I do not have the power to hear the opposite of the words and insults I heard while defending the headscarf.

I’m a 29-year-old woman, and I’ve been wearing a headscarf for 10 years. I read some of the stories written in here. My story is a little bit different. I grew up in a family in which my mother’s side was left-wing, and my father’s side was nationalist.

My only relative that I can describe as religious and conscious is my mother. For this reason, she always tried to give her children a proper religious education.

She told us about the obligations of religion, but she never insisted us to obey them. Under the influence of the things I had learned, I decided to cover my hair when I was 17. One day, I came home from school and said that I will cover my hair. My family just said “Okay”. But I was afraid of my relatives’ reactions, and my fears came true. Many people I cared about said that I was making a mistake, and I was ruining my life. Even my uncle, who belongs to a religious group. My uncles repeatedly pressured my mother and said to her “You brainwashed these children.” I went to school with fear, but my friends supported me. They said, “do what you believe”. As the pressure I see from my relatives increased, I resisted more and always developed ideas defending the headscarf.

They were offended by the idea of a smart, covered woman going to a university. Wearing a hijab was forbidden at the university, and we were taking it off before entering the campus. But this didn’t bother me until it was made a matter of discussion. I wanted to resist unless our teachers gave me permission. It got better over time. But I was still being harassed by people I don’t know on the street and during my internship. After university, I got my master’s degree in Ankara and started to live there. I can say that this was the only time I didn’t face pressure with only a few exceptions.

I’ve been reading many different philosophies. I was trying to improve myself more intellectually with all my power. To understand my religion, I was reconsidering what I knew or what I was curious about. The verses about headscarf I advocated no longer seemed clear as they were before.

Especially, the verse “cover your chest with your hijabs” gave the impression that it refers to an accessory which already exists due to traditional and geographical conditions.

In time, I began to interpret this verse in this way.

Moreover, if the hijab was so important, why did it take place on only 1 or 2 verses? My thoughts on these issues are clear now. I believe that both women’s and men’s covering have moral implications, and they can only do this in their minds. But I still haven’t taken off my scarf. I can’t even dare. I know my relatives will say “Look, we told you, it was nothing, you’ve upset yourself for nothing” about my hijab which I wore suddenly. And I think my mother would be distraught if I took off my veil.

I do not have the power to hear the opposite of the words and insults I heard while defending the headscarf and to experience a similar process again.

Maybe if I change my life completely, I can be the real me on the street too.

(Image: Douglas Smith)

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