Sometime last year I had a very interesting conversation with a college mate of mine. We were discussing the headscarf and what it meant and symbolized in our cultures. Even though we were both Middle Eastern and Muslim, we had completely different thoughts on the veil. In my opinion, the headscarf should not limit anyone; it should not limit who your friends are, where you hangout, and what you do. Many people disagree with me on that one but to each their own. See, in my culture, the headscarf is more of a traditional symbol than a religious one. You might try and disagree that in Palestinian culture it isn’t traditional but take a look around, veiled Muslim women are not all the image of modesty and chaste. We do not dress very modestly and we do not act very modestly at times. And this statement doesn’t include everyone, but what I have seen lately it includes the majority, including myself. See I am not criticizing the females in my culture because I understand. I wear the headscarf mainly for religion but also because it is socially unacceptable for females my age with my background not to wear it. As for my friend, in her country, women only wore the headscarf when they were fully ready to take on the religious responsibilities of the headscarf. I shared a little story with her about a friend of mine from back home that took her by surprise. See, my friend was veiled and she dated, a lot. She was also somewhat sexually active with the men she dated and some of them even were allowed to see her hair. This took my college mate by surprise. She was speechless and confused. What confused even more was when I told her I went out to bars and nightclubs on the weekend with my friends. See, her idea of veiled Muslim women is that we sit at home all day being oppressed and worshiping Allah (swt) 24/7. I kind of wish the last part was true though; my faith isn’t that strong and I would love if I had the strength to resist doing a lot of what I do. This conversation with my friend brought about a topic that I love to discuss and that is the desexualization of Muslim women.
Wrote this on my flight from RDU to Chicago. Just something I needed to get of my back.
A letter to him- intrigued, infatuated, obsessed…
Hello darling, how’s it been? Lately I’ve been missing you but I don’t know what I miss. I really don’t know you well but you have been on my mind a lot lately and I just wanted you to know. I pray that you are reading this letter and that you are smiling because you know how much I love that smile of yours. Or maybe you don’t know. But I do love it. Maybe even love you. Well maybe not. I don’t know much about you except what you write and decide to share with the world. I know you loved her for a very long time and that you might be missing her. I know that you keep me up at night with your intriguing ideas and thoughts. I know that I am borderline obsessed with your beautiful deep voice and your laugh. I know you are shy and that you lack confidence. I am sorry dear that I couldn’t send this sooner but I’m finally gaining the confidence I very much needed to write this. I remember the night I first meet you, it was a great end to a long day. Well not great. I was having one of those days where I let my emotions and insecurities get to me. All I wanted to do once I first saw you was grab you aside and tell you that you were special, that I wanted to know you, all of you. The sight of you paralyzed me even though I didn’t know your name, who you were, I didn’t know anything expect that I wanted you. Maybe it was the chemicals in my brain, maybe it was fate, or maybe it was all in my head, but I felt connected to you immediately. See I believe our lives are just a series of beautiful random events that bring people together, and that night was no exception, it brought me to you. That night you confessed it all, sharing some of your most valuable pieces and not for a second could I get my eyes off of you. I finally got the confidence a few weeks later to introduce myself to you. After that, I started seeing you more around grounds, almost everyday and my infatuation only grew. You might not know, but I can feel it when you watch me from across the lawn or across the dance floor. I am sorry I ignored your existence a few times, and sorry for not sending this to you directly. I made a promise to myself that I am willing to give you a chance if you gave me a chance, and I hope you reading this and knowing it’s all about you and for you. We might not last a week, we might not last a month we might not ever be, but I’m willing to put my insecurities and commitment issues aside for you. From all the men in my life, I choose you. Well at least for now. And I am sorry if I am not all that you want. I always have been to white, not pretty enough, to emotionally insecure, emotionally unavailable, not good enough. And sorry if I’m still any of those but I’m willing to love and accept your imperfections before your perfections and I hope you can do the same for me. Darling, I’ll leave you with this letter; so let me know what you want to do. I beg you not to doubt for a minute that this isn’t for you. Please sweetheart let me know.
As I sit here packing my bags for summer back home, modesty crosses my mind. A dear friend of mine taught me that it is always better to be over dressed than underdressed. You can never go wrong with a pair of black heels, red lipstick, nice jeans, and of course a smile. Recently I have been trying to dress more modestly because after all I do wear the headscarf. I decided to wear the headscarf when i was only 10 years old. My parents begged me not to do, telling me I was too young and i didn’t understand the full concept of the hijab. My mother didn’t wear the headscarf until she was 45. The reason I wore it so young was I was afraid of dying. I lived in a war zone; I passed by tanks everyday, I passed by kids my age throwing rocks at jeeps, I passed by armed soldiers. I was terrified. I truly feared the idea of dying young, but when you are Palestinian, you need to get accustomed to the idea. I believed that if I sacrificed something for Allah and died I would go to heaven. I was one out of two girls in my all girls classroom to have the head scarf on. At first it was hard. It was always hot, and I felt something missing. At that time I did not understand the full concept of modesty or what it was or how it worked. As I grew older I began to wonder more and more about why religious women from all faiths dress modestly. I was curious about the roots of the modern day headscarf and how it came to be. Many of you might disagree with my idea of how it came to be and why I wear the headscarf but to each their own. During my junior year of high school I was enrolled in an Islamic History class. For this class I had to do an internal assessment for the IB program. The topic I choose to research was the veil. My research revolved around the concept of the veil, as we know today,as being a part of culture and tradition or part of Islamic law. Before I reveal what my two years of research led me to believe, I want to know what you guys think. Is the Veil part of tradition or Islamic Law, and why?
