t get to decide that for her, and you don’t get to decide whether how she’s dressed is appropriate or Islamic or not. You have no idea why the women you’re mocking are wearing the hijab – maybe they’re doing it by force, and if so, they might be retaliating by wearing it their particular, individual ways. Maybe, maybe just maybe, they actually have more important concerns in life to worry than whether their hair and bodies are covered properly or not.
10. You people belong to that brand of Muslims (and others) for whom a woman can never get it right. This “it” can be her life style, career, opinions, whatever – anything. Whatever it is is, a woman is just never doing it right. That’s why you not only attack women who don’t cover their hair and bodies properly, but also those who cover “too” much! We women just aren’t wired to be moderate, that’s all. And you’ve taken it upon your righteous selves to guide us by putting us in our places by stealing our photos (property) and setting us up for ridicule unabashedly by those who think and live like you. So for you, the woman wearing a niqab is also subject to scorn because, goddamnit, why won’t she cover just enough! Why does she have to cover every damn thing?! Doesn’t she know her Islam?!
P.S. I was invited to this group over a year ago by a friend. Upon seeing what its intentions were and what a toxic environment it was, I send this friend and her sister (who are both moderators there) telling them that I found this place to be un-Islamic and unacceptable and harmful to Muslim women and so I’m leaving it. Over a year later, another friend mentioned it to me saying he found the captions hilarious. I joined it back to check the captions out, and now it came up in a conversation with another friend, and as I went through each photo and its caption, I felt like vomiting at the lack of humanity in the members posting these pictures and taking a good laugh out of them. I have no doubt that I’ll be banned from the group the moment the admins come across this blog post – and I’ll be sure to post it there.
Edit: Actually, I posted this article to the group under one of their posts as a comment, and they’ve now banned me. Free speech for the win! Or, as someone named Y.K. said on Facebook when I said this under a friend’s post about this article, “In the interest of free speech, #jesuisHojabi” LOL.
Wow thank you for posting about this. I had no idea this even existed. Astaghfirallah. What a sad thing to do and see done.
Thank you for reading! I agree it’s such a sad thing to see done! I can’t believe I once even entertained the idea of being a member of this group just for the fun of it. I’ve no idea in what world it’s supposed to be acceptable or halaal or even remotely okay to mock people and watch people being mocked in the name of “humor”!
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Thank you for taking the time to write all this! I agree 110%. This is really sickening. There’s definitely a connection with this type of ‘slut shaming’ becoming more common and the rise of rapes in certain parts of the world, jmho.
Thank you for reading it! Absolutely – they’re essentially supporting the idea that a woman deserves to be raped if she’s not dressed properly!
That is what is wrong with the world; we do not see how humour can easily turn into hate and hurt.
Yes! Until it’s done to us or to someone we love!
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I can’t even… oh just wow really? Nice to know that the lovely pious brothers have got plenty of time and good deeds stored up in the next life so that they can stalk unsuspecting females in public. I can only applaud them *sarcasm*.
May be the group could be reported? Because what this group is doing is a fitna and I am sick of hearing my brothers in faith mocking their sisters…. I hear enough of that from non- Muslim men; we are supposed to be better than that.
It’s just so effing ironic to me that Muslim men (and women) would go around stalking women to take their photos without their knowledge and permission and post them on social media to say, “Look how inappropriately she’s dressed!” or “Look how incorrectly her hijab is put on! She’s totes going to hell!”
I’ve tried reporting the group a couple of times. FB was like, “We believe satire is good,” LOL. I’m like you’ve no idea what satire is if this is what you find satirical.
Maybe each photo should be reported because the people whose photos they are have no idea they’re up there, so we could report them as stolen property, ai.
I hate people who gossip on others for their mistakes….
happens 100% of the time around my people…..
@ Afghan Lion:
Yeah, it’s depressing how common gossiping about people who make mistakes is in our society. Only thing is, though, I don’t consider these “hojabi” hijab styles mistakes. (I don’t buy into the whole “at least they’re wearing a hijab” or “give them time; we’re all learning and growing in faith” as if there’s an ultimate kind of hijab to be worn and we’re all supposed to be trying to reach that mark.) They might be doing what they believe is right, but no matter what their reasons and choices are, no one has a right to stalk them, take their pics, and promote them for mockery.
I didn’t even though this was a thing. Great piece though.
Thank you for reading!
Mind.blown. Thank you Orbala for bringing this into prominence.
Obvs I’m not surfing FB to find stuff like that!
