Cell phones and hijabs: A match not made in heaven


Question:  I keep seeing Somali women with cellphones tucked into their headscarves.  Is this a common thing?

I don’t know how this started, but it seems like almost every Somali woman in the city is talking on her phone while it’s tucked into the fold of her hijab. It makes me wonder who first started this and if that person is still doing so. Did one woman start this one day, and then her friends all did it, and their friends, or did it happen at a group meeting where everybody decided this is how they will use their phones from now on?

Maybe it’s a fashion statement. If you don’t think that women wearing hijabs care about fashion, take another look at all of the beautiful colors and ways of wearing them. Maybe I’m just a little envious, because I can’t tuck a phone into my head-covering and have it feel at all secure. Maybe that’s why I want to make the following plea to my Somali sisters about their cell phones:

Living in Minnesota as a Somali, and especially as a Somali woman, I am already self conscious. I get the feeling that people are talking behind my back; I feel odd looks thrown my way and a few words whispered. So when I see other Somali women doing something that looks ridiculous, like tucking their cell phones into their hijabs, it makes me want to grab them, shake them, and say, “Why on earth are you doing this? Why are you making yourself — and me — look silly?”

It does have one benefit, though.  According to my American friends, Somalis are bad drivers so I’d rather have them drive hands free, rather than holding onto the phone and driving. But I don’t think these women had public safety in mind when they brilliantly decided to do this.

To my female Somali readers, please, I implore you, just go buy a headset. 

First of all, it’s cheaper than a new phone, which you’re going to need when your current one falls out of your hijab, which it’s going to do, guaranteed.  If you wrap your hijab tight enough to keep a phone secure enough to not worry about it, you will have other issues to attend to. 

Second, it’s cheaper than a new car, which you’re going to need when your phone gets bumped the other way, falls into your hijab, and you try to fish it out on the road. 

Third, as convenient as it seems to keep your phone up to your ear when you aren’t talking, you still need to take it out to answer and end a call. (And good luck if you ever get a new phone with a touchscreen!)

Finally, I never thought I’d say this, but a headset actually looks less silly than sticking a phone up there. 

So please, if you can’t be bothered to hold a phone to your ear, take a lesson in looking ridiculous from Somali men, and walk around with a bluetooth headset everywhere you go.