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Podcast: Hijabi Girls in a Barbie World Episode 2 | Sana Saeed and Zainab bint Younus

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The rise of the Instagram hijabista has taken place quite quickly, and evolved dramatically, over the last ten years. It started with Muslim women on YouTube offering hijab tutorials for other Muslim women, and then evolved to an industry of Muslim women who fully embrace the influencer lifestyle.

Some of the most famous hijabista influencers have built entire businesses, modeling careers, sold books – and then – decided to take their hijab off entirely… and in the aftermath of that removal of hijab, there is both huge blowback and huge support from their followers and fans.

If you don’t fit this image of what a trendy hijabi girl looks like, you’re looked down on. Like, you are not cool enough. You are not hot enough. That by itself is so contradictory to hijab and the concept of modesty from an Islamic perspective. -Zainab bint Younus

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Many of them will say that they’ve never aspired to be role models, and that no one should be copying them or taking cues from them, but then the irony is that it is exactly what they have done all this time – hence their status as an “influencer.” Then there is also the pushback and anger from the influencers themselves, towards those who disagree with or criticize their actions. Dina Tokio famously lashed out with the phrase “toxic cult of hijabis.”

When you spend twenty years of someone’s life telling them their entire religion is in their hijab, then don’t get angry at them for not understanding their religion holistically. Don’t get angry at them for not understanding what hijab is a part of. -Sana Saeed

Join Zainab bint Younus as she discusses this and other aspects of modesty, Muslim culture, and the social implications of the commoditization of modesty in the media with guest Sana Saeed, a host and senior producer with AJ+ and a commentator on Muslim-American affairs.

We have come to embrace parts of society that we used to rage against, like the beauty pageant thing. I was like wait, why am I supposed to be proud about this? Why should I be proud that a Muslim woman won a competition build to judge women on their physical beauty? – Sana Saeed

Keep supporting MuslimMatters for the sake of Allah

Alhamdulillah, we're at over 850 supporters. Help us get to 900 supporters this month. All it takes is a small gift from a reader like you to keep us going, for just $2 / month.

The Prophet (SAW) has taught us the best of deeds are those that done consistently, even if they are small. Click here to support MuslimMatters with a monthly donation of $2 per month. Set it and collect blessings from Allah (swt) for the khayr you're supporting without thinking about it.

Zainab bint Younus (AnonyMouse) is a Canadian Muslim woman who writes on Muslim women's issues, gender related injustice in the Muslim community, and Muslim women in Islamic history. She holds a diploma in Islamic Studies from Arees University, a diploma in History of Female Scholarship from Cambridge Islamic College, and has spent the last fifteen years involved in grassroots da'wah. She was also an original founder of MuslimMatters.org.

3 Comments

3 Comments

  1. Maryam

    November 15, 2020 at 3:49 PM

    This podcast was beautiful and brought about so so many points that needed to be discussed. Conversations like these need to happen. Especially between women.

  2. Zeba Khan

    November 17, 2020 at 11:16 AM

    I loved this discussion. As long as it was, Sana brought up some important points about hijab that I think were missing from the discussion so far.

  3. Asma

    August 10, 2021 at 12:05 AM

    Sana brought up some good points . I have found though because I have worn both Niqab for many years and now recently just started wearing hijab only. That Niqabi women harass and look down on hijabis and the ones who decided to take off the hijab. They are very mean to them. In my opinion we should not be like this as i find hijabis and non hijabs more better in manners prayers behavior an so on. While niqabis are rude stuck up and snooty as they think they are better .
    I think people should leave others alone and let them live as they want let Allah / God be the judge

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