Amazing! summarizes my life :)
Greetings lovely people,
When I first told my family I was going to rush I got many “huh!’s” and “why would you want to do that?”. I went into rush with an open mind. My RA was a Kappa Delta and for a whole semester it was the only sorority I knew existed. Before rush, I found out that my favorite author was a Chi Omega and at that time all I wanted to be was either a XO or KD. During rush I LOVED both KD and XO, they are really good chapters at UVa and the sisters are amazing and outstanding. But what I did not expect was that I was going to join a house i never thought of and i thought “Gamma” was too scientific. Two minutes after I walked into the GPhi house I felt at home, rush didnt seem like a joke anymore. I was smiling from my heart and I loved how all the sisters were in the same black t-shirts with a “g” on the front. I was greeted by a fourth year sister who looked so happy and pleased to have me. I felt at ease. I was sitting in the chapter room and I was looking around and I felt at home. I knew I had to be a GPhi! Once I accepted my Bid, I had 100+ friend requests on Facebook, with girls I didn’t even know telling me they are so glad to call me their sister. It was a great feeling. Up until that point, most of my friends at UVa were international. I lived at the IRC and I did not have many opportunities to interact with other first years in new and old dorms. But Gamma Phi changed that.
Bid night was one of the scariest yet best nights of my life! I felt so fortunate to be in a sorority that didn’t judge me. It is not everyday that a practicing muslim women joins a sorority at a southern school. I was beyond horrified by what people might think and to be honest I got a lot of criticism for joining. People have this stereotype about sorority girls and when you do not fit the stereotype they find it intimidating. What I loved about Gamma Phi was that it was not a cookie cut sorority. Each sister is individually unique in her own way and that really is what makes Gamma Phi different from all other house at UVa.
It took me time to open up to many of the sisters. Im personally not a fan of Frat parties, and that limited my social life first year. However, as time went by I got closer and closer to a lot of my sisters. I noticed that I always had someone to like my Facebook status, bake me cookies when I was sad, give me a ride, cheer me up, to go out with, I had sisters who cared. When I came back to UVa in the fall of 2011 I made a promise to my self to prioritize my sisters in my life. However, that didn’t really happen. I got caught up with my social life, school work, CIOs, and my depression. I was contemplating deactivating until i ran into one of my beautiful pledge sisters, SImay, who convinced me otherwise. She reminded me why I loved being a Gamma Phi, she reminded me of how much everyone cared about me, she reminded me why I needed to stay. During spring rush I fell in love with GPhi all over again. once we got our new members I swore to love them everyday all day! I couldn’t wait to get a little. But with a turn of events, I had t leave UVa for the semester and I never got to get the little I wanted so desperately.
I visited UVa during my time off, and each time I was in town I would be greeted by all my sisters with hugs and kisses. They might not know this, but they have done so much for me and they have helped overcome many obstacles just by providing their non-judgmental love. I will always and forever be a Gamma Phi and Zeta Beta will always have a place in my heart <3
As I mentioned in my first post, I am Palestinian. Nothing makes me prouder or happier than talking about my country. That is why I am involved in SPJP at UVa and I love the whole concept of the group! I lived in palestine for 12 years and 2 summers. It is home, it is where my heart is, it is where i want to be when i am having a rough day, it is where i want to grow old.
My whole life i have been the underdog. Not only am i Palestine, i am a Palestinian female. not only was i oppressed by Israelis, i was oppressed by the men in my society. I am the nightmare of most arab men , you know a female with a voice and a very loud one that is. I was never the one who took shit from anyone and I dont intend on starting anytime soon. They call me “disrespectful” for not respecting their disrespect towards me, as if being a female is the worse thing that can possibly happen. Growing up I had to fight society while trying to stay alive. If it wasn’t for my parents and their open mindedness, I dont think I could have made it. My parents placed me in a private all girls school for 10 years, because that is what society said was the right thing to do, you know, segregate the sexes. My junior year of high school I transfered to a Quaker Friends school which was co-ed. My parents didn’t hear the end of it from my aunts and uncles.”how could you send your out of control teenage daughter to a co-ed school?” despite the fact that my two male cousins and my sister attended the school before me. My aunt sent her son to the same school to “keep an eye on me” because of course I cant take care of my self and I have no self restrain. My parents always trusted me, and even until today, being at an american college, they trust that I will make the right decision because they brought me up right. Now, i am getting ready to head back to Palestine for the summer; I am more than excited yet at the same time im really scared. Im scared of the blame game. The game where if I yell at guy for whistling at me in the middle of the street I would be blamed for “seducing” him in the first place. They make it seem as if it is not my basic human right to dress anyway I want.