Fwiw, I am an older, euro grandmother (erm, completely breaking the fourth wall on my blog avatar here, but whatev’s …), with a pacific islander muslim son-in-law; my daughter is a convert to Islam, learning Arabic & Koran, and is the mother to my grand-daughter, a most gorgeous little girl.
Pasifika Muslims in Australia & New Zealand are not fully immersed in hijabi practice; so the arguments in my region are not as virulent as those that have been re-posted here as FB clippings. There are some issues with racism in Australia, which re-surface intermittently in Sydney, where there is a larger, multi-ethnic muslim population. Auckland in New Zealand has the largest multi-ethnic muslim population there, with slightly more subtle racisms evident. There are some elements of inter-ethnic conflicts in South Auckland, some of which have roots in racist policing of Pacific Islanders since the 1970’s. Complicated world!
I have many, many muslim friends, due to the extended family of my son-in-law & daughter, and their friends. My experiences of hospitality and celebrations amongst these (mostly) younger people are generally joyous, and I am always included happily by them all. [Even as I discuss politics and religion with the men, and don’t know how to cook halal alongside the women … although I manage to eat halal pretty well! 😉 ]
I also have a feminist muslim friend in the city in which I reside. We talk about our daughters, we talk about our society, we talk about issues to do with tolerance of religious difference in our (predominantly) British, euro-centric nation. I am atheist, she is a fully active member of the local mosque, a working mother with grown daughters; she is politically of one variant of our local political spectrum, I am of another, but we have overlaps and areas in which we work together politically and socially to better the lot of all women in our city. We both have ties to the local University, and interact with feminist academics there, within our respective political and social networks. It is, I feel, a more relaxed and tolerant society here than the way I perceive the USA to be, at least in regard to diversity and tolerance of ‘the other’ in many aspects.
Thank you for your readership and response, Anar! (I’m gonna call you Anar – it means pomegranate in Pashto, Urdu, etc.)
Indeed, as diverse as the U.S. is, it’s got some serious issues with regards to minorities – genderd, sexual, racial, religious, all other types. I’ve personally not faced as serious forms of discrimination as many of my friends have, but it gets pretty bad over here.
Lovely to hear about your family! And why can’t this world have more of you instead of more of the people whose crappiness the above post is about? ❤ I wish beauty for you and your family! Let's email.
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I can manage another pen-pal 😉
😀 Me, too! Email me? (lolz) email@example.com
Wow. Just wow.
Girl … I’ve literally face-palmed at this…
Assalamu alaikum. Nouman Ali Khan said recently that Allah SWT will not help our ummah unless we fix ourselves first. With ALL this backbiting and gossip it’s no wonder that we Muslims are hurting.
Wa alaikumus salaam wr wb,
Thank you for your comment!
Yes – our greed for gossip and many other reasons we’re hurting today.
I can not believe what these people are doing on Facebook, we should live in Salam , it saddens me that people follow my sisters and brothers in Islam, in order to take a pic and post it on Facebook, I wonder if there is another page out there that follow non ARAB Muslims (and I highlighted this word because the people that are commenting probably get called names by white people ) and other non white people and post their pics to get a kick out of it, . There is a saying in arabic ” يوم لك و يوم عليك و كفاك شره” that means today everything is going well for you tomorrow everything is against you, so stay away from evil.
Thank you for your comment, Jaz!
My mother taught me, when I was growing up, that when you mock people, God makes sure to put you in a situation where others will mock you as well. I do believe in such forces – that the good and bad we do in this world has an effect on us in this world (and in the next, for those of us who believe in another world as well). Though I think now, as an adult, that telling someone not to mock others just because you’ll be mocked one day isn’t a decent enough reason to teach against mockery. Still, if it works for some, let it be a reminder!
Certainly very saddening the state of our brothers and sisters today, seeking photos of fellow Muslim women to use for ridicule. God be with us!
I’m just going to put this ayah from the Qur’an and leave it here:
O you who have believed, let not a people ridicule [another] people; perhaps they may be better than them; nor let women ridicule [other] women; perhaps they may be better than them. And do not insult one another and do not call each other by [offensive] nicknames. Wretched is the name of disobedience after [one’s] faith. And whoever does not repent – then it is those who are the wrongdoers (49:11)
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Thank you, Margari 🙂 What a reminder!
This is really horrible. This also made me really sad because it hit me personally. As a revert I’m still learning. I was invited into a support group for reverts. About a month in, I seen a picture of me that got ridiculed. I was seriously hurt about it and the admins did nothing. All I could do was leave the group because I had no way of removing the picture. It was about the worst thing I’ve ever experienced.
