The question of how we can break stereotypes has always been on my mind, even before I started this blog I asked myself this question and I have come to realize that doing so requires a lot of energy, patience and time.
Blogging has been one way for me to express myself and what I believe in but I honestly do not feel that it is enough. In my journey to change things around me I have made two mistakes which I believe most of us make. When someone would question my beliefs or my choices in life in a tone that I would find a bit provocative I would immediately get in the “fight” mode. Rather than listening to their opinion I would try my best to prove my opinion and why I was right and they were wrong and in return the conversation would turn into a debate where both parties gained nothing. Every time this would happen I would promise myself that the next time would be different, that I would try my best to be in a “listening mode” only to fall in the same mistake again. The second mistake I have been making is that I made my own assumptions about what people thought about me or veiled women in general and I never really had the courage to ask them what they really believed.
I was recently interviewed in a TV morning talk show to talk about 7ijabi and I was forced to listen to what the “other” had to say, I was forced to be in the “listening mode” rather than the”fight mode” and I had the chance to listen to what others had to say.
For the first time I realized that to break stereotypes we must put ourselves in uncomfortable situations of confrontation were we actually listen to what the other is saying, where we have to engage in dialogue which believe me is much harder said than done.
That TV interview made me realize that to break the stereotypes that surround us we must interact rather than react and that we should initiate the conversation rather than wait for someone else to come and stand up for us. By taking initiatives ourselves we will become one step closer to truly accepting and respecting one another’s differences and similarities and only then can we claim that we live in a civilized society.