Kick-Ass Woman of the Week
Growing up in the Arab World, I watched as one of the prominent symbols of the region, the Hijab, evolved to become much more than a religious symbol, but into a political and social statement as well. Despite the general view that the Hijab is strictly an Islamic symbol, it is interesting to note that the practice’s history goes way back in the Judeo-Christian tradition, and there are several references to it in both New and Old Testaments.
Throughout the Middle East, there is general agreement that most veiled women wear the Hijab willingly. These women see the practice as a way to secure personal liberty in a global society that objectifies women, and one that gives them the freedom of movement and control over their bodies. Others believe that the veil itself objectifies women even further, especially if it is forced upon them.
A few weeks ago, a picture appeared on the extremely popular Facebook page “The Uprising of Women in the Arab World.” The image, seen above, shows Dana Bakdounis posing without her veil, holding a note that states she was forced to wear the veil for twenty years, and that she is making the choice to “feel the wind in [her] hair and body.”
The image sparked controversy across Facebook, whose administrators actually removed the photo from the page, blocked Dana’s profile, and blocked the administrators of the page. Facebook then claimed that they had made a mistake after receiving several notices of an infringement of their policy from some who saw the image and flagged it as being inappropriate.
Dana explained that in no way does her decision limit her faith in her religion. On the contrary, she feels that a journey that of self-exploration may in fact lead her back to wearing the hijab, but if that happens the decision will be hers and only hers. Hundreds of supporters added her as a friend and sent her emails commending her on her bravery.
This week, Dana without a doubt deserves the title of kick-ass woman of the week. Despite receiving many threats and condemnation for her picture, Dana says that she looks forward to continuing her support for gender equality causes, especially in her home nation Syria.
“I want to take another picture, but from inside Syria, just to show that I could be a fighter against injustice and power. With my camera I can help the people and support the Free Syrian Army.”
Dana is one of many women making their voices in the global debate about women’s rights despite the uproar against this movement. I highly recommend that all of my readers check out the Uprising of Women Page on Facebook, and support Dana on Twitter using the hash tag #WindtoDana.
Until next time…