I’m so sorry to hear about your experience! It’s horrible what they did to your picture and that they weren’t willing to do anything about it. A few years ago, people (and I never figured out who) took photos of me from Facebook and uploaded them to Youtube video as background pics to Pashto songs. The comments from men about me — although “compliments” — made me feel so terrible about myself because I felt like I had been put on a display for men to decide whether they’d sleep with me or not! Like I was some trophy available for men to glare at and have an opinion on. I felt disgusted with myself until, years later, I realized that I had nothing to be ashamed of and that this was simply an intimidation technique by the men from my culture (I know that Pukhtuns had done that to my photos) to try to tell me that I’d deserved what they’d done because I put my photos on social media. One of the most disempowering feelings ever and a major reason why most Pashtun women on social media never share their pics, or even their real names.
Tanisha I am so sorry to hear that! Is the photo still up? Facebook usually allows you to report photos of yours that were posted without your knowledge or consent. You might have already tried that function with no results, but just letting you know in case. There’s always the fact that you’re covered under copyright infringement.
I’m not sure if it is or not. I left the group. I didn’t know you can report photos in groups to facebook. Thought it was just for personal pages.
This blog post is unwise. Thanks to this post, now more people know about the term “hojabi” and more people will join the Facebook group. All you did is express your distaste/hate and have people that agree to your views feed your ego. Also it’s ironic that you complain about hijabis being policed according to certain standards, while you do the same thing by writing this blog. Demonising the other is from the hashnesses of the self.
Honestly I don’t think there is malice with any of the posts in that group or in your words, I think it’s more a case of lost in translation through the internet and different cultures and times.
May Allah guide us all.
Aameen to your prayer!
I don’t care how many more people join the group, but I do think awareness of the harms of the word “hojabi” needs to happen so that when people hear it, they can think twice before laughing about it or participating in any conversation on who’s a hijabi and who isn’t. I don’t recall demonizing anyone in this article. I’ve approached the admins about this page before about the harms of the term and the group, the misogyny behind it, and they didn’t want to have a healthy conversation on the issue, dismissing any critical response as “oh, you just can’t take a joke, man. Chill! None of these photos are stolen from anywhere. It’s all public property” (!). Hence the article.
The best part, however, is that the response to this article has been overwhelmingly positive. The emails, FB msgs, and the comments above I’ve received have included those from people who before didn’t think the word “hojabi” was so harmful but now they get it.
So while I appreciate your opinion, I respectfully disagree.
“I don’t care how many people…” Someone who is wreckless and lacks vision would say.
Again, check your sincerity, do you post for the “overwhelming positive” responses, or do you post to for genuine concern for your brothers/sisters.
On a side note, I think the term “hijabi” can be argued against too. We’ve generalised too far? Maryam…that Muslim sister…that hijabi…that hojabi…
“Also it’s ironic that you complain about hijabis being policed according to certain standards, while you do the same thing by writing this blog.”
Your logic requires review.
Throughout this blog post, she is policing a group of people (who are policing a group of people on the internet who do not meet their standards) on the internet who do not meet her ethical standards. Ironic…Inception.
In an alternate view: The authors of the Facebook group are satirical against the standards we set on the hijab (others just post anything related to hijab anomalies). The author of this blog post is condemning those that set certain standards on the hijab. You’re all Muslim and love one another, so make love (not war)!
And I maintain that your logic requires review. (I also recommend looking up “irony.”)
You are clearly confusing nuance with contradiction.
I wanna be you ❤
(That was obviously to Nahida.)
lol @ I’m policing others. I see people mocking others, stalking others, and I point that out. Funny thats policing. Maybe revise your definitions, too, not just your logic.
The alternative view you’ve suggested wouldnt work because the group’s response shows that they aren’t against the ridiculous standards we’ve set for Hijabi women. (The FB group “hijab4Men” does that quite beautifully, actually.) If this alternative view were accurate, the boys and girls in this group wouldnt be stalking Muslim girls to take their photos. Its one thing to speak from society’s insane perspective — and that can be quite obvious — and its something else to speak your own narrow minds about what a good hijabi girl should and shouldnt be doing.
