BIKINIYou’re weird.BURQAI think you’re pathetic.BIKINII think YOU are oppressed.BURQAYou call this oppression, I call this my liberation.BIKINIHaven’t you ever worn a bikini? Not just once? Aren’t you curious what it feels like to be almost naked, standing on the beach and having all these guys look at you like they want to eat you-BURQAI’ve never even shown my hair in public.BIKINIWhy not?BURQAI believe in modesty. I do what my Lord tells me to. It’s in my religion to tell me to cover my jewel.BIKINIThat’s great but I don’t care about religion or God. I do what I want and you’re not going to tell me to cover my own jewel.
BURQAI’m not trying to tell you to wear a burqa. If you’re gonna wear a bikini, I want to wear my burqa.BIKINII just don’t want anyone to force me to wear a burqa. I like my right to wear a bikini!BURQAThat’s why I love being in this country. I can wear what I want. But when I wear this, people call me a terrorist and they say I shouldn’t be allowed to wear it. Yet I thought we have freedom of expression here.BIKINIHow is wearing a burqa considered freedom of expression?BURQAFreedom of expression means- the freedom to express yourself. In any style of manner.BIKINII haven’t thought about it that way.BURQAYour bikini is your expression of being free. My burqa is my expression of devotion to Allah.BIKINIWell, I suppose that’s a good point.BURQAI will never wear a bikini and I think you’re better than wearing that awful bikini, but I’m not going to look down at you.BIKINII-I sort of looked down at you. I assumed you were weak- helpless and oppressed. But you’ve got a loud mouth and you won’t shut up.(she laughs)BURQAThat’s what everyone thinks.BIKINIBut it’s not different when I wear a bikini. Lots of guys and even some females assume that I’m just some stupid bimbo, too.BURQADon’t a lot of males think that way about females, no matter how they dress, though?BIKINIYeah, probably.(beat)BURQASometimes I hate being female.BIKINIWhy?BURQAThere’s no way to win.
—Excerpt from “Burqa and Bikini (Two Babes in a Bicker)”, a 10 minute stage play written by Sabina England, originally published at The American Dream is Dead…
Latoya’s Note: I came across this piece after being frustrated after writing this post for Jezebel, and watching the conversation default into the same lazy spiral. Some people didn’t even bother to engage with what I wrote, instead defaulting immediately to voicing their assumptions about women who cover. As a non-Muslimah, this irks me. I can only imagine what Muslimahs feel when people continually talk past them, ignoring their words and stubbornly holding on to their pre-existing ideas. The play, in full, does a wonderful job increasing the complexity of each character and hashing out a lot of the issues that surface within these types of conversations. Oh, and I should mention – most of you know Sabina by her screen name: Deaf Indian Muslim Anarchist.
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