Monday, May 27, 2013

Gatsby Style Head Scarf

The Great Gatsby and Downton Abbey have brought the Roaring Twenties forward a hundred years. As always, style follows popular cinema and television. Just you watch; it's already started. Bloggers and hairstylists are bringing forth photos and how-tos throughout the internet inspired by the whole art deco genre. Get ready to adjust your head scarves as modesty will allow:
Daisy's scarf from Great Gatsby: find out more about how to tie at's  Scarf Tying How-To's
Club Monaco Gatsby Head Scarf
(over $80, but we can find something to match it in our own price range)
Our Production Coordinator looks fab in her glad rags! For this one I folded the scarf as many times as I could and double knotted it at the bottom. Looks just like Daisy's in the first photo.
A modern take, from a blog photo article on Gatsby style hair pieces at The Twistband Blog
Check out this cute style from "The Great Gatsby: Timeless Glamour" blog entry
""Tie Your Headscarf The Daisy Way"
"Prairie Girl in the City" created this Gatsby inspired look

Great Gatsby Scarf Tutorial | Henry Happened
"Henry Happened" posts pictures and video of how to create the Gatsby style scarf wraps
Another "Inspired by Gatsby" head scarf wrap style
Marc Jacobs head scarves
Check out the Feminine Headscarves at the Marc Davis runway fashion show (how-to at link)

Gatsby 6
"Made With Loops" presents the knitted version, free pattern linked at her site

Photo: Turban Scarf Headband..Style It Your Way!!
Turbans Designed by Venius shows off a variety of turbans and wraps that fit the 1920's styles as well as today's

And don't miss"10 Ways to Style a Head Scarf" - a video from The Kit: Beauty and Fashion, inspired by the ladies (especially Lady Edith) of Downton Abbey.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Giving Head Coverings a Bad Name [Chile]

Click to read:
"BBC News - Unmasking Chile's hooded protest movement"
photo from BBC article
 "They turn up to almost every demonstration in the Chilean capital Santiago and hurl stones, petrol bombs and even acid at the police.
"They spray the walls of the city with graffiti and attack journalists who try to film or photograph them.
"They are the "encapuchados" or "hooded ones", and they have become a regular feature of the protests that have convulsed Chilean society over the past two years."

They infiltrate normal student protests and other demonstrations, taking the significance of the protests away from whatever point may have been made and refocusing all policy making back toward crime control. Many are anarchists, and many are disgruntled (bored and rich) young people. They don't only appear in Santiago, but in cities all over the world. I personally am thinking of the filth and destruction left by hooded and face-covered brats in Toronto a couple of years ago during a summit of world leaders.

"The aims of these violent protesters are difficult to assess. Some seem to be fighting for revolution, while others are fighting just for fun." 

In free societies, one cannot simply tell people what they can and cannot wear. So ignorant thugs like these hide their identities and hijack otherwise peaceful demonstrations for their own selfish desire to destroy other people's stuff, whether physical or intellectual property. If you've ever been stared down by an adolescent child standing on your driveway telling you that you can't tell them what to do, you know the helplessness that their form of empty terrorism inspires.

I just want to walk up to them and rip those stupid rags off of their heads and faces. They have given up their right to cover their heads. It is not from modesty or humbleness, or even a desire to protect themselves from poisonous gases. They cover out of fear of getting caught and punished. They are childish cowards.

A woman who covers her head simply believes in a higher being who created the world and left her rules to live by, such as respecting the men and women who are her neighbours in life. If she does something stupid like these hoodlums, using her head covering to hide criminal behaviour, well, we'll cross that bridge if we get to it.

EDITED to add:

For more information on the "encapuchados" or "hooded ones", see:

"The Art of Change," by Titus Levy in "Occupied Stories", February 2012.
"Encapuchados in the National University," Columbia, from "Mike's Bogota Blog", April 2013.
"Protests offer lessons for UC student organizers," from a project by the University of California: "Chilean Winter", by Suzy Strutner and Jenna Belhumeur, 2013.
"Performing the Political: Encapuchados in Venezuela," a paper in "Project Muse", by Fernando Calzadill, January 1998.

Friday, May 17, 2013

Can Turkey Be Secular and Allow Head Coverings?