you know everybody has a different background, nobody knows how a person was raised…some families force their daughters to wear hijab without being the example….some women have been sexually assaulted at some point in their lives…some have been really oppressed depending where they may have came from…and some just happen to be raised out of the context of Islam, being caught between Islamic and western values or some just don’t know any better. Its like brothers with beards, pants above their ankles, backbiting, slandering and gossiping like little chickens sometimes are the biggest hypocrites. How about the ones that claim to have all these values and yet have mothers and sisters that may not wear the hijab, have girlfriends, drink, smoke, fornicate and the list goes on. I came across hijabis who are covered up and still have boyfriends, and do other things (that’s not to say to NOT cover up sisters). Everybody’s knowledge in Islam isn’t the same so if you are so ‘righteous’, give da’wah in the nicest way…da’wah means ‘invitation’…you invite people with being an example first. You are causing fitnah amongst the community, and know that posting pictures of another muslim and ridiculing them is backbiting…open your Qur’an and see what is reads about backbiting, have mercy on yourselves and on your sisters for their HONOR, blood and property is still sacred on you. Posting pics on them and ridiculing them NO MATTER WHAT YOUR INTENTION is, is completely haraam…you have violated your sisters. It never said anything about the muslim women who are completely covered up their blood, honor and property are sacred to you-NO it says the MUSLIM meaning the human being who declares “la ilaha illallah, mohammad ar rasoolullah”. To those who have this page up, and those brothers outside of this page who condone this- Respect yourselves, and analyze yourselves before you get caught out there slipping….Sisters, compete with the West with education and technology- not your values, and compromising your deen, remember the muslim was here first before Shaytaan convinced the people to create statues out of the 5 righteous men, creating shirk and other religions. Be proud of being muslim for the sake of Allah not your parents nor your culture…Only real women are Muslim women, and pass that on to your kids or future kids nshallah. And for other sisters not wearing the hijab, or having it correctly make your intention to do so at some point in your lives. Meaning, make your intention and gradually work up to it; for example, wear the hijab once a month on a day other than friday if you go to the masjid, and slowly work your way until you’re comfortable. When I returned to my prayers it didn’t happen over night, I started off once every couple months, to couple times a month, to couple times a week, to a couple times during the day until i was able to reach 5x a day alhamdolillah. Allah is the most merciful and understanding…that between you and him. Lastly, qassam billahi el 3azim…la sama7 Allah! if I catch any of your clowns stalking my wife and I to take pictures…all I have to say is good luck…
Indeed – respecting people doesn’t mean respecting only those who share your exact understanding and practice of Islam or faith but all people no matter whether you agree with them or not.
Reblogged this on Stranger Tides and commented:
Absolutely true! Let’s rid the world of yet another double standard regarding women!
Hey Orbala….you should be thanking Hojabis for your recent fame cuz your usual blogs were putting people to sleep. Without us you’re just another unnoticed blogger. Glad we could help!
❤ What a brave response to criticism! So glad you guys somehow came across this article. No wonder y’all banned me #sadFace I am SO hurt I shed a couple of tears, too. #moretears Seriously, though, I couldn't think of a more decent way to accept criticism. Peeeace!
Hey, you know what, though? I’m intrigued that you’ve been reading my blog posts. Who woulda thunk! But geez, what’s with the bitterness, man? Why you resent me just cuz I’m a kick-ass blogger – what I ever do to you, bruh! #moreAndMoreTears You know, you can open up a blog, too. Blogging is for everyone, and it’s fun, and it’s easy, and it’s aaaawwwwesommme!
Also, smile – it’s sunnah!
P.S. You’re welcome for the plenty of traffic your group must be getting, thanks to my article 😉 Never mind the reason people are prolly joining your group (you might be vainly thinking it’s because they sympathize with you after my vicious “attack” on y’all, ai?). #kThen #oneLuv
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“you should be thanking Hojabis for your recent fame cuz your usual blogs were putting people to sleep”
Interesting. Weren’t you talking (within the safety of your actual group) about how *she* expanded *your* membership with her article, not the other way around? Fascinating the things we say in private.
LOL. Girrrlll … ya, I do what I can to spread luv and invite people to the good! #likeAtrueHojabi
this gave me a headache and that comment made me laugh,like seriously love, you should be grateful to’em, you’re all famous in the blogsphere coz of’em. all the lady intended to say was omg omg omg our little hopeless gossip group’s effin famous all thanks to you!!!!! we can never thank you enough. she makes me angry. sigh.
i should maybe take my hijab off when i go outside today, i really need some fresh air and cool wind to calm my aching head after reading all those captions and comments and tweets.
i loves you
reading your blog since, 2009? woah!
