Somewhere in America..?

The recent video (see below), somewhere in America has conjured up a bit of discussion and some possible controversy. This is not an Islamic post but a post about culture, people and labels. This is just a quick post about something you could discuss for hours! 

Firstly, the elephant in the room. Yes they are hijabis and yes they are in a music video. Okay, are you over that now. Great, let’s talk about something a little less superficial. 

Mipster…  according to urban dictionary.com 

“Someone who is slightly hipster, but only because hipster is part of the mainstream style. They are hipster because it’s the mainstream”

So it really isn’t about being a ‘muslim’ hipster but the other definition is 

“A Mipster is an ironic identity, one that serves more a perpetual critique of oneself and of society”

And I agree with this, it is an ironic identity. Almost an oxymoron. But that’s okay isn’t it. Isn’t the road to perfection lined with imperfection? It is continuous process of self-evaluation, factoring in all those elements that brush off on you. 

Apparently because we live in a ‘Western society’ therefore it is ‘harder’ to assimilate into society and ‘blend in’ because we come from such a constricting background (NB sarcasm). So three points here,

1) ‘Western society’

This phrase is just another label, something that has probably stemmed from political relations rather than cultural. And in the era of global-globalisation, we are an international on-line society. 

2) What is ‘blending in’? 

The words of originality are being lost amongst what is most odd, eye-catching, peculiar and possibly controversial. Ironically, the people who try to fit in the most, put in the most effort to be different. Logically, doesn’t make sense. Therefore our initial definition of normal is perhaps skewed. 

What defines the norm and how do you become normal?

The first definition of Mipster alludes to exactly what is happening today. People are trying to be different by being the same. Walk to a near shopping mall and everyone looks the same. But so what if 95% of the people look the same? There seems to be this intense intrinsic fear amongst so many to be the ‘same’ and it’s driving people to do whatever it takes to deviate from it. But each to their own, who are we to judge? 

3) Harder to be part of a culture that you are not ‘originally’ from

How do you fit in? Is it cracking the same kind of jokes? Eating the same food? Wearing the same clothes? Yes, it probably is all that plus more. And it’s not wrong for someone to adopt a certain ‘aspect’ of the society they live in and apply it to their lives. I think of so many examples that actually would benefit society as a whole. Simply looking at the streets that we live, think about the practically unlimited supply of clean water… not many of the countries that we are ‘originally’ from don’t have many of these things.

The thing about being different and knowing different people, cultures and religions is that you learn about them and most definitely you can take something away that will improve you. Just because you adopt an aspect, doesn’t mean you adopt them all. Essentially, different can teach us, guide us and change us. (Bit of an Islamic teaching injected here)

O mankind! We created you from a single (pair) of a male and a female, and made you into nations and tribes, that you may know each other (not that you may despise (each other). Verily the most honoured of you in the sight of God is (he who is) the most righteous of you. And God has full knowledge and is well acquainted (with all things). Surah al-Hujurat (49:13) 

There is no right or wrong way that is universally applicable therefore tolerance, understanding, patience and bit of wisdom goes a very long way. Before we are quick to make judgements, think about it. 

In a nutshell, wearing stripey skinny jeans and listening to Jay Z doesn’t automatically make you Miley Cyrus just as wearing a hijab or growing a beard doesn’t make you a saint. There are stronger bonds that limit and cultivate external factors, allowing for some unique originality, in its real sense. Because original is:

a primary form or type from which varieties are derived

You can see it as, the skinny jeans are the primary, but you make the variety. 

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