For those who follow these kinds of things in the news [click to view articles I've done with the label "Turkey"], you'll have heard about how things are better for women who want to wear a head covering than they were under the last secular leader of the country of Turkey. Wanting to join the European Union and appear as secular as possible, head scarves were banned in public places in Turkey, such as universities and court rooms, leaving many women scratching their heads about how truly open minded the country was. A friend of mine whose husband has visited Turkey on business has reported how friendly and helpful a country he encountered, and that if their Muslim family ever moved anywhere, it might be Turkey. When I mentioned what I'd heard so long about the head scarf ban, she assured me that things are very different there now, and head covered women are not shunned from the public as they once were. It is true that things have changed, but as all changes are, they come slowly.

headscarved lawyer Zübeyde Kamalak,
"Judge obeys State Council's "headscarf" decision", in the World Bulletin, is an article sharing how at least one judge had very recently postponed a trial because a lawyer was wearing a headscarf, "saying that lawyers cannot attend hearings with their headscarves on while actively practicing law, which he said is a public service." This article concludes with this summary on the state of things in Turkey: "The headscarf ban in universities was eased after the Higher Education Board (YÖK) sent a circular to universities in 2010 asking them to allow headscarved students. Yet there are still some universities and professors who insist on implementing the ban."

The draft has raised debate that it will remove the headscarf ban. DHA photo
DHA photo: "Against women the greatest violence is the headscarf ban"
"Charter panel talks headscarf freedom", in the Hurriyet Daily News, by Göksel Bozkurt, and dated 11 May 2013, includes discussion on the constitutional draft clause: “Nobody can be prohibited from fulfilling the requirements of their religious belief.” Does the clause actually mean that wearing head scarves in the public sector will be allowed across the board? Apparently that is still up for debate. Some believe that the allowance for head coverings was not intended, or if seen that way, was a mistake that should be fixed, while other hint at troubles within this new government. One comment below the article, signed "Rorschach," states: "Let's be absolutely clear about this. There is nothing, and I mean absolutely NOTHING in the koran that "requires" a Muslim woman to cover her head."

It looks like this discussion is far from closed in Turkey, as well as many other places in our world. I hope that the open hand of friendship which Turkey is holding out to the world includes being open to its own lady citizens who would choose to cover.


EDIT: I wanted to add this article:  "Egypt, Turkey, and Tunisia Are All Slowly Islamizing", from The Atlantic, by Steven A. Cook, dated 13 May 2013. It includes some interesting history about these countries and specifically brings up the topic of head coverings in Turkey about half way through the article.

Friday, May 10, 2013

"Orthodox Christian Women Vs. Muslim Women"

russian orthodox christian women
photo from comment
photo from the article linked below
Read the article:
Orthodox Christian Women Vs. Muslim Women | People - Opposing Views
by Allison Troy, Demand Media

A new friend and I were talking yesterday while watching our children playing and exercising in their Aikido class, and she remarked how pretty one of the young girl's scarf was (a made for girls hijabi style with lace trim), and I agreed, adding that I really like the way that head scarves can be made for exercise and movement so that they stay in place. I shared with her about the problem of trying to keep a head scarf in place while trying to worship with a small child in your lap, and she laughed with me. We were having one of those, "You too?!" moments that sometimes occurs between new friends, however to some people it may have seemed odd to see the two of us huddled in conversation, me in my jeans and modest read and white printed top, with ponytail, and she in her Palestinian patterned abaya-dress, with pink head covering. The more we talked, the more we touched on "issues of commonality", such as head covering, modesty, distinction between males and females, and having people say hurtful things to you because they just don't get it. We also discussed a few general differences between the "big three" faiths, including the fact that Jewish women can appear to be uncovered because there is that allowance for wigs as a hair covering.
photo from Life in the Married Lane blog (check it out for more on Jewish head covering!)

I found this article when I came home, and of course, thought "what a coincidence". The author points out just a few general similarities between the Muslima and the typical Orthodox Christian woman, including the origins of our modest dress and head coverings, and women in the public sphere. She writes:
Protocol for clothing, particularly in Islam, has become a symbol for what many outside these traditions see as a repression of women’s rights. At the same time, many women in both Islam and Orthodox Christianity would claim that the hijab (for Muslims) and the veil (for Orthodox women) are, in fact, representative of their spiritual freedom.
Isn't that what we headcovering women have been saying? That for us all, it is a spiritual freedom, and an individual choice.

