As the world opens up to modest fashion and Islamic clothing, no one is pushing the agenda of this upcoming and covered way of dress more than young Muslim Vloggers who with every subscriber are becoming increasingly well-known.
The positive response from the public of these women has been overwhelming, and has in turn helped these young women on their way to becoming entrepreneurs of their own businesses. Some – after being endorsed by fashion labels and make-up brands – have been able to explore their own taste in fashion by designing and releasing their own brands to the public. They have been able to take full advantage of social media by using different platforms as free marketing tools whilst their brands grow.
However, as these Muslim vloggers climb to fame over the internet, they also open up their own worlds up to a string of hate comments, public scrutiny and even cyber-bullying.
One of the first women to start her own YouTube channel was Dina Tokio. Now married and mum of one, she began her online career by putting together regular and everyday outfits for Muslim women. She has now launched her own jewellery line and is set to open her own online clothing brand.
Now with almost 400,000 subscribers on YouTube, she regularly blogs about fashion, make-up. She has lately taken to blogging about motherhood; a topic which has reached out to a completely new market among Muslim women.
During one of her documentaries, she opens up about how the community are always posting hate comments on her social media. “And the sad thing is, they’re all from Muslims”.
Dina – who recently hit back at the hate comments she received – used YouTube to name and shame some of the people who left her these comments on social media.
In the video, Dina and her husband address someone who left a hate comment about their daughter of six months. “People wonder why I don’t wanna put pictures of Hana on the internet, ‘cus you get psychos like that. I don’t even have anything to say to that”.
She speaks of how she regularly comes under scrutiny from the Muslim community for “wearing make-up and being too open” in-front of the camera.
“I think there is a line that needs to be drawn, but everyone’s different. What I think is okay in Islam is probably not okay for someone else. You definitely have to be strong enough to deal with hate comments if vlogging is something you want to pursue”.
Akeedah has been vlogging now for a year, and is “fairly new to it” yet speaks of the harsh reality of how some – mainly her friends and family – think it is sinful in Islam for a woman to wear make-up and show herself to the public via social media.
MumMillion, Make-Up Artist and Blogger also opened up about hate comments she has received over Instagram. “Unfortunately the comments I’ve received have been from an Islamic Reminders Account”.
“What’s particularly sad is that it’s from fellow Muslims who think I shouldn’t be on social media and that I’m sinning. Some comments have mentioned my daughter and how much of a bad role model I am to her”.
Nasar Ishfaq, Imam and Islamic teacher from Manchester, voiced his views on cyber-bullying towards Muslim women.
“Muslim vloggers are taking part at the infant stage of developing a Muslim narrative that comes from the Western Muslim community itself. What the outside world is seeing and reading from these comments on social media – both positive and negative – reflect the diverse opinion base of the Muslim public”.
“The division between young and old is not so decisive but what is behind both for and against comments is the varying ideologies, cultures, traditions and theologies of the British Muslim Community”.
He also gave insight into what Islam says about abuse.
“Much of the abuse is personal yet fronted by an ‘Islamic perspective’. However what commenters fail to realise is that personal attack and abuse by inflicting both verbal and physical harm and attacking the dignity of another person is strictly prohibited by the Prophet Muhammed“.
Mr Ishfaq – who regularly speaks out about women in Islam – talks about scholarly opinions of the Islamic dress for Muslim women in Islam.
“The scholarly Muslim community has always taken the approach that female expressions of beauty – whether through make-up and clothing – is discouraged and in some instances prohibited such as exposing of anything other than the face and the hands and the feet”.
“They also explained the principles such as the clothe should not express the bodily figure of a person and should not be transparent such that their skin can be seen through it”.
“Whilst this is the dominant scholarly view based upon the sacred texts of the Quran and the Hadith (statements of the Prophet Muhammed), a minority of contemporary Muslim scholars feel that cultural norms should be allowed to define aspects of what is considered modest in make-up and clothing styles, yet they still maintain that the rule of the head-scarf extending to cover the chest area should still be adhered to”.
The difficulty in wearing the hijab in the west are often well-known among the young Muslim woman who wears it out in public. In a society that already views hijab as the cloth of oppression, the hijabi vlogger is now coming on camera to break these stereotypes constructed by the Western media by portraying themselves as women who are in charge of themselves, businesses and house-holds.
The same Muslim women are increasingly putting themselves on the front-line to a Western public in order to answer some basic questions about the headscarf and the religion itself.
As the Western and multi-cultural society in the UK accepts this movement from Muslim women, they are then being degraded by fellow Muslims who feel it is their responsibility to tell women what to wear and how to behave.
Dina told the BBC “for some reason, I get a lot of hate and girls like me will because we look ‘too good’, so you want me to look like crap so that everyone can go ‘ew’, and then you’ll be happy will you? That makes no sense”
“Everything that I do in my life and share online, I like to think helps to change the perspective of what the mainstream media thinks Muslim women are like, when in fact its pretty simple, we’re awesome”.