Love. ❤ Careful, though – the group's members might stalk you and take photos of you. Then again, as girls have pointed out elsewhere, they wish they were great enough to have been included among the hOjabis of this group – must be an honor! Besides, to have all your sins firgiven cuz a felloow Muslim is gossiping about you… Omg, I want!!!
Thank you so much for this!
It makes me so sad that you’d even have to write such an extensive post on hijabi-shaming. What has the Ummah succumb to? It is so upsetting to see that the same men (AND women) that should be loving, encouraging and honouring us as per the sense of brotherhood established by our beloved prophet (pbuh) are actually the first to condemn and shame us. What have we done to ourselves? These are the very people Allah has condemned in the Qur’an; the hypocrites who say they believe, but whose hearts are tarnished by wickedness, hatred and blackness.
That’s what I found so ironic and hypocritical (and thus un-Islamic – no, actually anti-Islamic) about this thing! What kind of Islam would approve of what these Muslim girls and boys are doing to these Muslim girls?
Thank you for this article. I knew dat a lot of muslims judge eachother preferbly when it concerns clothing en specially the hijab. But that they have a website to mock sisters is new to me. Thnak you again, you maybe made some people think…
How true! Judging is most common when it’s about a woman’s clothing choices!
Orbala, thanks for quoting my blog, it made me read yours and i can see that the term hojabi is not just used as slang by muslim teens in the UK. Im going to continue to use the term because it creates a healthy debate and helps in defining and redefining the boundaries,if there are any, of what constitutes a good Muslim. Youve raised a number of issues in your piece and the question i have is..what is the definition of hijab in Islam? Look forward to commencing a healthy debate!
Thanks for your comment, Gul!
There are a million of sources out there on the “definition” of hte term hijab – and I’m personally not concerned with the meaning of hijab because it’s different for each person. Once upon a time in Islamic history, it used to include covering the face; today, most scholars don’t believe thta’s a requirement. Some say hair, hands, feet, skin, curves, etc.; others say it’s more focused on behavior, character, etc. I prefer the latter definition along with whatever works for different people. Because it’s usually tied to women and has been reduced entirely to a head covering that is foolishly believed to prevent rape and harassment (!!), I am more interested in the “why” than the “what” of the issue – as with everything, Islam is more interested in people’s intentions than in the act itself.
So, yeah, I’m not interested in defining hijab, not for myself and not for others. People should do whatever they believe is best for them given their personal and collective circumstances. I also hate talking about the hijab because these days, that’s *all* Muslim women have been reduced to – what they wear and don’t wear, their bodies, their choice of attire, etc. And I’m tired of it, so pardon me but this isn’t my type of debate to indulge in 🙂
But you’ve just answered my question so thank you Orbala!
I think this marvelous post of yours should be read in combination with the one about Hijab Policing.
I have come to the realization that all the patronizing hijab lectures, images etc. create an environment in which this vicious gossip & slander is possible.
Here’s another brother with seemingly prorgessive soundbites, but in the end, more lecturing: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A3cxqvgWADY
And there is even more, on Ummahfilms: (which I used to like, actually -there were some nice/funny ones) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F4jQi0Gjy3M
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Yes, totally agree with that; hijab policing creating an environment of backbiting and slander. In fact; I think hijab policing is exactly the same as People of Walmart… mocking others for the sake of entertainment.
Agreed! It’s hard to condemn men for policing our hijab when so many women themselves promote the same policing as a form of entertainment.
Case in point, see the comment above from the “hOjabi” group admin…. Disturbing.
And something which I began to realize just yesterday about all the preachy films & memes about True/Good Hijab: Regardless of all the pious and progressive-sounding soundbites and disclaimers, these lectures reinforce the idea that a Muslim womans dress choices are open for debate, critique and (dis)approval by other Muslims, mainly men.
What those preachers should say in reply on questions as the one asked to Omar sulaiman is: “It’s none of your business.” Full stop.
No conditionalities, like “unless it’s a family man dealing with his wife/daughter/sister” (Yasir Qadhi) or “a womans hijab is her families/husbands responsibility” (Hamza Yusuf)
Any conditionality basically boils down to a not respecting a womans freedom & autonomy to make her own dress choices, which all these gentlmen applaud – when women make conventional & conservative dress choices THEY approve of.
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…. ya Rabb! The Omer Suleiman video just totally hurt my brain. God, today’s been a full-ass day of patriarchy. I just finished reading a book on Islamic law, an edited volume titled “Islamic Law in Theory: Studies in Jurisprudence” edited by Kevin Reinhart and Robert Gleave, and *none* of the 13 chapters are written by women … and the book’s published in 2014. I want to scream at the level patriarchy in practice.
