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Balaclavas are trendy, but for some Muslim women it’s more complicated

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New York Times, January 2022

When Sagal Jama, a student and content creator in Toronto, noticed that balaclavas were becoming a popular winter accessory, she was ecstatic. “As the seasons change and trends also change, I feel like I have to force my outfits to the conditions of wearing a hijab and my level of modesty,” she said. She would often have to make adjustments when trying to style trends that didn’t always work with her hijab, but with the balaclava she was able to comfortably participate, simply “purchasing the item and slipping it on the way it is.”

Ms. Jama, 21, bought five balaclavas, and she posted videos and photos of herself wearing them on her Instagram and TikTok accounts. But she realized that the trend also brought with it some serious issues. “You can take off a balaclava and abandon the trend, but race, religion and gender are things that somebody can’t just wake up and abandon,” she said. “People are able to wear a balaclava and be perceived as trendy or cool, but a hijab can be seen as a symbol of oppression or political.”

Continue reading at the New York Times.

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