Why playing dress-ups is a bad idea

Friday was ‘play dress-ups’ day, when Kiwi women were encouraged to wear headscarves and pretend to be Muslim, to show solidarity with their Muslim brothers and sisters after the terrible Christchurch massacre.

I really cannot think of anything more patronising than that.

Two minutes silence to honour the dead is a respectful thing. No one in their wildest dreams ever wanted this to happen, certainly not on New Zealand soil.

However, the hijab is not a piece of clothing for Muslim women to cover their heads on a bad hair day. It is a symbol of the suppression and subjugation of women. quote.

As a Muslim woman myself, I think this is nothing but cheap tokenism. It’s a gimmick and pretty distasteful. All Muslims in New Zealand appreciate the sentiment, and the aroha we have received has been phenomenal since the terrorist attack last week, but support does not have to look like this.

end quote.

I am thoroughly ashamed of those people who view this as all a bit of fun. Don a headscarf, make sure it goes with the colour of your eyes and post your photos on Facebook. Show everyone how inclusive you are! quote.

Hijabs are not pieces of clothing to be worn as a costume or as a way to look cool or ‘woke’ in front of friends.

You can’t help a Muslim woman with a photo, when you then have the privilege to take the hijab off at the end of the day. Most people will remove their scarves when Friday ends whilst my mother and sisters continue to be abused – as it’s their religious outfit and not a costume.

Many people have also talked about men wearing scarves and others about whether people can still go to the pub for a drink with their hijab on. It is a mockery and doesn’t shine light on the violence, vitriol and abuse Muslim women go through on a daily basis.

end quote.

Go to the pub in your hijab… oh good grief… quote.

Older Muslim women that I have personally spoken to about this support the idea as they wish to pacify non-Muslim Kiwis and make them feel good about themselves, but this makes me incredibly sad.

This also stinks of white saviour mentality, where Muslim women need to be rescued by (largely) white folk. This type of ideology plays a part in the pyramid of white supremacy and must be acknowledged so people can stop virtue signalling and understand the impact of their actions. end quote.

I agree that it is totally patronising, but I honestly don’t think it is anything to do with white supremacy. Ignorance, yes. Stupidity, yes. A total lack of understanding of someone else’s culture, yes. White supremacy, no. quote.

Please do not support something as stupid as this and next time, hear the voices of young Muslim women, feminist Muslim women, rainbow Muslim people, young Muslim men, disabled Muslim people. Find out what are they saying and how they are feeling.

Stuff end quote.

The writer chose to remain anonymous, so I cannot congratulate her in person on one of the very few pieces of sensible journalism that has come out of this tragedy, but I salute her nonetheless.

Those of us who read the news and current affairs are well aware of the women in Islamic countries who risk their freedom for the opportunity to throw off the cloak of suppression that is the hijab. For western women to make light of it and play dress-ups for a day is patronising, insulting and tasteless. The Muslim women of New Zealand deserve better than this.