If a girl wears Hijab at 9, isn’t that sexualization? [I disagree] Part 1

If a girl wears Hijab at 9, isn’t that sexualization? [I disagree] Part 1


In some Islamic countries (for example, Iran) a girl is forced to start wearing a hijab from the age of 9. Why is this? Doesn’t that imply that 9 year old girls are sexually attractive? And if that is the case, isn’t that idea in need of some serious reform?

Salaam alykum,

I’m not sure whether it is indeed true that a girl has to start wearing hijab at the age of 9, and even if it is true, I have never understood why the actions of Iran (or Saudi Arabia) have become the “litmus test” for “what Islam does.”

Furthermore, as I have discussed before, I feel that forcing women to cover is as tyrannical as forcing them to uncover, and that this choice should be left up to women.

Why don’t we discuss the fact that Muslim countries have had several female heads of state, whether Pakistan’s Bhutto, Bangladesh’s two Prime Ministers (Zia and Hasina), Turkey’s Tansu Ciller, Senegal’s former Prime Minister Mame Madior Boye, or Kyrgyzstan’s President Roza Otunbayeva, and finally, the largest Muslim country in the World elected Megawati Sukarnoputri as their President.

Why do we never speak about this? Or, when it comes to Iran, why do we not speak about the tremendousimprovement in women’s education following The 1979 Revolution? With estimates that Iran’s Universities are 60%+ women, where is that coverage? Where is the coverage of Marzieh Vahid Dastjerdi, the Minister of Health, who is a woman?

But I digress.

Quite frankly, I believe this is a loaded question. Because I am not a woman, I do not know what hijab means to me, and thus I do not think it is appropriate for me to answer a question about hijab and what constitutes the proper time for a female to make that choice. I will never know what dictates that decision, because, again, I am a dude.

However, I am unsure as to how a girl wearing hijab at 9 underlines that she is sexually attractive. I am sure that little girls who go to prayer would like to emulate their mothers when attending prayer themselves. I imagine (I may be wrong) that this desire for emulation of your mother’s expression of piety is at the root of this.

Furthermore, I think there is a far more distressing issue, which is having toddlers and infants participate in beauty pageants, in which we hammer into the highly impressionable minds of little girls that their self-worth is determined by their looks alone.

I think there is a qualitative difference between these two examples, especially when you see the stores that young girls shop at, where that same nine year old, in America, is encouraged to wear tube tops and wear make-up, is that not also distressing and disturbing?

Regardless, at the end of the day I am a man, and so whether it is appropriate for a girl to wear hijab or makeup at nine, should be discussed by women, who are far more aware of the ramifications of those actions at that age than I.

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