– Had it been any other profession where adults work with young people, it would never have been accepted, writes Rawdah Mohamed.
The supermodel spoke out against the hijab ban that has made headlines around the world, and the response she received was overwhelming to say the least.
International fashion actors such as Dazed and also the fashion watchdog Diet Prada shared her photo, where she wore a hijab with her hand raised and with #handsoffmyhijab written neatly in the palm of her hand started a movement.
At the time of writing, the hashtag has 3.4 thousand posts on Instagram, and Muslim women all over the world, from the USA, Canada, Great Britain, Nigeria, South Africa and Qatar, have shared their own photos under the hashtag.
To Harper’s Bazaar tells Rawdah Mohamed about challenging the controversial hijab ban.
She also talks about her own self-experienced experiences in the fashion world.
Experiencing several obstacles
“The obstacles Muslim women face appear in all facets of life, including working life.”, writes Rawdah Mohamed in the commentary.
The real challenge and where she has been faced with the most discrimination, she says is from what she calls the fashion world’s gatekeepers, mainly those who work in PR, as well as casting directors.
“They are looking for one girl – their ‘token card’. If you are not willing to accept their preconceived notions, you are virtually excluded from many jobs. They dominate the market and have control over several fashion houses and their strategies. Often I can only question whether they understand a complex and critical identity like mine when they lack diversity in their own teams ».
– They hate talking models
She has shared parts of the comment on her Instagram, where she writes to her 121,000 followers:
“In the fashion industry when it comes to diversity, tokenism and toxic environment for models, casting directors and their contribution to the problem are rarely mentioned. Before a casting, you are asked to charm yourself for a job, to smile, but not talk too much. Ideally, you should not say anything at all. They hate talking models. Impress them with rather with your gait.
When you wait in a casting queue, you can see the fear in the models’ eyes. The stories of the scary casting officials are well known. Once after a casting, I went to the bathroom to find models who wiped their tears and used concealer to hide their red eyes. On the way to the next casting as if nothing had happened.
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They do not care about the models or their age. As an adult, you must be aware of the way you talk to a 16- or 15-year-old. It is bizarre how adult men and women are verbally abused and make derogatory comments about the bodies of young girls that can lead to perpetual body dysmorphy. Had there been any other profession where adults work with young people, it would never have been accepted. A teacher will never get away with talking to his students as a casting manager does.
It’s like being scary is an achievement for them. Congratulations! You’re a 40 year old man who managed to scare a 16 year old girl.
Casting calls feel more like power trips to nurture the ego rather than find talent.
It was earlier this year that France again voted in favor of a bill that would ban the use of the hijab for underage women.
Amnesty International condemns the bill, calling it a violation of the rights of religious minorities, especially Muslims. If the bill is to enter into force, it must first be approved by the French National Assembly, which is unlikely.
Rawdah Mohamed is aware that Melk & Honning discusses the case, but has no further comment.
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