Friday, October 19, 2012

A Muslim message of Peace on Spirit Day

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

To whom beauty is beheld

I have been wearing hijab everyday for a few months now, and scarcely for about a year. Those who see me in hijab have seen me as oppressed, beautiful and sometimes still too scandalous. I am proud of my body. Proud of my accomplishments. While I do have some less-than-glamorous moments, I am not ashamed of anything. That is why, for a very long time, professional photographies of my hijab style were posted alongside professional photographies of myself in a bikini, in poses made to showcase my tattoed ribs.

Beauty is subjective. Each and everyone of us will define beauty in their own way. Nothing reflects more the individualistic perspective of beauty than Rule 34. Yes, I'm referring to the concept of "if it exists, there's porn of it". The reality is that humans are able to see beauty and even sexuality in almost everything. (Sometimes to the disgust of others, but who's keeping count?)

We are all able to perceive beauty. In the same realm of reality, we are also all able to exhalt beauty. THAT is where I'm going with this: our ability to be beautiful and to be perceived as beautiful.
Today I have discussed (argued) my desire to wear hijab. Today, I have also watched a rant from a self-proclaimed obese woman who talked about assuming your weight and more importantly to stop assuming others' weight as something undesirable. I've also read today an article on the target put on female genitalia by the beauty industry, a story which has in many ways made me rethink the beauty industry as a whole. However, the inspiration for this article from somewhere else altogether, a comment by a fellow group member amused by multiple women ouuuh-and-ahhh-ing at a beautiful dress. She wrote clandestinely that it was funny to see our reaction and that, clearly, us women like to shop.

This gave me pause. My first thought was to think that our desire to shop was prompted by the availability of a wide range of options -- in many regards, our selection is vastly greater than that of our male counterparts -- but then I wondered: why is there such a disparity of options. For centuries, western societies have been patriarch; therefore, if desire for beauty was to come from availability, shouldn't ment have created greater beauty products then women when they had the power to do so? That's when it hit me: the beauty industry was not created for those who wish to BE beautiful, but for those who wish to SEE beauty.

If beauty is in the eye of the beholder, then it is time that we stop trying to look at ourselves with someone else's eyes. To achieve standards of beauty established by someone else is frivolous and ludicrous, for laws of nature dictates that we are all unique and therefore, can only behold what is unique to ourselves.

So here it is, the truth afterall. Hijab, no hijab, bikini, tattoos, overweight, skinny, we are, for all matters of purposes, "beholdable".

Monday, October 8, 2012

Between thankful and mindful

I've never been much of a fan of Thanksgiving (Canadian Thanksgiving corresponds to Columbus Day in the United States). There are two parts to Thanksgiving: the first is the celebration of the discovery of the land, when we slaughtered, imprisoned and enslaved Aboriginal people claiming property over their land simply because we judged ourselves more civilized than them. The second is a Christian/pagan holiday thanking God for the harvest. I don't know how many Canadians are still farmers but I can tell you that it does not quite justify the 3 million turkeys consumed each Thanksgiving in Canada alone.

Of course, Thanksgiving has grown into a cultural holiday as well where thank "X" for the food, shelter and loved ones. I don't mean to deprive anyone from that or to undermine this celebration in any way, but I think that as adults and as educated people, we need to recognize the religious and colonialist background of the "holidays" we celebrate.

With that in mind, I want to say that I am thankful. Thankful that the internet is a place where I can rant freely about the annoyances of the world. Thankful that the annoyances of the world do not in any way overwhelm the beauties and graces of it. Thankful that I have great people to share the world with:  good, bad and ugly as it may be! Thankful that I live a peaceful life where my biggest possible worry is whether I will have enough internet data to watch The Big Bang Theory online.

I know and I am mindful that all of these priviledges have come at a great price for many MANY people and so to the generations of aboriginal people who have suffered under my white priviledged ancestors, I am sorry. I would also like to apologize to all the non-christians who have suffered under my Catholic-supremacist ancestors here in Canada and elsewhere in the world.

For my Muslim brothers and sisters who judge innapropriate for me to celebrate a holiday based on christianity and on colonialism: I am not so sorry. It is our diversity and freedom which makes me so thankful on a day like today to call myself Canadian, so I am not so sorry that even though I am aware and mindful of the religous and colonial roots, I am still proud to celebrate CANADIAN Thanksgiving.