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Why wearing a hijab can be a powerful feminist statement

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Susan Devaney
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To mark World Hijab Day (1 February 2019), model and public speaker Mariah Idrissi explains why the hijab can be a powerful feminist statement. 

Each and every one of us is invited to wear the hijab today. In celebration of World Hijab Day, women everywhere are coming together (regardless of beliefs) and wearing one to foster understanding and tolerance between cultures, countries and communities.

Which is why we invited model and public speaker, Mariah Idrissi into the Stylist office to share why wearing a hijab can be a powerful feminist statement.

“I started to wear a hijab when I was in college,” explains Idrissi. “I just felt like I’m praying five times a day, and I kind of wanted to represent my faith, too as I was beginning to practice it.

“It kind of alleviates some of the pressure that society and the media make us feel as women, that we have to look a certain way or act a certain way, and wearing a hijab eliminates a lot of that pressure because it’s like I’m not a part of that.”

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The hijab – a square scarf that covers both the head and neck – is worn by Muslim women. Over the past few months, some women have faced religious prejudice in the UK.

“I can still do what I want to do wearing a hijab, and I don’t have to compromise any of my morals or beliefs to do that,” explains Idrissi. “I do think more people do choose to wear a hijab but there is no denying that some girls are forced. Maybe because of their family, their upbringing, the country that they live in.”

However, social media is helping women feel included and comfortable to wear one in public.

“What really does help is the social media side of the whole world of modest fashion that is obviously helping because it’s giving young girls a better understanding of the hijab,” says Idrissi. “Even if they just like the way it looks and they just see it as something that is just fashionable. As they grow, I’m sure they will research more into why are they actually doing it? It can’t just purely be for fashion.

She continued: “And I think the more people educate themselves, either through looking at women are doing in the world that do wear a hijab or just personal research, they will find it is a very empowering thing for women to do.”

Watch our video above to find out more and hear what Mariah Idrissi has to say. 

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Susan Devaney

Susan Devaney is a digital journalist for Stylist.co.uk, writing about fashion, beauty, travel, feminism, and everything else in-between.

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