Last week I was sitting in my Sociology class when my professor asked the question: Can anyone define Taboos? I answered with the definition and an example about a taboo in my religion, which started a series of questions from my colleagues. Being the only Muslim woman wearing the head scarf (Hijab) present, one of the many questions asked to me was “Why do some woman that wear the head scarf wear those dresses (abayas) and then take them off when they arrive to school?” Then many of my classmates went on and on about how them, their daughters, etc. all witnessed Muslim girls undressing at certain places.
I answered that some girls are forced into wearing it by their parents which is against our religion, that wearing the Hijab/Abaya is a decision a Muslim woman makes on her own—so our religion is definitely not the answer. Another story was from a Non-Muslim Fordson high school alumni that said every morning there would be a line of “Arabic” girls waiting to put on make-up in the girls bathroom, and another line before the end of the day to wipe it off before they went back home to their parents.
All I could feel was embarrassment. As Muslims, were supposed to stand out and set good examples for Non-Muslims because these stories for example show that our every action is payed attention too. There is a wonderful quote that goes something like this that relates to my point: “Don’t tell them your a Muslim, show them your a Muslim”. Why dress one way somewhere and another somewhere else? That’s being unreal to yourself.