Do Muslim women care about their sexuality? Do Muslim women care to maintain their physical appearances? Lastly, do Muslim women care to feel “sexy”? These are the questions many non-Muslims have been asking and enquiring about online. So I have decided to have a go in answering some based on my own experiences from the Muslim women around me. Many individuals from the secular society particularly, are having a hard time putting Muslim female and the adjective “sexy” together. The primary reason for this being the female’s Islamic dress, which defeats the purpose to look sexy. However, does a Muslim women ever feel sexy? And what is her definition of sexy? Well, being a young Muslim myself my definition of “sexy” is more focused on how one carries themselves and how much intelligence as well as a good sense of humour they have. But of course, let’s keep this focused more on the physical aspect as that is what many are confused about when it comes to Muslim women. Do I feel “sexy” in my hijab? Hmm honestly no, and nor am I meant to, do I think it enhances my looks? No yet again. But do I feel comfortable and myself in my hijab? Yes and Yes! However, how we feel is not as important in the Western culture, its more about we look.
When non-Muslims or even Muslims particularly from the West discuss about women and attraction, the talk is always inevitably linked to men. It can be argued, that in the Western society women are nothing more than just male gaze. Even some feminists believe women should not look “sexy” as they are becoming victims to male gaze. We are so obsessed with the idea that whenever a woman wants to dress up (or down) she has the intention to arouse a man. Even when discussing Muslim women and if they care about their sexuality, many believed if a women wears loose clothing she cannot feel sexy as the men around her do not find her desirable. In fact the main common dominator in this argument was men. It had nothing really to do about how the WOMAN FEELS but in fact it was really if men find covered women sexy. Therefore, it was hard to engage and answer questions as everything had to do with how men felt oppose to the original question asked “Do Muslim women care about their sexuality? Do Muslim women care to maintain their physical appearances? Lastly, do Muslim women care to feel “sexy”?
However, moving away from the focus of men and how nonsensically sexist our society is. It really did get me thinking, do Muslim women care about being “sexy”. So if Muslim women are always covered and wearing baggy and loose clothing, do they care to look and feel “sexy”. Well as being a Muslim women myself and interviewing others, the answer is hell yeah! Why? Well because we’re human just like everyone else. Of course, we want to look and feel good about ourselves. Some of the Muslim women I enquired felt “Feeling sexy, is like being empowered” also “But who are we feeling and looking desirable for? Ourselves or men?” A married Muslim women has the Islamic duty to get dolled up for her hubby and vice versa. Those who believe a Muslim woman has no right to feel and look desirable due to her Islamic clothing are mistaken as the Qur’an highly encourages married couples to beautify themselves as physical attraction is too important. Society finds it hard to accept the fact that a Muslim women has duty to only please her husband and not be male gaze to other men. Just because men don’t find a Muslim woman who is seen covered from head to toe desirable that does not mean her spouse feels the same. Society is so fixated on the ideology that a woman has to be wanted by a lot of men, and if she is not then she is not “sexy”. She has not passed the “sex factor” if a number men do not find her attractive.
Back to the statement “Feeling sexy, is like being empowered”, a powerful declaration as it takes away the physical aspect of being sexy and allows us to focus more on how we are. A confident woman who does not require a man’s approval, a woman who does not get dressed up to the nines just to head into town and win over a sleazy man’s attention, a woman who is concerned with social issues and refuses to conform to her degrading stereotype is the ultimate sexy. And if this is the type of “sexy” that makes Muslim and non-Muslim women feel empowered then it should be practiced and focused on a lot more than just the physical. Perhaps it is time to redefine what a sexy woman is and what being sexy even means, as currently we are still holding on a man’s opinion and definition. In a final attempt to answer the three questions proposed, Do Muslim women care about their sexuality? Do Muslim women care to maintain their physical appearances? Lastly, do Muslim women care to feel “sexy”? As a Muslim young woman myself my personal answer is yes but less for the men around me as my faith encourages me not to base my worth on what a man may think.