Saturday, October 13, 2012

Beheading Muslim Models

Asalamu Alaykom,

I'll agree that the title of this post is a grabber.  Let me assure you that Muslim models are being beheaded figuratively and not literally.

However, images are powerful things.  I've said that before and I'll continue to say that.  How we Muslim women allow ourselves to be portrayed in the media is important.

I've been creating a Pinterest board entitled Modest Modern Clothing.  For me, I get tired of only seeing ethnic clothes for Muslim women that either look Asian or Arabian.  I want to look like ME and my look, while eclectic, needs to remain more American than Egyptian.  I can think, "when in Rome..." but I can't really feel it.  I need to feel comfortable in my second skin.

On Pinterest, I'm careful to include only photos which are truly worthy of the title, "hijab" meaning that the skin and shape are covered.  I'll include photos without a scarf on the woman's head (because my goal is modesty not Muslim modesty) but I won't include photos which are meant to be sexy seductions disguised in lots of fabric.

First thing I notice is her chest.  On second look, I notice the outfit, which I actually like.  However, the "come hither" look in her eyes and the inability to use some of the fabric to cover up her chest stops me from pinning it.

I'm also not including outfits which are so daring and fun that their strong colors and wacky designs conjur up images of the circus.

I love my Malaysian sisters, but they boldly go where I fear to tread. It's a very young/fun look for hijab and I'm just not in the right time or place for it.  I really don't like to be a focus of attention for all the wrong reasons.  People are already eyeing me for being a foreigner here so I don't need to be a cuckoo perched way out there on the design limb.

Having given specifications for two extremes, let me tell you that neither of them bother me like headless women.  I'm not talking mannequins.  Those bother me because they are so lifeless---especially when headless.

Source: via Yosra on Pinterest

I'm talking about cropping photos to not show a woman's face:

Or cropping out not only her head but her neck and hands as well:

Source: via Yosra on Pinterest

Anyone else out there find that creepy?  Like the ghost of Eid Past has just floated into the room to warn Ibrahim Scrooge to pay more zakat?

But I included those two example on my Pinterest board because I liked the fashions and wasn't bothered enough.

However, the beheading of Muslim models gets too wierd for me when I see this:

The original ad was from Daly Dress, an Egyptian store I've started buying from (when I want to spend a lot of money to look like I have a lot of money).  The store did not behead the woman.  She was photographed and then put out there for public consumption.

Someone else came along and didn't like her face.  They had to have downloaded her, photo-shopped her and uploaded her again to the internet.  That's a lot of effort.

What I find alarming is the thought of a person (be it man or woman) who clicked the eraser from the toolbar  and began to rub out her features.  Away went her mouth.  Had it been in a pout?  Was she smiling?  Then he or she went for her nose and then...the windows to the soul.  How strange it must have been to rub out someone's eyes.  Her hair remained.

Strange how her curvy shape was untouched.  Her outfit clings to hips and waist and chest.  All of that is un-Islamic---as is showing her hair.  Showing a woman's face is not considered haram under the guidelines of moderate Islam.  So, someone felt close enough to Islam to feel the need for modesty yet was far enough away from Islam to not realize how wiping out her identity was backwards.

That's scary to me.

And it's not just one picture.

There's a whole series of this annihilation.  You can take a look here.

And the more I hunt on the web, the more I find pictures like these.

I don't like that.  I don't like that someone is erasing the women's faces but leaving their bodies for us to admire.  That actually runs counter to everything hijab is about.

And just when I thought I'd seen it all...

Yep!  Someone stuck a flower over her face.

I am making a stand to not use any pictures where the woman's face has been erased---or bedecked with huge petals.  I cherish Allah's creation and that includes my sisters in Islam.  If some model shows an expression which I find objectable then I will not use the picture at all rather than erase her face or cut her head off.

Let's be moderate Muslims who believe that showing pictures of women doesn't hurt Islam as much as technologically beheading them does.

I want to show images of happy, healthy Muslimahs wearing modern yet modest clothes.

Source: via Yosra on Pinterest

Even better I'd like to show lots of beautifully fashionable hijabis at work and at play in the real world.

The world needs more examples of Muslimahs not less.  Go ahead and be an example too.


Arezu In Wonderland said...

Some muslims erase faces from pictures because they think it`s haram to have pictures from people or animals with a soul.

I erase my own face on my blog, because i don`t want people to use my pictures an i don`t want people to know exacty who i am.

XO Arezu

Yosra said...

Asalamu Alaykom Arezu,


You and I don't know each other very well. This might be our first time exchanging ideas. Inshahallah it will be beneficial.

I really do want more voices on the blog than just mine. All of us on the 'net need to feel more community in our lives and that's one reason I respond to comments.

At the same time, I am very direct and I need to say something here about your avatar: it's really sexy and coy. It's the most undressed Disney princess ever. Yes, she's Princess Jasmine and she was in a kid's movie and yaaay for Disney BUT she's not modest. Nope. Really, she's not. She is your stand-in. People see her and think that you want her to represent you.

Now, what's weird for me is that you says, "I erase my own face on my blog". If you are taking away your own identity while at the same time substituting a sexy version of doesn't make sense to me.

I don't use pictures of myself and my family on my blog. I think there's only been one pic EVER of me on the blog. I agree that pics can be misused and abused. So, I made that decision to not have pics at all.

What ran through your mind when you erased your face?

The Muslims who are worried about creating images being haram are mistaken, in my opinion about photographs. Taking photos is not us creating an image. We are merely reproducing what God has made. I don't hang up pics on my walls like an icon or clutter framed photos like a shrine. I put my photos on the computer and in albums. I share them with family and friends. I love photography.

I don't love the erasing of Muslimah's identities.

You are free to do as you please. I did want to address your comments as honestly as I could. Again, since we don't know each other very well, I'm a little trepidacious about saying what I have but in the end I feel the need to be honest.

Love and light to you and yours :)

Yosra said...

Asalamu Alaykom Readers,

I came across this site:

And it was yet another warp in the weave. She beheaded herself. What's interesting to me is that she's a black woman but used white to cover her face. If you look down, you will see that her shirt is very tight. Her feelings of modesty were extreme in regards to not showing her face but not when it came to covering her chest. I'm not saying she can't dress that way or edit her photos. Of course she can! It's just a kind of study for me at this point and I'm collecting data.

Anybody else fascinated by this?