Are hair-slips a thing?
September 21, 2016 7:54 AM   Subscribe

Should I have told my hijabi classmate a bit of her hair was showing?

I moved to Sweden recently, and almost half of my classmates in the Swedish course are from Syria, mostly muslims.

Today, at one point, I looked at one of the women and realized a strand of her hair was peaking from under her sheila. This is the first time, in the three months we've shared a classroom, that I've seen her hair, so it's clear it wasn't intended.

I thought about letting her know (we were sitting close enough that I could have whispered or gestured discretely and nobody would have noticed) but I didn't know if having some hair out would be that embarassing, or if being made aware of it would have been more embarassing.

Eventually she moved to sit with a friend of hers, and about 15 minutes later when she left the class her hair was fully covered again, so I guess the friend told her or she noticed it.

I'm a woman, but from a non muslim and non arab country, and we are aquantainces, not friends. However if I ever have a wardrobe malfunction that threatens my notion of modesty and she noticed, I would like her to tell me.

Muslims of metafilter: I understand every person has different levels of comfort about certain things, and she also could have interpreted any inappropriate or awkard behaviour in my part is having no idea, but generally speaking, would it have been ok, or even a good thing, for me to let her know that her hair was showing?

posted by Promethea to Society & Culture (5 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
I have a lot of Muslim (adult) students, both covered and not covered (and semi-covered), and I leave it to them to manage. I expect that they all have their own routines for checking on their hair and covering arrangements--after all, for the ones who do cover their hair, it's part of their daily lives. I feel that it would be rude for me to try to help by mentioning a stray hair or slipping scarf. A good friend whose exact tolerance and sense of urgency I know, and who has said to let her know if there's a slip, would be a different matter.

Obviously comments from Muslim women will be more relevant, but that's my two cents.
posted by wintersweet at 8:07 AM on September 21, 2016 [3 favorites]

I work with an Orthodox Jewish man who wears his tzitzit inside his clothing. On the rare occasion they've been visible, I've treated it like an unzipped fly or food in his teeth and matter-of-factly but discreetly pointed it out.
posted by mchorn at 8:41 AM on September 21, 2016

I know hijabis who have varying ways of covering. Some allow hair, some don't, and they're vigilant to varying degrees about it. Unless it's a good friend and I know her specific approach, I wouldn't say anything. I would however, always point out a skirt or other clothing tucked into underclothing, or clothing riding up in a revealing way - but I do that for men and women generally.
posted by quince at 10:40 AM on September 21, 2016 [3 favorites]

[A few comments deleted. OP's really looking for input specifically speaking from knowledge about this Muslim headcovering situation, not about general principles that apply in other situations. If you don't know, it's ok to skip the question.]
posted by LobsterMitten (staff) at 12:08 PM on September 21, 2016 [2 favorites]

My family is Muslim. I grew up having to wear the hijab among women who wear it to this day (although I gave it up a long time ago), so I'm familiar with the culture.

If the hijabi seems to be an outgoing, extroverted person, it would probably be okay to say something. Many hijabis can be shy and/or follow cultural norms of 'modesty' in terms of behavior as well as dress, and therefore may not welcome comment on their headscarf. If your acquaintance is an outgoing person, it's more likely that she'd take the observation in stride.
posted by Everydayville at 6:31 PM on September 21, 2016 [2 favorites]

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