“Headscarf debates” – a never-ending story


The first time I (left) ever wore the headscarf was in Cairo in spring 2012

This picture was taken in Egypt and it was the first time that I ever wore the headscarf. Since then, I have talked to many people about it, I have worn it again several times in several countries, with different people and facing different reactions. It is still always kind of an adventure for me to put it on, because I know that people react differently to women wearing the headscarf. Therefore this is a call to try to see the headscarf differently and unveil it from the whole political and religious assumptions with which it has been covered for at least the last 12 years!

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A compliment?

It happens everywhere. It happens to every woman all over the world. There are definitely differences in the extent and severity of the actions and the reactions but the ideas it is based on are everywhere just the same.

I’m talking about sexual harassment.

Yes, I have to write about it. And I’m sorry, because I can already hear people sighing because of that topic but this is exactly the reason that makes it so pressing. Due to some recent events (Brüderle, Tahrir square) on different levels of society, we have been talking a lot about the social acceptance of sexual harassment and the frequency and severity in the West – and still there is so much misunderstanding.

Some politicians (guess what party…) in the USA recently wanted to make a difference between illegitimate and legitimate rape (whereby they stated that illegitimate rape could naturally NOT result in pregnancy – yeah guys: “alles klar”), whereas other voices created initiatives (in Germany for example #Aufschrei – a hashtag on twitter where women could share their experiences about sexual harassment). So, yes it is a pressing topic but regarding the current discourse as well as ongoing practice it is, in my view, still not discussed with enough rigour, let alone follow-up actions. For all those sighing, I titled the paragraphs with the most common defensive arguments of the current situation in society. Would be great if you also read between them!

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