Author: Büşra Eser
The summer has arrived, so there are many festivals and concerts to follow up. Be it a music group that rarely comes to Turkey, or live performances that I look forward to experience, I mostly pass over the concert posters. There is not a single reason for not wanting to go to this concert; it is rather an accumulation of years. Here, I think the primary reason is my feeling that I will not feel very comfortable in the concert environment, or that it would be more acceptable in Islam not to be there. This situation has to do with being a hijabi or the sensitivities we have attributed to women/men most of the time, but I am still not bothered to shape my own decisions this way. On the other hand, what I exactly mean by “the accumulation of years” is being a hijabi. Since almost my adolescence years, in various online troll dictionaries, the analyses, comments and sometimes insults under the title “Hijabi Girl in the X Concert” about how confused this girl is, how severe the identity crisis she is experiencing or what kind of family pressure she is subjected to, caused a psychological trauma on me back then. Although those entries do not exist now; this situation has not changed too much, and became even more terrible. It is quite possible that someone will take your photo and share it on Twitter, and that thousands of people can instantly reach the photo and write many things about you. I remember that once, when a seller gave me a glass of water with the glass of a beer brand, I stressed out a little and requested him to change the glass. I was scared to see myself in entries under a title like “Hijabi Girl Drinking Beer.” In fact, what you are doing or how you look is not important, someone can look at you and tell you how much harm you cause for the hijabi community and morality just by being there, or someone else can tell their most Islamophobic interpretations through you. In these situations, it is very surprising that Muslim and secular men have many shared ideas about hijabi women.
Going back to the issue that I first mentioned, my observation is that many Muslim men do not refrain from being in places that do not seem appropriate for the hijabi women, or at least it does not matter as much as I think and ponder on. I remember my conversation with a friend who followed the music groups, their concert calendars and attended whichever concert she wanted: I had bought a ticket for a group that I was a fan of for a long time but did not have the opportunity to listen live performance. However, while doing so, I had the support of thinking about having 5-6 friends with me, expecting that we would hang out in our own case. The tickets were very cheap and right in front of the stage, but I paid almost 2-3 times more to buy tickets from the seated areas, as everyone danced and consumed alcohol there. My intention was to make the atmosphere a little more suitable for me and I was ready to listen to the concert as if I was in a symposium. This way, I would be more relieved. Anyway, that friend of mine got surprised and asked me why I had paid so much. When I explained my reasons, a smile appeared on her face and she said, “It’s good that we will have you there.“ My intention is not to judge anyone, or to make an over-generalization about religious life –especially because I do not experience this myself- and I know that the person who used this sentence was not acting ill mindedly. So much so that, if I asked my mom, friends or the female preacher that I lost my ties of affection with as we were unable to agree on a single matter, would say more or less the similar things about the concert. If I thought that this is unfair and said, “But, what about the men?” they would accept that it was not true for either for men, this is okay, but in general terms, they think it’s definitely more inappropriate for the hijabi women. Here, I also want to ask this: in this environment that we think as less suitable for hijabi women, which one is more careful about her/his Islamic sensitivities: a hijabi women who shows that she does not use alcohol or has certain sensitivities only by her looks, or a man who has nothing of this kind?
I feel like I hear the voices that say, “Come on. You can’t go to a concert, so what?” Yes, this is not my biggest trouble, and no, I do not suppose that this is my whole life. But I thought why don’t I write this matter that occupies my mind to Reçel? On the other hand, I am wondering what other people are doing or wanting to do in a concert or alcoholic environment. Do not they get confused when they are not even shopping at market that sells alcohol, but eat in an alcoholic restaurant abroad and think this seems perfectly normal for them? Although they do not prefer to go to graduation parties or concerts as they are alcoholic environments, do they prefer to leave a school/work environment when they are told “We got juice for you” or stay there thinking that this sensitivity is valuable?