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Miss Headscarf 2008

In May 2008, Danmarks Radio's youth club, 'Skum' announced a competition entitled 'Miss Headscarf 2008'. They aimed to show the 'cool Muslim women' who 'often make up a very fashion-conscious and style-confident part of the Danish street scene'. But the competition was open to both Muslims and non-Muslims, the only condition being they were over 15 and were wearing a headscarf - read the FAQs for more information about the competition. You can also see pictures of all the entrants here.

The winner was announced earlier this month by judges including fashion expert Uffe Buchhardt. 18-year-old Huda Falah was chosen because of the bright blue colour of her headscarf. This clip shows a short interview with Huda:

Although the aim of this competition was to get women's voices heard, many Muslims in Denmark protested against it:

"The whole point of the headscarf is that it's a symbol of chastity," said spokeswoman Bettina Meisner. "We don't wish young women to expose themselves as objects."

Read the rest here. This video from the BBC also discusses the issue.

But Muslims weren't the only ones who had a problem with the competition. Several political figures claimed that it 'glorified the wearing of a garment considered oppressive by many women'. (Wonder who they asked?)

I admire the organisers of the competition for aiming to rid people of the misconceptions surrounding the hijab, and allowing young Muslimahs to speak for themselves. As the organisers said, this was a fashion competition, not a beauty pageant. The focus was on the garment itself, rather than the wearer's looks. I don't think that it demeans the hijab, and many Muslims in Denmark seem to have missed the point of it entirely. Surely considering the political tensions in Denmark following the cartoon controversy, showing Muslims in a positive light should be welcomed? Saying that however, I don't think that this competition will have changed the minds of people who are dead-set against it. Those calling for a ban will not stop doing so, but perhaps this could help influence the opinions of the general Danish public?

What did you think of Miss Headscarf 2008?

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