Halima Aden is amongst the growing list of Muslim women who are collecting the titles of “firsts”, this particular first is an appearance in Sports Illustrated. The swimsuit issue has been published since 1964 highlighting women across industries in swimsuits, Halima is the first to appear in a Burkini.
She appears in the swimsuit edition in a number of colourful burkinis and complimentary coloured hijabs. She shared an image on her personal Instagram of her lying in the water on her side wearing the blue and turquoise burkini with the caption:
“Don’t change yourself .. Change the GAME!! Ladies anything is possible!!! Being in Sports Illustrated is so much bigger than me. It’s sending a message to my community and the world that women of all different backgrounds, looks, upbringings… can stand together and be celebrated. Thank you so much @si_swimsuit & the entire team for giving me this incredible opportunity.”
Halima also shared with the BBC that “Young girls who wear a hijab should have women they look up to in any and every industry.”
23 million people each week read Sports Illustrated, including over 18 million men around the globe.
View this post on Instagram
Don’t change yourself .. Change the GAME!! Ladies anything is possible!!! Being in Sports Illustrated is so much bigger than me. It’s sending a message to my community and the world that women of all different backgrounds, looks, upbringings… can stand together and be celebrated. Thank you so much @si_swimsuit & the entire team for giving me this incredible opportunity.
A post shared by Halima (@halima) on
Many other well known Muslim women like Ibtihaj Muhammad who commented “ICONIC”, Noor Tagouri, Shahd Batal and Neelam can be seen supporting her in the comments below. Media across the world have also celebrated the recent cover.
Halima Aden Makes History as the First Model to Wear a Hijab and Burkini For Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue https://t.co/vWpi82luF3
— ELLE Magazine (US) (@ELLEmagazine) April 30, 2019
There have been mixed reviews from some in the Muslim community who have questioned whether we need representation across every single industry and likened it to the 2016 Noor Tagouri Playboy feature which garnered praise and backlash.
I've been looking at *that* cover shoot of Halima Aden.
I have mixed views on it, reminds me of when Noor Tagouri did that shoot for Playboy.
I'm not too keen on the whole 'first hijabi' trope. It diminishes the work of many Muslim women before us who've paved the way…BUT
— Sabbiyah Pervez (@SabbiyahPervez) April 30, 2019
We take a look at the opinions and comments across social media, Islamophobes are also serving up their opinions too. Would you like to write a discussion piece on this feature? What does representation mean and do we need it across every industry?
Are you celebrating the first or standing back? Send articles to [email protected] today.
— Dr.Debbie Almontaser (@DebbiAlmontaser) April 29, 2019
Halima Aden in the new Sports Illustrated is a mooooood.
(She is the first model to appear in a burkini in the magazine’s famous swimsuit issue) pic.twitter.com/pbcC5sFlWi
— Samira Sawlani (@samirasawlani) April 30, 2019
Halima Aden writes history again. She is the first model everrr to wear a hijab and burkini for Sports Illustrated Swimsuit. Love. Use the power of fashion and magazines to make society more inclusive. #diversityrules #beautyisdiverse #swimsuitsforall @SI_Swimsuit pic.twitter.com/XDSTBSNgnS
— Janice Deul (@JaniceDeul) April 29, 2019
Once again, the futility of the relative term “modest” is exposed. Images like these directly contradict the purpose & spirit of the hijab, to hide our beauty & free us from the poisonous objectification of outlets like Sports Illustrated. This is not representation of Islam. https://t.co/PbWv5cECtH
— Aisha (@shariahaisha) April 29, 2019
I guess I’m confused as to the reason behind the hijab then. Is it mostly symbolic? When I was growing up we were taught it was for reasons of modesty and not drawing attention to one’s physical appearance. Has that viewpoint changed? Genuine question & thanks in advance
— Syma Khalid (@ProfSyK) April 30, 2019
Halima Aden – model , because she makes me believe that it’s truly possible for muslim women to thrive in the field they’ve dreamt about
— zaynah🌙 (@zay_zay20) April 22, 2019
Some of the reporting around it has also been questioned
What a shambles of an article looooooo. It is Glamour though. https://t.co/nvKVzVhBg4
— Che (not Guevara) (@frenchsaiai) April 30, 2019
Halima Aden for Sports Illustrated.
