Trendy, fashionable, and now debatable: The Doek

Doek headgear

A doek is a square piece of cloth, as referred to in South Africa, worn mainly by African women to cover the head, especially to indicate married status. Its attractive, fashionable and highly comfortable. The clothing, which is worn across Africa, particularly became the cynosure of all debate in South Africa, because of an incident that took place in June this year, where a story was taken down by a popular South African news channel, ENCA, simply  because the woman reporting it did so wearing a doek.

This was followed by social media trends and media outrage for days, as reported by BBC. People stood in support of women’s individual need to assert their identity in whichever way they like. Many women across the globe uploaded pictures of themselves donning the doek in support of the issue being raised.

This is a statement everyone needs to adopt for several reasons.

One, this is the most comfortable head gear. Plus, it’s a great way to cover up anything from a bad hair day or a bad haircut! Especially with the unpredictable monsoon, it becomes easier to handle all that jazz with the frizz!

Even global celebrities are beginning to endorse this fashion hack.

credits: stylecraze

World celebrities are taking to the doek as well. Katy Perry looking fabulous in her interpretation of the doek( Picture Credit: stylecraze)

Also read: The ugly truth about ‘Fast Fashion’

Apart from that, there is the identity politics that is going around the subject of head gears for women, not just in African culture, But across the world. Maybe it is about the need to control what they wear. Perhaps, it is the desire to control a woman’s sexuality by compulsion of covering up her hair, which is a universal standard of ‘feminine’ beauty.

Indians also stand in support of women's right to self

A few Indian women who stand in support of women’s right to self( Picture Credit: facebook)

Also read: Thai PM: Women in skimpy clothes like unwrapped candy

My Take

You might not necessarily call it a doek, you might say it’s like the Hindu or Sikh turban, and we couldn’t agree more. However, these gears too, come with their specific gendered identity and power status attached with them, and it is considered inappropriate if we break that binary. Is this war that we must take on, especially in the wake of larger, more pressing issues. I think it is very crucial that we curb such symbolism, especially as long as the understanding of our identities are being limited to them.

Feature Image Credit: frontiersnews.com

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