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Beneath the veil: is the hijab-wearing freedom or oppression?

The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Casper Libero chapter.

The hijab, the Islamic veil, is the source of many societal debates. This is because, when used outside non-Muslim countries, they are seen as female oppression and are often questioned by those who do not understand the true reason for wearing the clothing.

But after all, is this a manifestation of freedom or an imposition of oppression? This article will analyze the hijab as an individual right, religious faith, and cultural expression.

Why do women wear hijab?

According to religion, Muhammad would have asked his wives to wear the item to differentiate them from others, thus showing their status. Furthermore, in the past women were raped a lot, so God in order said to wear the veil to prevent this from happening, reducing male sexual desire.

It is important to highlight that the veil is following each woman’s desire, therefore, it is a choice whether to use it or not. The adornment is optional, however in some countries, such as Iran, its use is mandatory.

In France, the hijab has been banned in schools since 2004, and the justification for this law was the principle of secularism. This year, the Minister of Education, Gabriel Attal, banned the use of abayas, long dresses, because according to him teachers should not be able to identify the student’s religion just by looking at him.

Cultural expression

For Muslim women, the hijab is not only for religion but also in question as an expression of identity. In this way, the veil facilitates their sense of belonging. It portrays a connection to your traditions and roots that is passed down through generations.

For Miriam Chami, one of the main Muslim influencers in Brazil, in the interview given to the Plenae Podcast, despite clothing being mandatory, people have the free will not to wear it, and there is no point in putting it on just to please others, there is It has to be a sincere choice.

Furthermore, she emphasizes that the decisions of conservative governments have no relation to religion itself: “Many people create the wrong idea because they think that Islam is limited to Afghanistan, Iran, and Iraq. However, what makes the rules so rigid in these places is not religion, but politics, machism, and power”.

“In Iran, for example, where women are protesting, their fight is against the oppressive system, not against the hijab itself. People need to understand that Islam is not a country. Most Muslims are not even Arabs”, she added.

Religious faith

The Muslim religion preaches modesty, humility, and the preservation of chastity, clothing is the way to achieve these goals. For women, wearing the hijab is a demonstration of obedience to God, so they see it as an act of devotion.

Individual freedom

The interpretation of individual freedom in the context of hijab is intricate and diverse. For many women, choosing the hijab is a personal decision that reflects their autonomy. They defend their right to use it as a powerful expression, allowing them to control how they are perceived and identified. For these women, the hijab is a way to challenge stereotypes and social conventions about beauty.

However, in certain scenarios, hijab adoption may be influenced by social, family, or political pressures. Some women may feel obligated to wear the hijab due to expectations of conforming to cultural or religious norms in their communities. In these circumstances, the hijab can be perceived as an imposition that restricts individual freedom.

That way, we realize that the hijab brings with it choices and inheritance from generation to generation. For the influencer, her main objective is to show the non-oppression that is seen in the face of her religion: “I show that, through religion, they are neither oppressed nor submissive”.

The article above was edited by Clarissa Palácio.

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Maria Luiza Malafaia

Casper Libero '26

Hello, I'm Malu :) Journalism student at Cásper Líbero, who loves to write, learn and listen other people's stories.