From Hijab to 6″ Heels

On New Year’s Eve about ten years ago I went to see Persepolis, an animated feature about a young girl growing up in Iran during the overthrow of the Shah. She leaves as a teen and returns as an adult, having to don the veil. For a couple of hours I was immersed in this world where women were not free to dress as they wished.

I also got to see friendship, senses of humor and family meals – views of Muslim life that were unfamiliar to me. It is, after all, their private world.

When the movie ended at 10:00 o’clock, I stepped out into a winter night in New York City still wrapped in the habits of a different culture. What had seemed so normal just hours before – young women teetering on sparkly heels, wearing microscopic skirts – now seemed – different. For just that moment I was seeing our culture as an outsider.

So this is how women who are free to dress as they choose – choose to dress? Why do you suppose not one of them wanted to wear nice long wooly pants?

We all are raised and live our lives in a demanding culture. Sometimes there is an overall richness and fulfillment that far outweighs any accommodations that are asked of us. Other times we can feel invisible and unseen for who we are.

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