Muslim women support Nike as backlash over sports hijab sparks #BoycottNike

0

Muslim women support Nike as backlash over sports hijab sparks #BoycottNike

View CaptionHide Caption
Time
Time Inc.

Nike announced last week that it would be releasing its first product directed at Muslim female athletes, the Pro Hijab. And since the unveiling, the company has received its share of backlash from the public.

Social media users have criticized the company for supporting the “oppression of women,” prompting tweets of dissent with the hashtag #BoycottNike.

But many Muslim women, including weight lifter Amna Al Haddad, the brand’s target audience for its Pro Hijab, applauded the company for its new product, which was developed with the help of hijab-wearing athletes.

“In the past, the big brands didn’t see the need or market for it as it was not ‘popular’ and it was unheard of to see women train, exercise and compete in hijab,” Haddad shared on Instagram.

With the Nike Pro Hijab Launch, I do realize there is a lot of mixed reactions as to why Nike decided to create such a product “now.” __ From my perspective as a former athlete who competed in Hijab, in the past, the big brands didn’t see the need or market for it as it was not “popular” and it was unheard of to see women train, exercise and compete in hijab. __ It is a recent phenomenon where more women have expressed a need for it and more professional athletes have fought for rights to compete with a headscarf, and have an equal playing field. We made it big in the news, we couldn’t be ignored. __ As Muslim women, we have been vocal in the media about it – personally since 2011 – the big guys can’t help but notice us “the underdogs” and our impact in the sports industry and world. They know that we are here to stay and decided to join the party and create another “competitive” sport hijab in the market, which by the way, did exist in the market for few years now. __ As an innovative company, they will create products and they will meet market needs – whatever they may be. It is not dismissing any other hard work done in the past to develop sports hijabs, it’s just there is more competition in the market for modest clothing now. __ I support Muslim women with or without hijab, and how they dress is their choice. And with the Nike Sports Hijab, it surely will encourage a new generation of athletes to pursue sports professionally, and without us athletes who fought for this right and made it happen, Nike wouldn’t “just do it.” __ Ps. This is purely my opinion on the matter, not paid for or asked to be written. Much Love, -Amna

A post shared by آمنة الحداد Amna Al Haddad 🇦🇪 (@amna.s.alhaddad) on

Others responded to the polarizing criticism of the Pro Hijab, writing that for them, wearing the hijab is not oppression, but a choice.

Users are also sharing a  video by Hanna Yusuf of The Guardian, in which the Muslim feminist addressed critics of the hijab and said that wearing hers is a feminist statement. 

“In a world where a woman’s value is often reduced to her sexual allure, what could be more empowering than rejecting that notion?” she said.

But, Yusuf said, her concern with the hijab being unfairly portrayed as oppression is not a denial of the fact that some women are forced to wear it in some parts of the world.

According to a press release obtained by Fortune.com, the Nike Pro Hijab is expected to cost $35, and is similar to its other Nike Pro products: “inconspicuous, almost like a second skin.”

The move followed Nike’s viral campaign called “What Will They Say About You?”— a digital ad targeted at women in the Arab world, featuring female athletes such as figure skater Zahra Lari of the United Arab Emirates and boxer Arifa Bseiso from Jordan.

Nike’s Pro Hijab will be on sale in Spring 2018.

View Comments 0

Weather and Traffic