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VIDEO: Hijab, Muslim Women and the 'Busting Stereotypes' Myth

Posted on Sep 04, 2019
Guest Contributor


By Layla Abdullah-Poulos

Every day across the United States (and around the world), Muslim women who wear the hijab must negotiate social layers that politicize, criticize and characterize the covering their heads (an act of worship for many) – often at extremes of fascination and abnormality as viewed by the public at large.

The tensions – generated by the fixation on hijab as a social peculiarity – result in a number of phenomena, including an appetite for stories of covered Muslim women "busting stereotypes," meaning hijab-wearing Muslim women who become headlines for doing something that disassociates them from generalizations and prevailing stereotypes. 

Use of the phrase "busting stereotypes" often permeates news stories about hijab-wearing Muslim women for doing virtually anything it seems. I spoke with Haute Hijab (and my) blog and content editor, Dilshad Ali about the problem with trying to break other people's stereotypes of Muslim women, the merits of forgoing such stories versus building off of them to affect deeper change, and how we can uplift and tell stories of covered Muslim women without reducing them to cliches.

Check out the three videos of our conversation and share your thoughts below in the comments!

Part One: What does "busting stereotypes" mean, and what is are the losses and gains in producing or promoting such stories?


Part Two: Telling/reporting stories of hijab-wearing Muslim women because they are interesting stories, but more importantly to lay the groundwork for the inclusion of Muslim women in more articles and stories that do not focus on their hijab.


Part Three: How blogs like Haute Hijab can better tell stories and report about Muslim women who wear hijab (and who don't) because of our connection to our communities and our focus on sharing deep narratives, not busting stereotypes.