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Why I Unfollow Muslim Bloggers Taking off Their Hijab

by in Identity on 17th September, 2018

This week I watched a video by a well-known blogger who inspired me to write this. Whilst I’m not here to write about whether I agree or disagree with her opinion, it did raise an interesting point for me in this new world of influencers, bloggers and social media moguls; a question that has been on the tip of my tongue for a while now; why is everyone denying their influence?

Firstly, I want to stress how important it is to me, to ascertain the difference between critical engagement of a concept, and passing judgement on someone. This is about me and me alone. Recently, there have been a number of ‘hijabi’ bloggers that have changed their opinions on hijab, or revealed their opinions on hijab or even removed it completely after spending time building their followership via the hijab.  Again, I am not here to pass judgement on their opinions or actions at all. However, all of our actions not only have repercussions for ourselves but also those around us. When you ‘put yourself out there’ in the public eye or on social media, with the territory, comes the eyes of others and the feeling that more often than not, you should ‘explain yourself’.

Here is my controversial 2 pence: I don’t want you to explain yourself! I have chosen to react in a different way. Initially, when a blogger removes her hijab or begins to push it further back revealing half of her head of hair, I would unfollow her. I didn’t want to be influenced by her actions or opinions. I have my own idea of hijab, and I know what I’m doing, I really don’t need any other opinion in the mix causing me further confusion, I had to find a method to protect myself from those opinions impacting or changing mine.  I don’t generally get influenced by others, but this is something I can’t risk, I just cannot risk that kind of influence. I worked hard to get where I am with my faith and it’s not just about me anymore, it’s about my family too. It’s so much bigger than just what I think is right. I have to protect my thoughts, as they become transferred to your heart.

But when bloggers with content I genuinely like, by like I mean I have admired their morals, set of values, and personality, began making similar lifestyle choices it began to sit on my chest heavily.

Recently, a blogger that shot up to fame a few years ago for coining the turban hijab as a staple modest fashion piece, posted a video on why she no longer considers herself a hijabi, it threw me. I gave it time and watched it out of intrigue. I didn’t understand or agree with her opinion. Not long after a few more bloggers removed their hijab and I thought, do I follow them just because they are a hijabi? No. It’s for their style advice, looks and fashion sense.

I began to see this occur with many more bloggers, from those that I admire too, my strength began to waver. It raised the question in me: what am I buying into here? It made me question those that I want to be influenced by even more. I follow A LOT of non-hijabi bloggers too, but I also delete and unfollow those that don’t match my beliefs or ethics if they become too far removed. I figured I have the right to curate my influencers. To be influenced only by those that I deem to be good for me, who will make me a better person. Islamically, professionally, creatively and personally.  We all have that right. So please don’t take it personally if I unfollow you. It’s just self-preservation, and I do question if we should all do it more often.

Perhaps I had approached this from a different angle because I am a teacher, but I came to realise we are all influencers even on a micro level, and on a daily basis. Our opinions, the way we dress, our actions, they’re all capable of influencing others, often without us even being aware of it. As a teacher, we are more than aware of the influence we have on young people and the power that comes with that. Whilst we know and want to use this for good, we are constantly aware of how our opinions are taken by others and are consequentially cautious to provide an objective approach. There are even some topics that are no-go red zones that we are completely not allowed to discuss; we’re not allowed to talk about our political opinions, for example. Imagine teaching business and not being able to talk about your opinion on the general election campaigns!

I for one do not deny my influence, hence the platform I have the most followers on (Instagram), I tend to keep it just about the clothes. I chose to make my blog the outlet for my personal opinion and this is how I have reconciled how to navigate my responsibility whilst being able to publish my opinions. I am fully aware that what I write has the capability to influence many people without my knowledge. And that is something I have to be aware of and cater for.

So why are so many bloggers and influencers in denial about their influence? Is it because they themselves don’t understand it? Or maybe it’s because they don’t want to carry the burden of knowing their actions do matter, and will be held accountable in influencing others?

The only thing that’s different between you walking down the street in your outfit and posting a picture online is that you potentially have a crazy amount of people seeing it online, you also can add inflammatory comments and opinions to the mix which can reach more young women than you care to imagine. This can be dangerous for someone’s heart, mind, and spirit. You talk, engage and facilitate conversation on these matters that can be the reason for someone to find strength in the weakening of their faith.

So this isn’t just a message to influencers to wake up, admit your influence and use it well. But it’s a message to us all. We are all influencers in our day to day lives. We inspire, provoke and encourage. We are role models to someone. Be it your own children, friends or random people we meet. We need to be more responsible with our influence. Embrace it and utilise it. But don’t deny it. Because it’s not about the masses. It’s about the one person who saw you or heard you, listened to you or watched you and thought, ‘I want to do that, I want to be like that, I agree or disagree with that’. And it embeds, becomes part of their mind structure, and works into their actions. Their truth, a tiny part of their life is influenced greatly by you, this can mean more blessings for you, or a more grave reality. Be responsible with your influence.

Modestly Wrapped

Modestly Wrapped

'Modestly wrapped' is a white, British, Brummie, Muslim, revert, fashion obsessed turban lover! She often writes as she thinks! No editing goes into her blogs other than if there’s a typo! Her passions lie in modest fashion, mindfulness, spirituality, and women's issues. Follow her Instagram @modestlywrapped for more interesting insights.