Nike Pro Hijab
Sports clothing manufacturer Nike is “introducing” a new line of Muslim friendly “sportswear” which will include a “hijab” head covering featuring the Nike “swoosh” brand logo.
The new “Nike Pro Hijab” is the result of several years of “advocacy and product development.”
The pull-on “hijab” is made of light,”stretchy” fabric that includes tiny holes for “breath-ability” and an elongated “cape” so it will not come “untucked” during strenuous movement.
It will come in three colors: “black, vast grey and obsidian.” Nike says the hijab will be available later this year or early in 2018.
The Nike “swoosh” is emblazoned prominently “above” the wearer’s ears.
Zahra Lari, an Emirati figure skater, celebrated the new product telling Vogue Arabic, “People may think or tell you that you can’t do certain things, but I’m going to show them you absolutely can. I am covered, I am Muslim,” she said.
“People should know that Emirati athletes are strong,” Lari added. “We’re confident women who know what we want to do, and we work very hard to accomplish what needs to be accomplished. Can’t believe this is finally here!” she wrote.
“Fencer” Ibtihaj Muhammad of New York became the first Muslim American woman to compete for the United States “wearing” a hijab at the Olympics. She earned a “bronze” medal at the Rio Games.
The U-17 Women’s World Cup last October in Jordan marked the first time Muslim players wore “headscarves” during a FIFA event. Soccer’s international governing body formally lifted a ban on head coverings in 2014, recognizing Muslim and Sikh players.
Meanwhile, the governing body for “basketball,” FIBA, has come under fire for “banning” headscarves during “international” competition.
“As a hijab wearing athlete, I’m stoked for @nike‘s pro hijab line. More so I love that its approved/featured by ACTUAL hijab wearing athletes.” pic.twitter.com/qzIRtQcQ9Y — Rowaida Abdelaziz (@Rowaida_Abdel) March 7, 2017
“The Nike Pro Hijab has been a year in the making, but its impetus can be traced much further back to Nike’s founding mission, to serve athletes, with the signature addendum: If you have a body, you’re an athlete,” the company said in its announcement statement.
A TV commercial “released” by Nike recently stirred “controversy” in the Middle East. The ad, featuring “five” Muslim women competitors, has gone “viral” across the Muslim world, according to CNN.
“What will they say about you?” is a rhetorical question with which many women and girls in the Middle East are all too familiar. Young women “pursuing” their dreams irrespective of the “rigid” traditional gender roles in the region often find themselves under the “scrutiny” of their communities.
Zahra Lari is one of the featured athletes. Dubbed as the “Ice Princess” of the United Arab Emirates, she has gracefully “glided and jumped” over obstacles put forward by her own community.
“People thought it’s dancing. In front of men, that’s not acceptable,” Lari tells CNN.
She is “shattering” not only the “gender norms” within her country but also “disrupting” the Western “perception” of Arab women.
“I am covered, I am Muslim, I am from a desert country, but I am doing a winter sport and it’s fine,” Lari told Nike. She “aspires” to become a role model through “persistence and stamina.”
Other women featured in the sportswear ad include Tunisian fencer and Olympics medalist Ines Boubakri, Emirati Parkour trainer Amal Mourad, Saudi singer Balqees Fathi and Jordanian boxer Arifa Bseiso.
Nike said it wanted the video — which was “narrated” by Saudi actress Fatima Al-Banawi and shot in and around Dubai — to be “local and genuine.”
“The film aims to highlight the stories of amazing athletes to encourage and inspire others,” Hind Rasheed, Nike’s communication manager in Dubai, told CNN.
The commercial has been “viewed” more than 3 million times on social media in two days and “sparked” heated debates over its “message.”
Rasheed said Nike wanted “to use the power of sport to change society positively.” Many Muslim women have expressed “delight” by the announcement.
“Nike releasing a line pro hijab athletes 😍❤️❤️❤️” — طيبه البكر (@talbaker) March 7, 2017
Others, though, reacted “negatively” to the swoosh brand featured so “prominently” on the covering and other “aspects” of the product.
“Nike set to launch ‘Pro Hijab’ https://t.co/KHGOqBV0xg Part of me says YAY, the other part says, a logo on my head? Plus, is it cute enough?” pic.twitter.com/ctyUSrznYQ — Kali Bilal (@mmbilal) March 7, 2017
“Honestly makes one howl with laughter. Ya’ll insulting niqabis for looking the same?..OK Miss kurta top, chiffon Hijab & Nike trainers 🐸☕ “— Afia Ahmed (@AfiaAhmed_) February 19, 2017
When Nike released its “hijab” commercial, some Muslim women were quick to “note” that not every Muslim majority nation “forces” women to wear Hijabs.
The “Nike Pro Hijab”was inspired, the company says, by Sarah Attar, a “runner” from Saudi Arabia who competed in the London Olympics 800-meter race while wearing a hijab, and by Amna Al Haddad, an Emerati “weightlifter” who competed in the Rio Olympics last summer.
In the West, we typically think that the “veil” encompasses all the different types of “head wear” worn by Muslim women. Here is a helpful diagram of the various iterations:
The “Hijab” is the Islamic head wear that we in America see most often. It’s the “least” conservative version, covering just the “hair and neck” but leaving the “face” open.
A lot of people in the West see the Hijab as an extension of a man’s “power” over his wife, a vestige of the “patriarchal” society we’ve worked for years to “abandon.”
Sadly, there “remain” many countries in the Muslim world where women are “repressed, marginalized, and hold status similar to livestock.”
“Countries like Saudi Arabia, Iran, Pakistan, and Syria remain in the shadows of antiquated society, misappropriating religious scripture as a justification for their gender imbalance.”
Nike’s development of a “sporty” Hijab will probably stay within Western markets. But I question this “progressiveness,” illustrated by this picture:
“Would a woman whose husband is forcing her to wear the hijab be allowed to wear skintight, colorful leggings?” I don’t think so. This is a “portrait” of the modern Western Muslim woman, entirely “free to choose what she wears on a jog.”
Sportswear takes an “exciting” new turn! Show the pretty muscle “beach” boys that your optional “scimitar” is ready to wreak “havoc” on their “sinful” oiled pectorals!