It is a short article, and one worth considering by those who don't have a nice friend to sit with and talk about religious traditions while our children are learning a kind of Eastern martial art. The author, or at least this publication, "Opposing Views" seems to have other similar short articles to explain things that outsiders only guess at (and many times, guess at wrongly).

I believe that it is good to understand, or at least to try to, because I know that I want to be understood. As my friend and I also discussed, one of the things that we have in common is that many of our own friends and acquaintances are not even knowledgeable about their own faith, let alone that of others. It is good to understand what you are doing; and sometimes, understanding why others do what they do helps you to clarify your own position for yourself.

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Happy in Head Covering: Photo Review

Click to read:
Secular Lens, Religious Vision | The Jewish Week
"Italian photographer’s view of religious women upended by project", by Chavie Lieber.
A member of the Breslov sect dances at sunset near her home in Beit Meir, Israel. photo by F.  Valabrega

"Italian photographer Federica Valabrega always believed religious women were oppressed and unhappy," the article opens. But the Italian photographer decided to document her discoveries about oppressed religious women, in various places, in print, and wound up presenting a diverse collage of women, head covered and all, who were living free and happy lives. This short article relates her story, and a couple of pictures. From the story:

"Valabrega noted that she’s made great strides in understanding the way the different communities within religious Judaism interact. When she first started her project, she was not able to distinguish the different sects, and many of them looked the same to her. Now, she said, she’s able to distinguish members of different communities by their dress and their conduct, by their head coverings and their accents. She’s also come to learn that while the rest of the world believes these women are unhappy and subjugated, she finds them powerful, capable, and complacent — and often the pillars of their home."

See the artist's home page,, for more. Click to view her "portfolio" and choose the section "Daughters of the King". After reading her brief summary, click the photo to open the slide show and view her other photos added here at this time. I hope that Federica will return to the project to add more dialogue along with the photos in the slideshow, so that viewers can find the happiness of the women along with her.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Just Cover Up

Summer time in the northern hemisphere means longer days and more sunshine, and warmer weather that has folks wanting to strip down and go nearly nude. But uncovering your body and your head in the summer are not just rules for Arabic-background cultures, and they never were. We bicker and argue over whether or not we should cover out of modesty, or religious duty, or as a symbol of our faith, or from government law, or out of a sense of fashion, or embarrassment at hair loss. But here's the thing: everyone should cover up.
How to protect yourself - Canadian Living: • Cover up. “Keep your T-shirt on" says Rivers. Wear loose-fitting pants and long-sleeved shirts made from closely woven material for the best protection. Wear a wide-brimmed hat. And continue to use sunscreen.
Further rules for covering and protecting your head and face include:

• Head for the shade whenever possible and cover up with clothing and a wide-brimmed hat. (Look for a brim with a dark underside to prevent sun from reflecting back up onto your face.)
• Protect lips with lip balm that has at least SPF 15, and reapply every hour.
• Protect your eyes; wear sunglasses with a UV rating of 100 per cent.
The number one choice to protect your skin from sun damage is:

1: Cover Up

About one million Americans were diagnosed with some form of skin cancer in 2005. In fact, according to the Skin Cancer Foundation, the disease makes up one in three cancers diagnosed in this country. Fortunately, there is plenty you can do to protect your skin from the damaging effects of the sun.

One of the best things you can do is cover up. The sun's rays are most intense between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. Stay indoors during this time, or if you must be outdoors, cover up and wear sunscreen. The Skin Cancer Foundation says that hats and clothing made of dark, tightly woven materials absorb ultraviolet light better than cotton fabrics in lighter shades. Dry fabrics offer more protection than wet ones.
 Check web stores like Sun Protection Zone,
 the Village Hat Shop,
Solartex Sun Gear,
and the sun hat guide at Sun Protection Hats.

For articles on how-to wear a floppy hat, see this at Fashion Spot or this at FairWindSarongs.