Generalisations

posted in: Miscellaneous | 12

I’m going to start off with a small disclaimer here: My blog post is not directed at anybody or meant to cause any harm. The below incidents are based only on my personal experience.

Being a slender female from Durban, living in Cape Town, who happens to be Muslim and wears a hijab, I am a victim of quite a few generalisations. These are such automatic and involuntary yet supposedly ‘obvious conclusions’ that I sometimes can’t help but laugh at them.

#1 On Being Indian From Durban: I must be a good cook and my curries taste delicious. I house all the secrets of the best curries in my family recipe book.
The truth: I am a novice cook and I dislike curries in general.

#2 On Being Thin and Tall: I am on a diet and watch my figure. It’s also okay and not the least bit rude to blatantly criticise my weight in my presence.
The truth: Weight has never been an issue for me and I wouldn’t mind being a small bit rounder at times.

#3 On Being a Writer: My grammar is flawless and my creativity knows no bounds.
The truth: I wish! My grammar is so flawed (thanks Durban English) and creativity only visits me when I least expect it to.

#4 On Being a University Graduate: “Wow, you must be so intelligent.”
The truth: Haha – anyone can get a degree (literally).

#5 On Being a Hijab-clad Muslim: I am very holy and know everything there is to know about Islam.
The truth: As flattered as I am that someone might think I know so much, I actually don’t. I try to follow and practise the little that I know.

#6 On Being a Married Muslim Woman: I already have a few children and probably know a lot about motherhood.
The truth: I’m humbled, but no – I am not a mom neither do I know much about being one.

#7 On Being #5 and #6: “Shame, does your husband always want you to cover your hair?”
The truth: Wearing a hijab is a personal choice of mine, and my husband happens to be okay with that. Thank you for your concern – it’s touching.

That’s pretty much it… And a thank you to those who have made me laugh with these over the years. Are you also a victim of any of them or any other generalisations? Care to share below? I’d really love to know!

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I read. I write. I smile. Also love sleeping, laughing and drinking tea.

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12 Responses

  1. Haha I totally get that when it comes to my weight! People always tell me I need to eat more. And also because I am an Indian female who likes to dress up sometimes, people assume I am a dumb, attention-seekin girl. I can’t count the number of times people were shocked when I started talking about nerdy stuff haha

    • Yes! They always say “eat more” – I will never understand the logic behind that.
      Haha, I can just imagine the look on their faces when they realise you’re beauty and brains! 😀

    • TheTraveller

      It’s a family thing. I keep getting told I need to pick up weight when in fact I’m stronger than I was 2 years ago but smaller 😛

  2. “I often wonder why the whole world is so prone to generalise. Generalisations are seldom if ever true and are usually utterly inaccurate.”
    ― Agatha Christie, Murder at the Vicarage

    “People generalise because they are projecting their own negativities on others.” – Glass

  3. Lol, enjoyed this list! I can also identify with some of points 😉

  4. Haseena

    Cool blog, don’t know how I’ve missed it before.

    People are always accusing naturally skinny people of being “too thin”, it’s rude because you’d never tell anyone they’re too fat/short etc. Rudeness.
    If you eat healthy/say no to mediocre desserts then you’re obviously on a diet to lose weight.

    Generalisations are an easy narrative, boxing people in neatly, allowing only the generaliser the luxury of being “complicated”, deep, forever pointing out that they think too much, SIGH. People are hilarious.

    • Thanks for your comments Haseena.
      You’ve said it perfectly… Some generalisations, like the weight, are rude.
      Generalising is the easy way out… and says a lot about the person making the comments. That’s why the best reaction is to just see the humour in it 🙂

  5. it’s so inspiring to read blogs by muslim women in hijab. No disrespect to women who aren’t in hijab, but I find myself being drawn to people who i’d like to aspire to (even if it’s just one aspect of that person). im sooo not perfect, but who is?! I can relate to some of your points, especially #3 to #7, haha! I blame propaganda for letting the world believe all women in hijab are terrorists or booking their next flight to ISIS. once people get to know you they see that you are just a regular person like them. im not indian, im malay BUT IM HUMAN and I also cant cook great as anybody thinks…. but I can read so I follow recipes.

    btw, im thinking of starting a blog. any tips? 🙂 ibtisamellis@gmail.com

    • Thank you Ibtisam, that means a lot. There are many Muslim women who blog and it really is so inspiring. Each one brings their own shade of colour to the spectrum, embracing technology and spreading their voice far and wide.

      Aah, I don’t have much tips to share but I will pop you mail now. 🙂

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