“The assumption that women in hijab are less enlightened or empowered than those rocking daisy dukes is arrogant at best. Feminism should fight for all women to have he right to live as they choose, not for all women to live the same exact lives like we’re all in some sort of Sims game.”
― Luvvie Ajayi, I’m Judging You: The Do-Better Manual
In my goal to reclaim my life, and to lose 40 pounds before 40, I went ahead and joined a gym this school year. The decision did not come lightly- I wanted a place that wasn’t far from my home and that had nothing to do with my school (the reasons for that can be discussed in another post). So I found myself joining the ladies only gym near my home.
It is something kind of empowering to workout around women. We are all after a goal to look and feel better, and I do feel more freedom to make a complete ass of myself in the name of fitness. No thoughts wondering if a cute guy is checking me out. I think for me it is an act of feminism, although culturally it is preferred for women and men (in the areas of health and fitness) be separate. But there is freedom of knowing that no men are allowed, so in that spirit, I’ve been stepping outside of my comfort zone and going to some of the evening classes. So the other night I went to Zumba.
This was not the plan. I know my capabilities- I have rhythm but I am normally in the, “wave your hands in the air, wave them like you don’t care,” area of the dance floor. My two step is fierce and kinda cute. Zumba however is coordination with hips and sexiness. I only play sexy in my subconscious. However, the class that I thought I was going to do was 30 minutes earlier. And the choice came down to going to Five Guys or stay and workout, so I did Zumba.
And I made a complete fool of myself.
And I waved my hands in the air like I just didn’t care.
The class was actually a lot of fun. But what made it fun was that I was in room of women who just let themselves loose, and twerked themselves into happiness. Women in this region are built like black women in my family: they have butts, they have chests, they have curves. You would never know that the same woman who was backing her thing up in class is the same woman who covers when she leaves the gym. It’s kind of awesome, and also empowering.
There is often a misunderstanding of the woman who chooses to cover. Yes there are areas in the world where women are forced to, but for the most part the women that I meet who cover do it as a choice. They choose to share their sex appeal with their husbands, and they choose to share their womanhood with other women. The intimate spaces of being around others who understand what it means to be female can be very inspiring.
And maybe, it is ok to decide to protect my modesty, instead of feeling that covering is the same as oppression.
Originally written September 17, 2017- I didn’t make it to my goal =(