The Truth About Burqa: Feminism, Beauty and Religion

Zainab Rashid is an ordinary girl who studies in her third year of college at Lady Shri Ram College For Women, Delhi University. She finishes her assignments on time, prepares for her semester exams well in advance and enjoys going to poetry readings in her free time. But Zainab is not any other ordinary girl.

Zainab is Muslim. And yes, she chooses to wear the burqa uninhibitedly. This video will change your perception about burqa and women's oppression. Indeed, wearing the burqa is a free choice exercised by Muslim women around the world and they should not be judged for it. More power to you, Zainab! 

The world's perception of a Burqa clad woman is that she is controlled, oppressed and has no say in her life. But is this a media generated image to promote Islamophibia and condescend women who choose to wear burqa. Media constantly talks about how women of Islamic Faith are forced to wear Burqa. Women who cover their heads are considered oppressed, but that is far from the reality. This is simply an image created to make Islam seem like an orthodox religion, we as people should always question the truth.

Isn't it funny? A woman who chooses to fully cover her body is considered oppressed by society. And then, a woman who wears short skirts is slut-shamed. What is this obsession with the need to judge a woman's character? We must move beyond labels and judgement. 

So when Zainab says, "I am still a woman, defined as I want to be, worded as I choose to write." we cannot agree with her more. 

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Read full poem by Zainab below:

I’m a woman

I drape around my body a piece of prejudiced cloth

Burqa as they call it, ‘beautiful’ as it doesn’t seem to them.

I’m a woman defined by popular perception of beauty and oppression.

But I’m more than that,

I’m a writer, a reader, a poet, a lover, a shopaholic, an over thinker yet an optimist.

I’ve multiple identities heaped into a single self

Ornamentally wrapped by a Burqa.

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I’m a woman

Clad in a contradiction to modernity

My cloth serving as an inhibition to civilization

I epitomize barbarism

For ‘progressive’ is the orphaned child of hypocrisy

Which detests the freedom to cover but calls uncovered classy

Which sells shaving razors through the curves of a woman’s body

Then I’m a woman

Who rejects civilization.

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I’m not a precious emerald covered in silk

Neither any man’s glorified guilt

I’m not anyone’s insecure honor

My burqa is the result of what goes between me and Him (Allah)

I’m a woman who herself chooses to build.

Well I think too,

Because covering my head doesn’t mean that my brain stops working

Confirmed by the tenets of rudimentary biology

I don’t embark upon ‘the shorter the piece of cloth the more the intellect formula’

Because none of that exists.

I’m still a woman

Defined as I want to be

Worded as I choose to write.

Well said, Zainab! We're with you on this one. A woman should not be judged by what she wears.