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Don’t You Know? Women Can’t Have Hair!

by Roomana Shaikh

“AMMI! I hate our stupid family genes!” Fatima yelled as she entered her small home.
“Is this a way to greet as you come home? I didn’t raise you like this!” Her mom scolded her.
“Where is the salam? Where are your greetings for peace? How dare you insult our family? I didn’t purposely give you bad genes. Besharam larki. This is what they teach you in school?” Her mom continued with her scolding.
Fatima stayed quiet, her face getting hot. In fact, it was already hot from the embarrassment from school and now it was like her face was boiling!
“Sorry, Ammi. Assalamu Alaikum. I was just really upset. I had a horrible day!” Fatima replied as wet tears started to fall out of her eyes. She wiped them away and went to go sit down on the floor beside her mom.
“What happened?” Her mom now asked with a softer voice.
“Two guys at my table yelled out really loud that I had hair on my face and started to laugh. Then one of them started passing out a drawing of me with a hairy face to everyone else in the classroom. It was soo bad. Some people even took pictures from their phones. Ammi it was dreadful! I couldn’t say or do anything. And my friends are soo dumb! They didn’t even say anything! Ammi, I don’t wanna go to school. Can you pleeeease take me to Islamic school or just homeschool? Please, Ammi!” Fatima pleaded as she started bawling out crying. Her mom held her in her arms as she cried.
“What a stupid school! Don’t you worry beta, I am going to go and have a talk with your teacher tomorrow! How dare she let this happen in her classroom. And yet she tells me to trust her? Oh my god! What horrible children? Haven’t they ever seen hair on a girl before?!” Her mom started to rant now.
“No Ammi, no! Don’t go to the school. I will be even more bullied! No just change my school.” Fatima replied back, moving her head away.
“Beta we can’t change your schools. That Islamic School is far from our house, and too expensive. And homeschooling too. This is the only school in our area that isn’t bad and isn’t far. Just let me go have a talk with your school. Maybe they can change classes?” Her mom replied. Her dark brown eyes too had grief in them.
“No Ammi, just leave it. Don’t go, please. I will be fine.” Fatima said. She then went to the bathroom to wash her face. Her mom then made her favorite food for her, chicken tikka and paratha.
“You know you also have really dumb friends. Those girls just use you for homework. I keep telling you to leave them. Their mothers aren’t any better. I just wish we had enough money to move out of here.” Her mom said as she brought the food out on the floor. She put everything on a bright blue plastic sheet laid out neatly on the floor. The two sat and ate.
“Well can I go today? To Khala’s house to wax? Please, Ammi. My skin won’t be bad. Sonia does it too.” Fatima asked.
“I just don’t want to ruin your skin. You’re only 12. Waxing hurts too. But I think let’s do it today. I will call Khala and ask her and also make sure no one is there.” Her mom replied.
Oh, THANK YOU! YAYY!” Fatima replied happily! She then hugged her mom.
“Now finish your food. I didn’t just cook all of this to eat myself. And thank Allah too.” She said. They both then went on to eating the food wth their hands.