Well, that's not strictly true. People are pissed off because they misunderstood what I'm saying (for the last time, I AM NOT SAYING THAT MANDATORY HIJAB IS A GOOD THING, nor did I simply steal one religion's modesty requirements, I made my own modesty rules), or they think I'm doing this for the attention (if I wanted attention there are a lot better ways to do it), or that I'm just trying to make money (again, there are way better ways to make money than this).
What's most interesting, though, is that I'm catching flak from feminist sites, most notably Jezebel.com. I love Jezebel because it's snarky and pro-woman, but the negative reaction really shocked me-- I would have thought they'd be all about the experiment, at the very least because I decided to find out for myself how it felt not to adhere to the standard Western beauty ideal. Apparently, though, I did it wrong. I guess they're revoking my Feminist card. Ah, well.
Another complaint is that no one believes me when I say that in America, covering is often a choice, or that covering could possibly be anything other than oppressive. Here are my sources:
1) Haddad, Smith and Moore, Muslim Women in America: The challenge of Islamic identity today. Page 10: "For many American Muslim women, dressing Islamically-- which in its most common form means covering the hair, arms and legs-- is not about coercion but about making choices, about 'choosing' an identity and expressing a religiosity through their mode of dress."
2) Pretty much all of The Veil: Women writers on its history, lore, and politics, edited by Jennifer Heath. This collection touches on hijab but also talks about Jewish and Christian modesty practices in nuanced ways (covering is never portrayed as either all-good or all-bad). What really stuck with me about this is Mohja Kahf's essay: according to her, veiling is actually prohibited in many Middle Eastern countries. She says, "We hear story after story of the poor woman forced to veil, and she exists, yet forced unveiling has been the experience of the last century for far greater masses of Muslim women.... But this violation of women's freedom usually draws no protest from the West, or from secular Muslim feminists. Indeed, it is often applauded in the same quarters that purport to advocate women's rights." (p.31)
I suspect that the issue is not women's lib: I think the real problem is the Western association between exposed female sexuality and our definition of "liberation." I'm not the first to say this-- see my most favorite source evar, Ariel Levy's Female Chauvinist Pigs: Women and the rise of raunch culture.
I think that as a culture we get uncomfortable when a woman denies us the opportunity to look at her. That's what I did, and that's what many women choose to do for themselves-- and that just pisses some folks off.
So to the haters, I say: do your thing. (WARNING: Contains offensive language. So if you have sensitive ears, please don't go here now and then write me angry letters later.)
P.S.: My agent recently had a baby and is down to part-time, so I need another. Takers?