I, too, used to love and worship the Ummah Films misogynyst Baba Ali. Back in 2006. So glad I was able to eventually detect how full he is of patriarchy. “Sister, that’s not hijab” and “seasonal hijabis” are such patriarchal statements. Go to hell; no one cares what you think about *women’s* choice of clothing!!
Yes, that film by Omer Suleiman is really mind-blowingly patriarchal. Of the benevolent kind, but still. Sometimes I think full-blown Wahhabi/Salafi patriarchy is actually less harmfull because it is there so clearly.
But all these neo-traditionalist pseudo-Sufi sugarcoated patriarchal benevolence…….is even more sickening actually, because it’s so easy to fall for it.
Just a few years ago, I would have applauded the article about the woman’s mosque by Yasir Qadhi, or Hamza Yusufs apologetics, and Umar Suleimans preachyness.
And on Ummahfilms: I also loved those films around 2006. Now I see, just like you, what is really going on. Or, as my dear, beloved dad always says: “There is the text, and the subtext.”
And yes, all these men lecturing women on how to dress while they have NEVER in their life worn hijab & can’t even come close to understand how complicated, expensive, uncomfortable, overheating & vulnerable for discrimination & racism always wearing conservative hijab can make a woman!
But what is very important, imo, is to see & decide which Muslim men are our allies. Do all those scholars that want to modify patriarchy really stand with us, or do they want to take the angle out of our resistance by throwing some crumbs at us and basically saving patriarchal structures?
Because, I have seen two lectures, by both Hamza Yusuf and Quran Speaks, in which they use the word patriarchy and denounce it. But – do they really mean it?
These fabulous articles might also be of interest to you & the readers:
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Absolutely loved both pieces! Thank you!
You’re welcome, jan!
Love, LOVE it when you call me jaan 😍😍
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I love the word jan, just like I love the word habiba.
Another beautiful word, in my native language, is “gudu”. (Pronounce as “goodoo”) It means wealth, treasure, goods, but also “darling” – My grandma, God rest her soul, used to call me that.
“I hate talking about the hijab because these days, that’s *all* Muslim women have been reduced to – what they wear and don’t wear, their bodies, their choice of attire, etc.”
Yes! Talk about objectification……..
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And all that awful double talk going on………
We should also really get into the whole “choice” thing. Here, Hamza Yusuf legitimizes the wearing of the hijab, because Muslim women “chose” it. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QNIegkeu5AI
But in this film, he legitimizes the hijab by saying that it is shar3i, which in this context means, prescribed by sharia & saying that it is “part of the deen: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XJE9YNZHO-0
So which one is it? Choice, or obligation in Islam?
And furthermore, what does “choice” mean, exactly? What does it mean in the pscychological, scientific sense of the word? Is “choice” the only way to legitimize a practice?
And what if X is a choice, but a really bad, unhealthy or harmful choice? Should one respect it simply because it’s a choice? If so, why? If not, why not?
Is simply stating “in my opinion/interpretation hijab is obliged in Islam” not enough validation/legitimization? If so, why? If not, why not?
The problem with this double talk (hijab as “choice” when legitimizing it to non-Muslims and hijab as “obligation” when legitimizing it to Muslims) is that it hides what really is going on, and all those questions I posted above.
You see, the strange thing is that the VERY same people who advocate “choice” when legitimizing hijab aren’t pro-choice at all when the choice is something they deem un-Islamic?
Because, if choice is the legitimazation of a practice, would the pro-hijab-choice-activists also support a womans choice not to wear hijab or adhere to the patriarchal rules many mainstream male Muslims deem Islamic?
Another interesting take on this is the debate between two Muslim women, Egyptian-American journalist Mona Eltahawy, and American Heba Ahmed, about the niqab ban in France: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dtDzDXg2GQU
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I agree with you that the group sounds vindictive and petty, but I feel a couple of things have led to such behavior. I think men are tired of being demeaned just for being masculine. Every social media post mocks men, touts female superiority, and tells men why they aren’t acting like “real” men. Heard of the term wallah bro? Think of how many times the media and American faith leaders have put women on pedestals and mocked men. Think this has brought a division between the genders where ridicule is the only response. I’m female but one of the reasons I don’t call myself feminists is the superiority I see in fellow feminists. I love my dad and brothers and feel they are just as important as my mom and sisters. Feminists say it’s about equality but their actions suggest otherwise.
