“Which vision for women do you want?”
Last Sunday, at the Summer Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, a spectacular photo was taken that exemplifies the power of the games to unite cultures from around the world. Doaa Elghobashy of Egypt and Kira Walkenhorst of Germany were photographed by Lucy Nicholson of Reuters jumping at a ball as it fell over the net in the beach volleyball competition. Although both players were divided by a net and the difference in their attire was striking—one in a hijab the other in a bikini—the two were united in friendly competition.
The Huffington Post said the photos “send a message of global solidarity.” While Roger Cohen of The New York Times said the photo “juxtaposes two women, two beliefs and two dress codes, brought together by sport. The world confronts less a clash of civilizations than a clash of identities, concertinaed in time and space by technology. The West’s image of Islam and the Muslim image of Western societies are often mutually incommunicable; the incomprehension incubates violence.”
While most of the world cheered two cultures coming together, Charlie Kirk, founder of Turning Point USA, used the photo as an opportunity to create division. “Which vision for women do you want?” He tweeted to over 5,000 followers. “One where women are empowered or suppressed? East VS West. Choose correctly.”
Kirk’s tweet was not only xenophobic but showed he had no idea that to many Muslim women, the hijab is a sign of empowerment. According to freelance writer Hanna Yusef, the hijab can be a feminist statement as well. “My hijab has nothing to do with oppression,” she says. “ There’s nothing inherently liberating in covering up, just as there’s nothing inherently liberating in wearing next to nothing. But the liberation lies in the choice.” And Doaa Elghobashy clearly chose to wear a hijab because her teammate, Nada Meawad played with her head uncovered.
Here are just a few of the awesome responses to Kirk’s tweet:
One where a woman can wear whatever she wants and people like Charlie Kirk 11 don't make it a competition https://t.co/TXomWnp3SC— tina montana (@tina montana) 1470852635
Who's this man Charlie Kirk who gets to presume how we are empowered? Women choose their empowerment! #SorryCharlie https://t.co/LE0OhtW0Hm— F. Quick (@F. Quick) 1470844181
Look at these suppressed Swedish women & the empowered-at-the-bottom American women. West vs West, eh Charlie Kirk? https://t.co/sixd9YEnfj— Jay (@Jay) 1470877089
Germany won the match two sets to zero.