I heard news about this a few days back on WordPress and the rest of the web, I just haven’t been round to posting about it. Funnily enough one reason is that I have been doing a lot more running. I could have done with a hijab this afternoon in the cold wind, although it sure would look odd on a male atheist.
Little disappoints me more than the human drive to worship. To take pride in a God so absent and without leadership that we have multiple variations in which to praise the multiple Gods we are told of. I clicked The Independent’s link on the story which can be read here. It starts with the following:
Designed and tested by figure skater Zahra Lari and weight-lifter Amna Al Haddad, the Nike Pro Hijab is a piece of high-performance sportswear designed to dissolve the barriers that prevent Muslim women from keeping fit.
Would ‘tested’ be appropriate here for a weightlifter? A swimmer, yes. I struggle to see how a hijab would effect the performance of a weightlifter, heck, I am not a weightlifter so I will leave that there. I do not feel sorry for the women with such ‘barriers’. Religious barriers are often imaginary ones, making us go about life in a much more difficult fashion. There is nothing finer than coming to this realization, going from A to B in life without having to ask Z and every letter in between for permission. For women that do genuinely need to cover up to prevent a beating, I have strong empathy. I imagine that Nike isn’t promoting in such oppressive regimes, more the western nations where the hijab is a choice and female exercise is a human right.
Amna has noticed a lot of criticism from the promotion, some I admittedly chuckled at, others were a little more offensive. She said:
With the Nike Pro Hijab Launch, I do realise there is a lot of mixed reactions as to why Nike decided to create such a product ‘now.’
From my perspective as a former athlete who competed in Hijab, in the past, the big brands didn’t see the need or market for it as it was not ‘popular’ and it was unheard of to see women train, exercise and compete in hijab.
It is a recent phenomenon where more women have expressed a need for it and more professional athletes have fought for rights to compete with a headscarf, and have an equal playing field. We made it big in the news, we couldn’t be ignored.
Do Muslims feel Nike made the move out of compassion for isolated Muslims, or for profit? Maybe both, however I image those of the faith are not stressing over the question. Similar to the time Subway announced that they would serve halal meat. Was it an agenda for Subway to fire the west into Islamification? Probably not. Was it a wise move for Subway to make a few more pennies? Definitely. Companies can profit from the imaginary ‘need’ of consumers, not able to make a purchase until it is one society would be happy with.
One person that agreed with Amna said ‘Every woman deserves the right to choose what she wants to wear and it’s been really hard for those choosing hijab to find suitable clothing. This is the step in the right direction so that ALL women are included‘.
Every woman does deserve the right to choose what she wants to wear. However if she has to wait for a company to create a product before getting on with life, does she exercise that right?