woman in hijab

The beautiful fabric of a hijab appeals to many young Muslim women.
Image: Shutterstock

The hijab, contrary to what many in the western world believe, is sometimes a comfort to girls.  There are blogs, websites and Facebook pages devoted to love of the garment.  While most people in the U.S. do not understand how something that covers your whole body could ever be good, there are a lot of supporters elsewhere.

Why do some girls choose to wear them?  Most people think it’s all about religion.  If you’re Muslim, you have to wear them, right?  Wrong.  Not all Muslim girls or women wear them.  They are not always required.  Some women wear only a headscarf with western clothing.  Or, they may not cover their hair at all.  All Muslim families are different.

Well, don’t men make the women wear them?  In some extreme families, they might. Usually it is considered to be a choice.  In fact, one girl said her parents cried when she asked if she could wear one.  They actually tried to discourage her from it, at least until graduating from high school.  She did it anyway.

girl in hijab

A hijab can sometimes be a comfort to girls and women.
Image: Shutterstock

Why?  In her words, she said other girls got attention for wearing a pretty piece of cloth.  She wanted attention and praise as well.  Also, in her community, a lot of other girls were doing so.  In the west, it’s almost like the time girls start wearing makeup.  If all your friends are – and getting complimented for their look – you might want to do it too.  Yet, your parents might not be too excited about it.  It’s a step toward adulthood.

Some girls who wear the hijab say it helps them to hide.  The teenage years are often the most self-critical time.  Many girls feel ugly, even if they aren’t.  Covering up can actually seem safer.  People cannot look at and judge you if they can’t properly see you.  It can actually bolster self-esteem.

Yet, if you live a country which is not predominantly Muslim, you can also get teased for it.  Is there ever a stage where you get tired of wearing one?  For a lot of girls, the answer is yes.  It might be called the rebellion stage.   It might be a time to question your own reasons.

Kids from every culture around the world ask questions as they grow up. Does my clothing define who I am?  Do these clothes represent the real me?  If I could wear what the “cool kids” are wearing, would that make me cool?  Do brands matter?  How much skin is too much to show?  Is a neon-yellow t-shirt too bright?  Can I get away with wearing “this,” whatever the “this” may be?

Some of them are questions that we continue to ask our whole lives.