A scarf does not oppress people. People oppress people.

-Covered in Light

Today is the Covered in Light International Day (or International Choice to Veil Day), an event started by Covered in Light in order to give support to women who choose to veil their hair for religious reasons.

Basically, women who choose to veil are given crap because of a) Islamophobia and b) ~*~feminism~*~. Category A is full of people who are terrified of Muslims and see a head-covering as a symbol of Islamic faith. Which, yeah, it is, but it’s also a symbol of Jewish faith, a symbol of Christian faith, and just a symbol of…you know. Head-covering. For personal spiritual reasons, or because it looks cool, or because it’s comfy, or because the gods have requested it of you, or because you’re cos-playing a character from the Kushiel’s Legacy series by Jacqueline Carey. But regardless the reason behind a head-covering, thinking someone is Muslim is not an acceptable reason to treat them like crap. I don’t care how much you may dislike Islam as a religion; I dislike Christianity fundamentally, but you don’t see me spitting on Christians in public. Because I’m not an asshole. (Mostly.) Leave Muslims alone, for fuck’s sake.

Category B is full of people who think that women who choose to veil are helping the oppression of women who aren’t given a choice, and that it’s anti-feminist to choose to do something that can be used as a tool of oppression. The people in Category B don’t understand that people oppress people, not scarves or pregnancy or marriage or burlesque or PIV sex or whatever other silly ideas they’ve got into their tiny brains. This isn’t feminism, for the record. Denying women’s agency is, like, the opposite of feminism.

Anyway, I’m not here to rant today. (I know; crazy.) I’m just here to mention Covered in Light Day briefly and talk about my experience veiling.

Putting it on was difficult, but once I got it figured out it was really comfortable.
Putting it on was difficult, but once I got it figured out it was really comfortable.

Took me a bit to figure out how to wrap it around my head just right, but once I got it on and secured it with bobby pins it was really quite comfortable. I didn’t go out much today (yet; the night isn’t over), but I did get some interesting looks. No one said anything to me, which is unfortunate — I was hoping for some teachable moments. “I’m choosing to veil today in support of women who veil for religious reasons, whether they’re Muslim, Pagan, or something else.”

I’m not sure if I would ever cover my hair for religious reasons. At any rate, I haven’t been called to do so by any gods I worship. I wear bandanas often to keep my hair out of my face while my bangs grow out/absorb sweat from my forehead while I do housework or other labor-intensive stuff, but to me that’s not really head-covering, it’s more a headband. I like the look of head-covering, so I may only choose to wear it for events like this or as an outfit accessory. Also it’s ridiculously comfy.

It also feels powerful, somehow. Which makes me ponder if I would ever do it for religious reasons. Or magical ones. I just finished reading Star Foster’s post about pagan women who veil, and I do like the idea that head-covering marks one as an adult, instead of relying on biology to mark the stages of life. (This also gives me a plot bunny for a future story. Because I need more of those.) Especially as someone who’s genderqueer and has some serious dysphoria with regards to periods and such. I used to feel that my period marked my coming-of-age as a woman, but truthfully I’ve never really felt like I made a successful transition to adulthood. Like there was no event that helped me cross that threshold. I thought my period was, but realizing I’m genderqueer, not a woman, and dealing with dysphoria kind of…killed that for me.

I don’t know. I may try doing this, off and on, to see how I feel and if it brings any spiritual or magical benefits. Or emotional ones. Might be an interesting experiment.

Scarf courtesy of my mother’s closet. She has more scarves than there were witches killed in the Burning Times someone with a lot of scarves.

And yes. It’s purple. It looks blue in the photograph but that’s because of wonky light. (My shirt is purple, too, and so is part of my skirt.)

7 replies on “Covered in Light and my experience veiling today”

  1. Yay Morag! Your mom has great taste in scarves, nice choice!

    Had I gone anywhere yesterday, I would have veiled too. I think the hostility the women from covered in light (and every other person who chooses to veil) have been facing over this is just horrible!

    Myself, I would not veil full time. I had to stop coloring my hair due to medication, but now that it’s grown out my natural silver, and I’ve seen how some people react to it (both positive and negative), I won’t cover it up. It’s my way of saying screw you youth obsessed culture and beauty industry that preys on people’s insecurities. This is the face (or hair) of natural aging! Deal with it!

    However, I have decided to start veiling when I honor Juno. She seems to love the idea and it does make sense that a Roman Goddess would expect it from a “matron”.

    1. I know, right? Her clothing collection is AMAZING.

      Veiling while honoring Juno makes a lot of sense to me. I can see it being something She’d like. (Also, tucking that piece away for further worldbuilding of the Aradian Order in my books. ;))

      And yeah, I don’t think I would veil full-time either. I have a long, complicated, messy relationship with my hair that’s pretty tied into the abusive relationships I’ve been in. So showing it is part of me saying “You do not control me, you do not control what I do with my hair; it is whatever color I want, it is whatever length I want, because it is MINE.” But then, I think I might get that same sort of feeling from doing head-covering. So it may be a part-time thing.

  2. More power to ’em. I wonder if there are those who veil who are like me and run hot and with anything on the head it feels 30 degree hotter. I know these kinds of things are often viewed as petty in some faiths. Sister C. Agnus, a teacher in my elementary school days (more like detention monitor) was full habit nun, but on those frequent days I was sent to her (to think about what I had done) she’d shut the door, lock it and pull that veil off gently and we set about creating some art and chatting. She ran hot too. She’s where I learned the phrasing I think. Of course she only did this in the warmer months, but I always think of her and how uncomfortable she was sometimes in all that garb.

    But about the topic. I agree. Hate is wasteful for any reason. It makes everyone including the hater feel like dookie.

    1. I’m the same during the summer months, actually. I’m pretty convinced I’m cold-blooded — I can’t generate my own heat, but when the weather is hot I’m too warm. When the weather is cold, or just a little bit chilly, I’m cold. Drives the Ogre nuts, because he does generate heat like a miniature sun and I’m constantly attacking him for his warmth. đŸ˜‰

      So, yeah, if I do ever veil it probably will only be between September and June. (July and August are the only hot months in BC.)

      And yeah, the hate of women who veil is just so…silly and a waste of time. What does it accomplish? Absolutely nothing, except making people feel crappy. If that’s someone’s contribution to life, then they’re doing it wrong.

  3. I am a pagan and also genderqueer. I have been wanting to veil for a while but i am only 15 and i live in a small conservative town so i don’t know how it would all go down. My mom would also probably kick me out.

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