Heaps of the questions are about the hijab, the veil worn by some Muslim women, which wear covers the head and chest. You get the sense all these women are just so bloody sick of having their personal clothing choice become a conversation point. “Were you forced to wear that?” is a question that gets asked a lot.
The comments blacklisted in the video, from “mysterious,” to “exotic,” to the blunt and offensive, “What are you?,” all make women into objects of curiosity, rather than actual people. There is very, very rarely a reason to make an uninvited comment on what someone else is wearing, less still to pass judgement—and least of all to interrogate their choices, especially if it’s to imply that those choices are somehow wrong.
Check out these pictures from ‘Women in Solidarity with Hijabis’, a group that invites Muslim and non-Muslim women to post a picture of themselves in a headscarf to demonstrate solidarity. Post continues after gallery.
“I’m doing you a favor by hitting on you. No one else probably does because of that thing you wear on your head.” Ugh.
Depressingly, this kind of cultural superiority is a bit of a theme in the video. People approach Muslim women with these repetitive, preconceived notions that are misguided at best, but usually steer closer to insulting stereotypes. “Are you going to get an arranged marriage?” one girl gets asked. Comments like these assume women like the ones here are meek, passive, and lacking in agency. Just because they don’t exactly conform to a Western template of womanhood—whatever that is.
“I can free you,” one woman often gets told. “I know Muslim women are oppressed.” She genuinely looks like the least oppressed person I’ve ever seen—which is another thing I like about the video. The one thing these women do all have in common is that they are strong, articulate and funny, and packing some serious sass.