Advanced Essay #2: Success for Muslim women


The purpose of my essay is to connect my own personal scene of memory with an outside source. I chose to write about this topic so I can be able advise Muslim girls that we can be able to fit into society and become successful like everyone else. I am proud of my quote analysis because I related it to myself. I followed a format taught in class which helped me to improve. From writing this essay I learned many new creative techniques; how to analyze quotes, and how to connect with outside sources. I want to improve my essay by being more descriptive and by focusing more on a specific event.

Hijab, is something that most Americans had questions about. Everyone would ask me what is the hijab, why do you wear it, what is the purpose. I loved answering these questions because being able to explain  the significance of this headscarf made me feel proud. On the other hand, there were always ignorant people that were rude and asked me, “Do you even have hair under that? How are you not hot?” Different emotions would run in and out of my head. As I put on a fake cheerful smile on my face hiding all the anger,  I would take a deep breath and be respectful like what my mother taught me and I answer, “I wear this for god not to cover my bald head. In fact, I have a lot of natural, real, long, thick hair.” I would always describe what my hair looks to give them a visual picture of it

Most people would sit there in shock. I loved leaving people shocked and I loved emphasizing how real and natural my hair is. The satisfaction inside of me felt surreal. If only people understood what the hijab represented. I would keep asking myself, why couldn’t it be taught in schools these people need to understand and respect other people’s culture. “Forget Samera you teach them,” I told myself. I tried to remove this envy inside of me and started to thoroughly and passionately explain to them about my hijab, what it represent, how this is who I am, and I love it, instead of bragging about my hair. By doing this brought light into my heart and slowly turned my fake smile into real emotion.

These kinds of questions most frequently happened in school. The school was the hardest place for me to find a way to fit in. I’ve always asked myself why is this so difficult. My personality isn’t bad, I am a nice person. As the years passed by my knowledge started to grow. I started to realize why people would rather be around other girls than a hijabi Muslim. It had nothing to do with my personality, it was all about my identity, the stereotypes, what people saw first, my hijab.

In 7th grade, during history class, I was told that I’m going to be a terrorist when I grow up. I didn’t say anything to stand up for myself. The pain from hearing those words caused me to have a breakdown in class. When your fellow classmate says negative comments to you about your identity makes you feel bad about who you are. It made me lose hope in becoming a doctor, I started to think well now it just looks like I am going to be an ordinary housewife nothing more than that.

Another time was when I was in the park. I was with my siblings when a lady burst out of nowhere and yelled, “go back to your country.” The anger built up inside me and I just wanted to yell, “how the hell am I supposed to go back if I am already in my country.” Instead, I stayed calm and ignored but deep down my siblings and I were terrified. These words that were said to me caused me a lot of emotional and mental pain. It made me realize that I am nothing in this country people would never acknowledge my success because of my religious background.

Being a Muslim woman in America is extremely difficult. This is because the society and the media have built these hateful stereotypes. For example, Muslims are known to be terrorists, women are trapped and are meant to be in the kitchen. This causes young students emotional pain. Not just me but everyone. People set low expectations for us, gives us fewer opportunities to become the best. Societies expectations and negativity not only shut us down from great success but also affects us personally. Most Muslim women who want to be successful are afraid to be judged by society.

Halima Aden, the first hijab-wearing fashion model, explains in a Ted Talk about not being afraid to make herself visible: “It’s about using yourself as a vessel to create change and being a human representation for the power of diversity.” The significant idea Halima demonstrates about taking risks and changes and how this is what being a minority is about. Putting yourself out there making a change is a way to make a difference in society.  This quote exemplifies that the hijab isn’t just a piece of clothing that stops Muslim girls to become something successful. It is a way for me to show other people that I am more than just a regular Muslim girl that won’t be able to do anything in life. I am someone just like everyone else; achieving dreams and exceeding societies expectations that are set for me.

It all started to grow in me and affected me. Not being able to fit in, being pushed around because I am a small Muslim girl. Negativity surrounded my head. I’ve started to follow people’s footsteps to satisfy myself and them. It wasn’t just the hijab stopping me it was also the stereotypes that people used that stopped themselves from getting to know me.

Amal Kassir, a Muslim pre-law student, explains in a Ted Talk about what society portrays of her: “On the news, it’s ISIS, Jihadi, suspect, radical, my name is could your Muslim neighbor be an extremist.” Amal explains how hard a Muslim woman works for success but at the end of the day to society think you are nothing. This is because of what the news, social media, and the society depict of Muslims. This quote exemplifies that society has a way to put Muslims down. The stereotypes toward us have had an effect on me

This society has a fixed mindset that Muslim Women are meant to “obey” men and are nothing more than housewives imprisoned in their home with children. Halima Aden and Amal Kassir are two role models that represent all Muslim Women. They proved to society that Muslim women are capable of being successful in life. They justify that we are just like everyone else and have a right to be able to step into the American society and carry on success and better change.  

All these negativity toward Muslims causes us to go down and think negatively. It puts us in the wrong mindset and makes us wonder, what is the point of even trying if others are always going to overpower us. I want to prove everyone wrong and show them hijabi Muslims are much more than what society has fixed for us.