EN-101 October 6th, 2007
Why The "Caged Bird" Sings
It is common knowledge that the way people practice religion in the United States of America is usually very different from the way people practice in a religion’s homeland. Stricter rules are often not followed, and some traditions are not even taught. When those traditions are followed in the United States, people frequently water them down to more easily revel in the freedoms provided by being in a country of “religious acceptance”. Many, however, are not accepting of themselves. Therefore, it is refreshing to see Hasidic children on the subways, Pagans who don’t flash pentacles on every piece of their clothing, and Muslim woman who wear various types of traditional Islamic dress.
In the Islamic culture, a girl begins to cover herself when she first starts to develop into a woman; around twelve or so. Although it’s true that with more traditional families, the girl might be forced to begin wearing the hijab or other covering at this time, it is not usually a sad thing to undertake. “Many Americans see veiling as an oppressive tool forced on Muslim women by the men in our culture“ (Haydar 404). The veiling is a coming of age. Girls get gifts, and often a party. Veiling brings utmost reverence from the Muslim community, not disrespect and oppression. It is a sign that the girl is now fully embracing the ideals of the religion, and is taking the modesty that is such an important factor to Islam seriously.
“Ironically, the population that spends millions on beauty products, plastic surgery, and self help guides is the same one that takes pity on me for being so ‘helpless’ and ‘oppressed’” (404) states Maysan Haydar, author of Veiled Intentions: Don’t Judge a Muslim Girl by Her Covering. American woman are more pressured into following social standards than women in other countries. The demands to be thin and...