My thoughts on Dina’s choice to wear the hijab when she wants is simple. It is her choice. Many Muslimahs defend their choice of donning the hijab because it is a personal decision they made on their own. So why is it so hard for someone to do the opposite without facing the degree of backlash Dina is receiving?
I choose not to comment on the Islamic ethics of this action because I am not an Islamic scholar but neither is all of the people sending her hate on social media and probably in real life as well. Even if someone’s intention is to give pure advice, this has not been practiced for the majority of the bullying she has been facing.
Dina was also lashed for calling hijabis a “toxic cult,” an issue she has addressed as a right she has. Her fame doesn’t exclude her from the Muslim community and allows her to criticize it when she may, a privilege each identity group has within their own communities.
Others feel cheated that she built her entire brand around modest fashion and came out with a book not too long ago called “Modestly.” However, this argument doesn’t take into consideration how we are all human. We cannot expect someone to be the same person as they grow and mature throughout their lives just because we are accustomed to it.
Those who are critiquing her actions because it will be corrupting the youth is another argument we need to look closer at. If youth can easily be swayed by one individual, there are definitely other problems in our youth we should focus on instead. This includes cultivating their self-esteem and comfort with their identity especially when living in western nations.
In the piece, “The Logic of Misogyny” by Kate Manne, the current forms of misogyny describe women as, “powerful, disgusting corruptors – vixens, sirens, and monsters” (8). This is how Dina is implicitly portrayed by the patriarchal voices telling her that her decision to do what she wants with her body is wrong. Whenever Dina responds to these comments, she is “perceived as cold, selfish, and negligent” since she is challenging their sense of power and authority. Through her action of disrupting the social order, Dina is also considered out of line with her actions of being a noncompliant woman. Misogynists will mask their arguments as if trying to teach her morals when really it is to punish her for not following their norms. Let us instead celebrate women who are noncompliant.
All in all, we need to stop policing women’s bodies because strong women like Dina are not having it anymore. We cannot judge others as if we are God Himself. Cultivating safe and nurturing communities should always be the goal.
I love you Dina and I wish you only the best.
MANNE, KATE. DOWN GIRL: the Logic of Misogyny. OXFORD UNIVERSITY PRESS, 2017.