Halima is officially the first model to wear a hijab and burkini in the magazine’s swimsuit issue. pic.twitter.com/KpeBMkschV
— Blk Girl Culture (@blkgirlculture) April 29, 2019
How many Muslim women feel about the portrayal of Halima Aden on Sports Illustrated is basically how non-Muslim women disenchanted by beauty ideals feel. It’s not about her, it’s about what is imposed on us as “the ideal woman”.
Miss me with that.
— Bushra (@bushraxyz) April 30, 2019
Meet Somali-American Hijabi: 21-year-old Halima Aden the first Sports Illustrated Swimsuit model to wear a hijab & burkini. Exposing a much-deserved farce of the modesty claim Islamists make the Hijab to be. In reality it’s a dude-magnet & a political flag https://t.co/AocShHA1q8 pic.twitter.com/06zJzBdr4F
— Tarek Fatah (@TarekFatah) April 29, 2019
Minnesota is loaded with refugees.
SHAME ON YOU SPORTS ILLUSTRATED
21-year-old Halima Aden, a refugee from Kenya who moved to MINNESOTA gets on the cover of sports illustrated…… fully covered in Islamic clothing, including a hijab. https://t.co/b0icGCcwuB
— Go Trump (@GKeile) April 29, 2019
Lmao there's so many angry men in the comments and I'm eating it all up 💖 stay angry as I celebrate Halima Aden 💖 https://t.co/YJzxsvyu3l
— Maria Nguyen @ TCAF (@DTNart) April 29, 2019
I would be dishonest if I said I wasn't conflicted. I want @Kinglimaa everywhere. But only where she is respected and valued. And she calls the shots
— Shireen Footybedsheets Ahmed (@_shireenahmed_) April 29, 2019
halima aden being on the cover of sports illustrated makes absolutely no sense at all.
— . (@mariansulem_) April 30, 2019
A HUGE step up for Sports Illustrated. She is beautiful! I hope they continue this trend…
⚡️ “Halima Aden becomes the first Sports Illustrated Swimsuit model to wear a hijab and burkini”https://t.co/BPPQ8fwSVw
— Yvonne Jackson (@delores8225) April 30, 2019
muslim women’s fight for representation:
expectations: more political, economic, and social power, less abuse, bigotry, and discrimination
reality: playboy magazine and sports illustrated swimsuit edition
— eemi (@eemanabbasi) April 29, 2019
Stop using the opression of Muslim women in some countries as a weapon against Muslim women who choose to dress in hijab. You are not helping anyone, Halima is representation for all the Muslim women who choose to wear it and she is staying true to herself and is living her truth
— Maryama. (@KeepIttMovingg) April 29, 2019
There is so much wrong with this headline!
First of @Kinglimaa is BEAUTIFUL and not a prop adjacent to the other models.
Secondly "proving" to who? Hijab wearing women don't need your validation or approval to exist or "confidently stand"
GT*OH !! https://t.co/H3hD0tu4AB
— Hodan Yusuf (@hyfreelance) April 30, 2019
Representation for my Muslim sisters✊🏽❤️ Also, Halima looks stunning as always. https://t.co/8nPQeyUBvD
— Mel (@meleskender_) April 30, 2019
Really disappointed at the Halima Aden burkini photoshoot. This is not the representation that we need or should want. It's just another comfortable way of making us "integrate" enough that all that's left of us is a thin veneer of Muslim-ness, without substance.
— ~basicbebe~ (@basicbebe1) April 29, 2019
Halima Aden on the cover of Sports Illustrated & Ugbad Abdi on the cover of i-D 🇸🇴 there’s nothing somali women can’t do pic.twitter.com/ympTo5czQS
— miski (@musegold) April 29, 2019
By Selina Bakkar
By Sania Malik