Thursday, February 19, 2009

Afghan Next Top Model - seriously

Not my typical blog post, but what the hey! That means it's my own true forum.

I was both heartened and dismayed to hear on NPR this morning that there is going to be an Afghan Next Top Model contest. My deep and sincere hope is that they can truly show the beauty and creativity of modest dressing to inspire young people living within Muslim culture, whatever country they may reside in. I would dislike seeing an attempt to recreate the shallow, unamusing American TV show where the girls (and guys) run around in next to nothing, behaving badly. Read the entire article from Radio Free Europe here.

A web site I love is Hijab Style.

When I've travelled I'm always astounded by how stylish the women are - like Jackie O (and in some areas the Middle Ages) BUT, what I always bring home with me, is how nice it is to be out in public without guys gaping and hooting. I've seen everything from the very stylish European/ Syrian/ Iranian look to pink fuzzy bunny slippers and flannel PJ's peeking out of the bottom of a seriously black draped jilbab and hijab dressed woman in a grocery store to the wild nomadic tribal outfits. Nobody blinks. As long as all of the bases are covered there's this amazing array of fashion that we in the US are not exposed to.

I spent a really delightful couple of hours in the Dubai Historical Museum (it was the only cool place around) watching a gaggle of teenaged girls "push the limits" much like their American counterparts at the mall. While their outfits were certainly modest by US standards, (and technically hijab) I could hear in the back of my mind the parental grumping about tight tops, skirts and jeans. The various headwraps alone and the nuances of those little drapes of fringe could fill volumes!

In Kish Iran last year at a rug show, I was interviewed by a delightful young woman about my opinions on Iranian rugs. Off camera, the questions were all about how I perceived and experienced hijab. My personal experiences have always been great. The first few days always feel awkward, then later when I have to go without headware, I feel really naked and exposed.

All of the women I spoke with there told me that they felt liberated by wearing hijab and judged on their intellegence and ability to do a job rather than their appearance. Funny on how we see a woman wearing hijab in the US and judge her on her appearance rather than her ability......
I'm certainly no expert, but it's refreshing to go out in public and not see anyone's body parts hanging out - female or male.


RugloverMary in Victoria, BC said...

Awesome! post Thea. I completely agree with your comments on how we dress. It would be very nice to go out around town and not be forced to see people dressed in clothes that are too tight, or too small. Showing 3/4 of your skin is not sexy, it is trashy!

arizona carpet cleaners said...

It's great to see the creativity world wide. I enjoy it.