Love, Life StoriesPlease stop telling me you think I’d look nice without my hijab I want to start this off by saying that I know you're coming from a good place. By Nadia Eldemerdash Jun. 1, 2016 Attribution: I want to start this off by saying that I know you’re coming from a good place. And I appreciate it. I really do. I would vastly prefer to have someone tell me they think I’d look nice without my headscarf than ask me if I’m “hot in that.” I know you mean it as a compliment, and I will never respond in any way other than an awkward smile and a “thank you.” It’s because I know you’re coming from a good place that I’m writing this, because a) I genuinely think you would appreciate knowing how your well-intentioned comments may be perceived by others, and b) I don’t want you to have to hear this from someone else who may not be as nice about it. [bctt tweet=”It’s because I know you’re coming from a good place that I’m writing this.”] When you tell a woman you don’t know personally that you think her hair must be beautiful or that she must look lovely without her headscarf, there are a couple implications that she might be getting from that. First, there’s the idea that the hijab detracts from her natural beauty and so it’s a “shame” that she “has to” wear it. It’s like saying that someone would look better without their glasses – it’s meant as a compliment, but it implies that the person doesn’t look very nice as they are now, with the glasses/hijab on. Particularly with the hijab, since we live in a society where there are so many stereotypes and assumptions about Muslim women being forced to wear it, and about it being some kind of symbol for the repression of a woman’s sexuality, the implication of “too bad you have to wear it because your husband/father/other male relative is threatened by your beauty, you’d look so much better without it” is amplified in comments like this. [bctt tweet=”It’s like saying that someone would look better without their glasses.” username=”wearethetempest”] The second issue with comments like this (and my main beef with them) is that they can come off a little creepy, especially from guys. You’re basically commenting about a part of a woman’s body that she has chosen, for whatever reason, to cover. Think about it this way: would you say to a woman, especially a woman you didn’t know, “I bet you have really toned abs under that shirt,” or “I think your butt would look really great in short shorts”? No, no you would not. That would be pervy as hell. [bctt tweet=” No, no you would not. That would be pervy as hell.” username=”wearethetempest”] Now, I know what you’re thinking. Surely hair is not on the same level as butts on the scale of body parts we should not comment on in public? Let me say that as a woman, I do not need to hear comments about any covered part of my body regardless of where it lands on the scale, for one simple reason: it makes me think you’re standing around imagining what I look like with fewer clothes than I have on. This makes me very uncomfortable. If I were wearing closed-toed shoes, and someone came up to me, regardless of gender appearance, and told me they thought I must have very nice feet, I would be extremely skeeved out – looking up how to get a restraining order skeeved out. Now if I were standing around in flip flops and someone made that same comment, I would, frankly, still be skeeved out, but not nearly as much as when I’d been wearing shoes. At least I’m not thinking that as I’m standing around, minding my own business, some complete stranger is making a deliberate effort to imagine what I’d look like without my shoes. [bctt tweet=”As a woman, I do not need to hear comments about any covered part of my body”] In fairness, I probably come across lots of people every day who make deliberate efforts to imagine what I’d look like without various items of clothing. If I knew what they were thinking I would probably be deeply outraged. But that’s the whole point – I don’t know, because they don’t tell me. I am free to go about my day blissfully unaware of their perversions, and they can do whatever it is they want to do. Win win! Again, I’m sure that when you tell me my hair must be beautiful, it’s in the most well-intentioned, non-pervy way possible. I’m sure you’re not actually fantasizing about my hair, because hair is not that exciting in American society, and people with such specific fetishes are probably more self-aware and keep them to themselves. Personally, I’ll take any compliment in this age of Islamophobia. But you should still be aware that this is how your comment may be perceived by some women. A better alternative would be simply, “I really like your headscarf.” When someone says that to me, it makes my day! I will recount the scenario to family and friends for months. This is not an exaggeration. [bctt tweet=”I will recount the scenario to family and friends for months, no lie.” username=”wearethetempest”] A saleswoman at a Macy’s told me she thought my scarf was really pretty over a year ago, and to this day whenever I wear that particular one I feel like a supermodel. This is the absolute best compliment because not only does it give positive attention to something that is often perceived negatively, it also acknowledges the woman’s personal taste and style. Check and check! You could also say, “You look really nice in your headscarf,” or just “You look really nice.” This is foolproof – there is not a woman on the planet who doesn’t appreciate being told she looks good. Just don’t get too specific about it. 4 badass Native American women from historyThese 6 steps will help you brag the heck out of yourselfA comprehensive guide to all the chaos going on at the borderWhat's the best - and worst - advice you've gotten about procrasturbating?