Over the past few years, modesty and style have seemingly converged. Longer sleeves, looser silhouettes, and an overall more understated aesthetic have infiltrated the runways, providing women with the notion that a fashion-forward lifestyle can mean being as dressed down, or covered up, as one would like.
For young observant women though, be they practicing Muslims or Orthodox Jews, modesty is so much more than getting dressed in the morning: it's a lifestyle. It's about looking in the mirror and being satisfied with what's looking back at you; practicing proper etiquette and kindness to those around you, and respecting the religious beliefs and faith to which you adhere.
In 2009, then-high school senior Amani Al-Khatahtbeh decided that young (and stylish) Muslim women needed an outlet where they could talk about their clothing and looks — as well as other topics that affect their everyday life, from politics to beauty to pop culture. Living in the tri-state area in a post-9/11 world, where stereotypes plagued the people of her culture and others, she was sick of the feelings that girls like her experienced on a daily basis: alienation, embarrassment, even shame. She wanted the world to know that she and her friends were just like every other teenager. And she wanted their voices to be heard.
Enter: MuslimGirl.net, Al-Khatanhtbeh's brainchild that is now dominating the internet, providing a perspective that's rarely seen in the media. It's about empowerment, about feminism, about standing up for yourself (and each other). It's about presenting the world with a new portrayal of what young Muslim women are really like — that they're not oppressed or shunned, but intellectual and inspired, and more than ready for society's respect and acceptance. It has a lot to say, and we're here to listen.
Ahead, we talked to Al-Khatanhtbeh and nine of her friends (and fellow MuslimGirl staffers) about their personal style, their religious beliefs, and how they're breaking down boundaries, one blog post at a time.