Yeah, that doesn’t sound right at all. Not a fan of the whole #poormen idea. None of that is true. Men treat women poorly because women bring men to that point – excellent job finding a way to blame women in an issue where I thought it was impossible.
Salaam sister. Although I agree with the gist of the article that “slut-shaming” is wrong and calling a fellow Muslim derogatory names like “hojabi” is highly detestable, however I sense a very strong feminist and anti-male tone in this article. You stated that there are no male equivalents of words like “hoe”, etc.. but fact is historically (& to this day) women are the gate keepers of chastity because if there were no women willing to be sexually “loose” men would not be able to have sex outside of committed and legitimate relationships like marriage. Which is why historically in ALL traditional cultures both men & women were expected to guard their chastity, but greater emphasis was put on women because they had the ability to deny men because it’s men who have always been the initiators in any kind of relationship due to a biologically designed stronger sexual drive.
If there are no women willing to give sex then no man can have sex. It’s simple. And this is where dress comes into play as well as BOTH genders are expected to dress modestly in a way that does not expose their Awrah. For women their Awrah is different from that of men because men are biologically more easily sexually stimulated from physical appearances of the opposite gender. Only recently with the advent of the hypersexualized culture of the West that degrades female sexuality and has normalized skimpy and revealing clothing have we begin to see this degrading culture being Incorporated into the lives of Muslims unknowingly.
This reminds me of a famous Hadith of the Prophet (PBUH): Rasul Allah (sal Allahu alaihi wa sallam) mentioned: “There will be women who will be dressed but they will be naked. Their heads will be like the humps of camels. They will not enter Jannah and will not even smell the scent of Jannah while it can be smelt from a far distance.” [Sahih Muslim] Another hadith mentions that one can smell the scent of Jannah from a distance traveled in seventy years.
… No. That comment is so full of sexism I can’t even. I don’t entertain such nonsense anymore. Bye.
Could you elaborate what you mean by “no”?
“No. That comment is so full of sexism I can’t even. I don’t entertain such nonsense anymore. Bye.”
I take this as an acknowledgement on your part that you have no argument.
Also, since your only response has been a weak dismissal of my argument I will be posting a refutation on my site of that portion of your article that reeks of anti-male narrative.
You might not want to respond but I believe others have the right to see a refutation of the bigotry and arrogance you have shown for the male gender.
You’re right – I should not be dismissing sexism. Sexism needs to be called out openly.
– please go ahead and write a “refutation” of anything I write whatsoever. And post it wherever you’d like. You say that like that’s a threat to me or my views here.
– We all know how badly the male perspective is needed everywhere.
– – You still dare to ask me what’s sexist about what you’re saying? Not only is the hadith so sexist (because let’s not pretend that doesn’t apply to men, too) but you literally just blamed WOMEN for the promiscuity and irresponsibility of MEN. I mean … what? Seriously?
– LOL @ arrogant shown for the male gender (what does that even mean)? Don’t you think it’s remarkably telling that a pro-woman post in your opinion is anti-man? Think about that for a second. Think about why it is that attacking the objectification of women hijabis means, for you, an anti-male perspective.
– You “sense a very strong feminist and anti-male tone” in my post. So? This blog is a very, very feminist space, and if that disturbs you, don’t bother visiting it. Clearly, feminist views and feminists are a threat to the existence for men with your view.
– Don’t embarrass “men” by lumping yourself with all of them. I’m very openly and proudly anti-patriarchal, and that includes being against perspectives like yours. Anti-patriarchy does not, as my 7-year-old niece will assure you and other insecure men, is not the same as anti-man. If for you, a fight against patriarchy = a fight against men, the problem is that you can’t imagine a world that’s not patriarchal (and by definition harmful to women). Think about THAT, too.
– Isn’t it also telling that you think pointing out a fact like “there’s no male equivalent of hoe” is threatening to you? That’s tragic.
– There’s no male equivalent of ANY of the sexist terms we have, including cunt, bitch, whore, slut, hoe, etc. Deal with it. The reason isn’t that women are the natural gate-keeper of chastity or whatever (lol @ this. What EVEN?). The reason is that male sexuality is deemed so powerful and uncontrollable that men are allowed to get away with being as unchaste as they’d like and women are blamed for male promiscuity. Oooh, I have a blog post on this, too. It’s one of the more recent ones. Check it out.
