The sportswear giant Nike has finally realized that the Hijab is not a symbol of oppression after all, but again, only if it is their design or has its logo.
The Hijab that Muslim women have been wearing for hundreds of years has gotten the recognition it deserves, the issue of Hijab and Muslim dress now a huge part of our conversation. This is not just in the west but also in the Muslim world.
Ironically while Nike is trying to tap into the huge Hijab Market, some Muslim women now are taking them off to show the modern warm soft Islam. Last week Egypt celebrated the second anniversary of taking the Hijab off, the One-Million-Woman March, as it is championed by General el-Sisi in Egypt and his cohorts in the Gulf states. To be clear, Muslim women either wear or don’t wear their Hijab based on lots of socio-economic issues, other than religious ones.
Islam wasn’t clear about the Hijab requirements. God doesn’t usually get into women’s fashion, and the prophet was busy completing and perfecting the Abrahamic faith, let alone what should women wear or not wear. When it comes to the Hijab, and unlike Nike, God doesn’t order women to, “Just Do It… InShAllah.” Above all, women and men are required to be modest, and this is a guideline that should cover lots of clothing styles and costumes around the world’s different climates; cold, hot, sandy, icy, or the political climate of Islamophobia. All require different costumes, and creative solutions.
“Female Muslim athletes have struggled finding headgear that will not slow them down or distract them from arduous physical exercise,” reported Valeriya Safronova of the New York Times. ‘Struggled’!! wow I think pronouncing her name was a struggle for me to get it right.
There are more than a billion and a half Muslims around the world. This would make any corporation salivate. Nike’s new Hijab motive is not so clear, is it empowering Muslim women or an opportunistic marketing campaign. If Starbucks thought they could solve racism in this country by all having a coffee together, they would, though to be fair, Obama tried it over a drink of beer too.
How about oppressed Muslim men, who wear Keffiyah over their heads? Have you seen a man running or playing sport with a Keffiyah lately? Nike may tape into that market too with a sports hat; maybe a baseball hat will do for now for Muslim men athletes! According to Morgan Stanley, Sportswear sales reached $270 billon last year, almost $100 billion in the US alone.
In this Nike … Just Did It!! The Nike Hijab, as was described is a “new pull-on Hijab made of light stretchy fabric that includes tiny holes for breathability (thanks god, women can breathe now) and an elongated back so it will not come untucked.” God forbid!
There are lots of reasons why a woman covers or uncovers her body, social, cultural, religious, personal, fashion. The Muslim Hijab played a major role in helping women express their identity, but also her political expression against western influences and interferences, as well as the oppressive Arab and Muslim regimes; the less political expression the more religious expressions.
During President Nasser’s tenure in Egypt, he was a dictator, but was the champion of pan Arabs, fighting the people of the west. People felt proud of their own ethnicity and of being an Arab and that was enough, no need for a religious expression. Now, with the assault from the west on Arab Muslim culture, Arab/Muslim leaders are joining in with the so called war on terrorism as a pretext to crack down on opposition and dissent, which turned the Arab Spring into a terrorist threat to stability and peace.
After the tragic attack of 9/11, religious attendances went up and people started going to churches more often. According to a Gallup poll, American church attendance was up six percent the first weekend after the attack. The Christian right got stronger, politics appealing to Christian sentiments, now supporting a racist and a light fascist to make American white Christian again.
Lots has been made about the Nike Hijab and Nike invasion of Muslim women’s fashion. Muslim women took to social media and blistered Nike’s cultural intrusion.
Aljazeera questioned Nike’s motive…
Nike has a hijab now. But is it really empowering Muslim women? pic.twitter.com/rMYBPUFm0Q— AJ+ (@ajplus) March 8, 2017
And from Hend Amry, we can always count on her wit and humor,
This is horrible! I've been successfully using hijab as an excuse to avoid running for years. 😭 https://t.co/zQzlS8zbpC— Hend Amry (@LibyaLiberty) March 7, 2017
Other non-Muslims pitched in as well.. here is Lori worried about endorsing stoning of Muslim women…
…and of course you can’t talk about color people without injecting words like savagery…
Tucker a talk show host wasn’t so happy about the Nike Hijab. He compares the Hijab to the KKK outfit, that should not be endorsed or supported by Nike. Would he feel the same way if he knew that most rapists in this country were probably wearing Nike shoes or hats?!
Another one brought up the assimilation thing!
Nike to rollout performance hijab. This is ridiculous. This is America. Assimilate or leave should be the option. #MAGA— 🎙Matt Locke🎙 (@mattlockeshow) March 9, 2017
Here you have it, assimilate or perish, assimilate to wearing a Nike shoe or Nike hat..!! Nike has spent millions of dollars telling Americans don’t think about it and ‘Just do it”, but according to U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Preventions National Center for Health Statistics, “Since the late 1980s and 1990s, Americans have put on 15 0r more additional pounds without getting any taller.” As we all know, men’s clothes sizes are determined by measuring Nike or was, however women’s clothes size measurements are more arbitrary and commercially enforced than men.
If Nike is worried that much about liberating Muslim women from their restrictive oppressive Muslim Hijab, I think Victoria’s Secret needs to step in first and, as they did with American women, liberate Muslim women from their repressive bras!