My open letter to Kathy Chin

My open letter to Kathy Chin author of ‘hijabed like me’…

Oct 2011

When I first started to research islam in 2005 I frequently read up on Islamic websites. Many of these websites included this feminists letter written back in 1994. This ‘open letter’ is my second attempt at posting my skepticism of her actions in the mid 1990s.

Here is her article / opinion.

“Unveiling Oppression”

“April 28, 2004”

“by Kathy Chin “

“I wrote this article about my experiment with hijab when I was a senior at UCLA. It originally appeared in the October 1994 issue of al-talib. I recently found out that “Unveiling Oppression” has proliferated the internet in English and other languages. This was surprising to me. I didn’t think what I’ve written resonated so much with people. This article has even made it into a Lesson Plan on Veiling. I’ve posted the version that was originally published. The versions that I’ve seen on the other sites on Google are not exactly how it first appeared. “

“I walked down the street in my long white dress and inch-long, black hair one afternoon, and truck drivers whistled obscenities at me. I felt defeated. I had just stepped out of a hair salon. I had my hair cut short, telling the hairdresser to trim it as she would a guy’s. I sat numbly as my hairdresser skillfully sheared into my shoulder-length hair with her scissors, asking me with every inch she cut off if I was freaking out yet. I wasn’t freaking out, but I felt self-mutilated. “


“It wasn’t just another haircut. It meant so much more. I was trying to appear androgynous by cutting my hair. I wanted to obliterate my femininity. “


“Yet that did not prevent some men from treating me as a sex object. I was mistaken. It was not my femininity that was problematic, but my sexuality, or rather the sexuality that some men had ascribed to me based on my biological sex. They reacted to me as they saw me and not as I truly am. “


“Why should it even matter how they see me, as long as I know who I am? But it does. I believe that men who see women as only sexual beings often commit violence against them, such as rape and battery. Sexual abuse and assault are not only my fears, but my reality. I was molested and raped. My experiences with men who violated me have made me angry and frustrated. “

“How do I stop the violence? How do I prevent men from seeing me as an object rather than a female? How do I stop them from equating the two? How do I proceed with life after experiencing what others only dread? “


“The experiences have left me with questions about my identity. Am I just another Chinese-American female? I used to think that I have to arrive at a conclusion about who I am, but now I realize that my identity is constantly evolving. “


“One experience that was particularly educational was when I “dressed up” as a Muslim woman for a drive along Crenshaw Boulevard with three Muslim men as part of a newsmagazine project. I wore a white, long-sleeved cotton shirt, jeans, tennis shoes, and a flowery silk scarf that covered my head, which I borrowed from a Muslim woman. “


“Not only did I look the part, I believed I felt the part. Of course, I wouldn’t really know what it feels like to be hijabed – I coined this word for the lack of a better term – everyday, because I was not raised with Islamic teachings. “


“However, people perceived me as a Muslim woman and did not treat me as a sexual being by making cruel remarks. I noticed that men’s eyes did not glide over my body as has happened when I wasn’t hijabed. I was fully clothed, exposing only my face. “


“I remembered walking into an Islamic center and an African-American gentleman inside addressed me as “sister”, and asked where I came from. I told him I was originally from China. That didn’t seem to matter. There was a sense of closeness between us because he assumed I was Muslim. I didn’t know how to break the news to him because I wasn’t sure if I was or not. “


“I walked into the store that sold African jewelry and furniture and another gentleman asked me as I was walking out if I was Muslim. I looked at him and smiled, not knowing how to respond. I chose not to answer. “


“Outside the store, I asked one of the Muslim men I was with, “Am I Muslim?” He explained that everything that breathes and submits is. “


“I have concluded that I may be and just don’t know it. I haven’t labeled myself as such yet. I don’t know enough about Islam to assert that I am Muslim. “


“Though I don’t pray five times a day, go to a mosque, fast, nor cover my head with a scarf daily, this does not mean that I am not Muslim. These seem to be the natural manifestation of what is within. “

“How I am inside does not directly change whether I am hijabed or not. It is others’ perception of me that has changed. Repeated experiences with others in turn create a self-image. I consciously chose to be hijabed because I was searching for respect from men. Initially, as both a Women’s Studies major and a thinking female, I bought into the Western view that the wearing of a scarf is oppressive. After this experience and much reflection, I have arrived at the conclusion that such a view is superficial and misguided: It is not if the act is motivated by conviction and understanding. “


“I covered up that day out of choice, and it was the most liberating experience of my life. I now see alternatives to being a woman. I discovered that the way I dress dictated others’ reaction towards me. It saddens me that this is a reality. It is a reality that I have accepted, and chose to conquer rather than be conquered by it. It was my sexuality that I covered, not my femininity. The covering of the former allowed the liberation of that latter. “


“This article was originally published in the October 1994 issue of al-talib. I was s senior at UCLA majoring in Psychobiology and Women’s Studies at the time. “


“Posted by kathychin at 11:06 PM”

And now my letter to Kathy…

Dear Kathy,

While I don’t share your liberal ideology and I am quite confused how dressing as a muslima is somehow going to help you. After all where is the great ‘Freedoms’ that islam provides non muslim women or muslimas?

I suppose you feel somehow proud of your article and how it has been copied by muslims  to propagate islam. With your previous comment above I am not surprised that your leftist ideology has been used by muslims to promote their twisted religion / theocratic political system. I feel that your self hatred of your feminity and sexuality led you down a piss poor path that has made you not a champion of Freedom but a useful idiot for islam.

Feel free to read this.

Islams Useful Idiots     

Monday, 07 August 2006

Allow me to point out several things about islam that you didn’t know when you wrote your article in 1994.

1 Islam is a theocratic system and removes ALL FREEDOMS for non muslims. This includes the liberalism and feminism you espoused as a young person then.

2 Muslimas can be dressed in hijabs, candor, burkas and still be raped and sexually abused by muslim men.

3 Muslimas who chose to cover themselves either do so because they think it will lead them closer to allah or because their  FATHERS FORCE THEM TO!” Which of course makes your choice a pointless exercise.

4 Islamic teachings about women include allowing them to be raped by their husbands, beaten when they disobey, honor killed and more. My comments may be considered ‘generalizations’ but a quick search on google or yahoo about how muslims treat their own females donot give me much hope of muslim ability to change their teachings, culture and so forth.

I feel a lot of pity for rape victims. What they encounter is truly perverted and wrong. But my question for you is that were you indeed a rape victim or was your perception of how men look at your body the ‘rape’ you mentioned?

IF you were indeed raped and molested I HOPE you had your attacker arrested and jailed!

Clearly you are filled with self hatred and hatred of your female form. I truly pit you. You allowed your offense of mens off color comments to dictate your appearance. If men make comments about your appearance, beauty and more. You should’ve taken their comments with a grain of salt.


You chose to satisfy your inner loathing of being female!

Putting a hijab over your head and hair doesn’t make you a muslim. It makes you a non muslim trying to appear to be a muslima. In posting this article online or sending it to muslim publications you have created propaganda for muslim theocrats and other leftist allies.

I truly pity you Kathy as I pity all the other leftists who are muslim defenders, apologetics who may appear to be ‘politically correct’, ‘tolerant’ liberals but in reality are dhimmis to islam

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