Ramadan Reflections '13, Day 12: Haute Hijabs and High Stylin' Sisters

I looked down at my bathroom counter and saw my weapons lying before me. I was set and ready to go, and I would SUCCEED! There were a multitude of pins, safety pins, diaper pins, and a volumizing scrunchie that would ensure my hijab would be rocking on the fashion scale. And a potential bohemian style headband that I may add on top of my hijab for some extra "oomph!"

After 15 minutes of wrestling with my head and stabbing myself an inordinate number of times, I gave up. My head looked like a bomb had gone off and sent fabric spraying all over the place. I consider myself a pretty coordinated and crafty person, but I failed miserably at this newest hijab style. That stupid scrunchie gives me a headache anyway and it's really hard to drive with a giant thingy-mabob constantly smacking against my headrest. I wrapped my hijab the way I normally do, minus the volume, gave myself a dazzling smile in the mirror, and headed out. Less is more, I thought to myself.

Yaz the Spaz, who is based out of California
I'm sure I'm not the only one who has been inspired by the likes of Saman's Makeup and Hijab Styles, Yaz the Spaz, or Dina Toki-o to try and create a masterpiece out of my hijab that is red carpet worthy. Their videos make it look ridiculously easy and yes, we can all spare an extra 30 minutes in the morning to look photo-shoot ready AND rock our hijab style. Since hijab is a daily thing for many women, it can get boring to keep wrapping it in the same manner. And let's be honest, not all hijab styles are going to suit everyone's face shape either.

However, I'm somewhat on the fence about the recent boom in professional YouTube and blogging hijab and makeup stars that make Muslim sisters swoon for their harem pants and stiletto heels. While I love seeing girls and women have their personality shine through fashion and the hijab, I'm also a little worried about the messages that are being sent to younger girls. I also worry that Muslim men are seeing these girls and women with perfectly done and stylin' hijabs and rocking halal outfits that are trendy...and that their expectation will be for every hijabi woman (and their wives!) to have a flawless complexion and pouty lips with that turban hijab style. Similar to what watching pornography does to ruin a marriage. I kid you not, these stylists think that sisters are only accessing their websites? No way jose, things are much more exposed than they think. Do they really think that men don't find them attractive and dare I say, sexy? Yes, these women have made wearing hijab sexy.

I can just imagine some husbands asking their wives this: "Jaan, why doesn't your hijab and outfit look like THAT?!" Uh oh.

Hey, I'm all for fashion and I love experimenting with various styles myself. Don't get me wrong on this front. But another concern I have is that many of these young fashionistas have a cult like following. I've read posts where young girls are drooling over the fact that they caught a glimpse of Yaz the Spaz on the weekend and O-M-G she was even MORE gorgeous in real life. And the fact that Dina Toki-o like totally re-tweeted something that another sister wore AND liked it on Instagram...are we turning young Muslim girls into groupies? Coupled with the fact that these stars often do giveaways requiring followers to re-post and share...it's the perfect scheme to increase their following while advertise their own and other's products. Muslim marketing and capitalism at its best. Who knew?

And yes, some of you may say that it's better for girls to follow hijab super-stylists than to pine over boys. Sure, this point is valid. But rest assured, these girls are still going through puberty and they have their crushes, both celebrity wise AND at school. My concern is what the heck these hijab super-style stars are teaching? As long as they are balancing their focus on outward appearance with lessons on inner beauty, I'm all good for empowering Muslim girls and women to rock their hijabs and fashion style. What concerns me though is that most of the time, this is not the case, and the emphasis IS on the physical realm. And the message these girls get is to rock your physical appearance and you're all set!

Dina Toki-o, from the UK, designs clothes and hijabs
What I really want to know about is the person behind the selfies these "celebrities" take. Who is the real person behind all that make-up and the pout? How do you demonstrate a balance between focusing on outward appearance and self-development of the inside? What do you do when you're NOT getting your face and head ready for the outside world? There's a greater meaning to life than getting ready for a daily party...what's yours?

While Yaz the Spaz and Dina Toki-o seem to have a mostly teen and young 20-something gathering, Saman Munir's groupies make up a different demographic. Saman, behind Saman's Make-Up and Hijab Styles, is in her early 30s and often comments about being a mom of two young kids and a wife. There's no denying that she loves her life and acknowledges where she is at is due to Allah and from nothing or no one else. From what I gather when reading her posts, there's a humbleness about her that you don't get with the younger aforementioned stars. She seems much more mature and doesn't have the same in-your-face style of presenting information. Her fashion style is classier while remaining trendy and modest. She seems to balance the whole physical vs. spiritual as many of her posts concern her own journey and reminders about ours. While I am gleaning this information from reading her posts and I don't know her personally, this is the impression I've gotten from following her for almost two years now.

Saman Munir, from Saman Makeup and Hijab Styles, is based in Canada
So, while we all enjoy taking care of ourselves (and we should!) and looking into the next fashion trends, there's a fine balance that needs to occur. As adults, it's easier to decipher that sometimes, these hijab stylists do take things a little too extreme and no, we really don't need to pout a new shade of MAC lipstick and paste it into a collage of our faces for the world to see. For younger girls and teens, this job of deciphering what's right for them may take longer, as they're going through a lot of soul searching themselves.

In general, I'm glad to see that Muslim women are not afraid of letting their hijab, clothes or faces speak for who they are. I just hope that in the process of finding our best outward look that we don't forget to ensure that our "insides" are doing just as well.

And Allah knows best.

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