At a time when the world seems to be in crisis mode, it is evident that modern culture is trying to embrace all types of people into one unified society. Pop culture especially is creating more opportunities for people of all shapes, sizes, colors, faiths and sexual orientation. One ethnicity that has been underrepresented in pop culture is that of Muslims, particularly Muslim women. Now, some companies and media are trying to fix that.
Many Muslim women wear scarves over their heads known as hijabs. The women are often referred to as hijabis. They have rarely been seen in popular media - until now. A new ad campaign by fashion company H&M prominently features a Muslim model proudly wearing her hijab. The ad also features a boxer with a prosthetic leg, a man in drag and a man wearing socks with sandals. The tagline: “There are no rules in fashion.”
The campaign has received rave reviews, particularly online, where one non-Muslim woman posted that she was “so happy that the gorgeous hijab-wearing fashionistas are being represented by a global brand.”
One of Britain’s most popular social media program, the Great British Bake Off, also features a very talented baker who wears a hijab.
Moreover, in America’s pop culture, ABC’s new show, Quantico, stars a hijab-wearing actress.
The implication of these moves is that it normalizes the image of hijabis in everyday life. Rather than being afraid of these women because they are part of the Muslim religion - often associated with extremists spreading terror all over the world - hopefully people will come to respect the hijab.
Unfortunately, when a religion is not fully understood by people, bad things happen. People judge those who practice the faith - sometimes violently. It is not uncommon that hijabis are spit at, punched and kicked, even in the presence of their children. All because people associate them with Islamic extremists. They are “easy targets” because of their appearance.
Hopefully, with the ever-increasing acceptance and portrayal of the LGBT community in popular culture, an acceptance and understanding of women of faith, including hijabis, will grow as well.