Yeah, this could take a while. I don’t allow myself to explain sexism 101 unless I’m being paid for my time and service. I’ll do it when I’ve more time later on, so for now, what I’ve said will have to suffice.
It must be very unfortunate for you that majority of the world does not share you contorted world view. You seem to live in a little snow-globe of your own.
Secondly, I’m not the one who’s frustrated at the biological differences of the two genders. I’m perplexed at your unrealistic rantings about the male gender. Sucks for you though that everything you enjoy from the cell phones to the computer was creation of a man’s genius. Your entire world was built by men.
Thank you for the revelation that the world is run by men. Who would’ve ever thought to observe that. Brava!
actually the first man who made the AI and the Artificial Intelligence test was a gay man called alan turing, and the mathematician behind the digital logs of your computers was a lady named Ada Lovelace (who was far from manhating, she loved her father). The man behind who saved many lives from Tuberculosis from the point of it being a dangerous disease to a very rare phenomena now is a transgender man named Alan Hart. The lady who created the first university was a very rich but charitable Muslim Egyptian woman (Fatima), the lady behind your modern dna structures and helped us know about the basis of biology was a lady named Rosalind Franklin, the lady behind a lot of discoveries regarding radiation was a Polish girl named Marie Curie. Yes, 2 of these people are male, but this shows that most of the ‘haraam’ people and women have created the world around you and potentially saved ur life even with such social challenges, while you are just a greasy butthurt bigoted person with no achievements =)
1). A gay man is still a man. Not sure what you’re trying to prove there lol.
2). The first computer was invented by two men http://lemelson.mit.edu/resources/john-mauchly-j-presper-eckert
3). No such thing as a “transgender” “man”. Only a man.
4). A lady was not “behind” my DNA structure. That sounds absurd as hell lol.
So you cherry picked a couple of (highly doubtable) examples when the overwhelming discoveries and inventions are the products of men. Not women.
Even if i were to go with your claims of women finding DNA or inventing computers (lol) they still used technology by men to make those discoveries.
Wow, these responses are the most pathetic claims ever. E.g., the DNA point is a well-known fact so go read more on that. Transgender men …. yeah, this is an issue of a complete lack of knowledge on proper terminology.
I can’t even.
Ada Lovelace made most of the analytical engine, which was done 50 YEARS BEFORE A COMPUTER WAS MADE. without the analytical engine, the computers would be nothing.
“They still used technology made by men to make those discoveries”
except men are the ones that pushed out women from colleges and universities even from the world’s oldest one in Egypt, despite a woman creating it. It was patriarchal standards that pushed women to domestic work and treated them like absolute garbage while men had more freedoms. And unfortunately, a lady discovered how your DNA structure looked like with the use of x-rays (which Marie Curie found out the properties of, so no it was a girl using a woman’s invention). Women were pushed out of any and all jobs for centuries and yet so many brave girls went out of their way only to have their successes overlooked, then you claim men are behind everything? If Group A marginalised and abused Group B and kept them from doing anything outside of their home, then Group A would obviously discover a lot of things before Group B did BECAUSE YOU DID NOT GIVE THEM THE OPPORTUNITY. Alan Turing wouldve made more discoveries as along with a lot of gay or bisexual men, but guess what? He was sentenced to death before he could do anything else for the ‘crime’ of homosexuality. And any woman that were to talk back and invent things of her own prior the 19th century? Trialled for witchcraft. There is no one else to blame but you bigots, and even when people such as Turing, Hart, Fatima and Franklin make these discoveries, you seize them and erase their history.
Here are more daily lady inventions and discoveries and lets see how much you will create a fiasco on “technologies made by men!!!”
– Circular saw
– Elevated railways
– Engine mufflers
– Fire escapes
– Medical syringe
– Discovered about Earth’s inner core
– Solar heating
– Pulsars and Galaxy Rotation Problem
– Compiler programming
Someone’s chromosomes nor gender doesn’t determine their curiosity and their willingness to discoveries, but their opportunities do. If insecure men have been continuously taking away opportunities for women, do you think they would be able to accomplish it? If women treated men the same way in Europe back then, women would have obviously discovered the same things before men would. You seize someone’s opportunity and freedom, and complain they can’t do anything?
Women are starting to bite back as they do much more college degrees but you are just hurt from their success. Gender equality hurts to you, yet you are fine with shitting on women, transgender people and other marginalised peoples. Good going! Glad that your mindset is unattractive otherwise I can’t stand the idea of idiots being bred in the world, mg123.
Loovely blog you have