Anyone who’s ever been to Comic-Con—or any of the multitudes of other conventions—knows that cosplaying is half the fun. For all Hijabis out there though, finding a hijab-friendly costume is THE CHALLENGE of a lifetime. The truth is much of the source material that makes up the bedrock of geek culture is neither written/created by Muslims nor stars any Hijabis (other than Dust from the X-Men and few lesser known characters). For Hijabis finding ways of “hijabifying” their favourite costumes is part and parcel of the Muslim geek experience. Whether resorting to gender bending (female Captain America, Female Joker), finding ways of incorporating their hijab into the costume, or simply creating new and original ones, creativity and authenticity are the very essence of Hijabi cosplay.
Cosplay has been steadily gaining in popularity not only amongst Muslim Diasporas in the West but also in the Muslim world. With the advent of Comic-Con in countries such as the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia, and conventions dedicated exclusively to Hijab Cosplay in Malaysia it is becoming apparent that Muslim fans are increasingly trying to carve a space for themselves in the broader fandom. Muslim women particularly find in cosplay a way of expressing their creativity while simultaneously challenging the stereotypes pertaining to their Muslim identity, and reiterating the ideals of modesty to which they aspire. The rise in popularity of Hijabi cosplay is nowhere more evident than on platforms such as Tumblr, Pinterest, Facebook, and Youtube where Hijabi cosplayers not only document their work but also exchange ideas and create tutorials. While in essence belonging to the broader community of cosplayers, Hijabis are creating in their own way a subculture where they can navigate the intricacies of their religious identity and expand their creativity. It has become a way for them to transcend the often overtly islamophobic rhetoric pertaining to Muslim women in order to reclaim their agency as women, Muslims, and fans.
Fantastic post! I love the photos!
Thanks Marianne, I’m glad you’ve enjoyed the post. I absolutely love these photos too, these cosplayers are quite amazing and I’m in complete awe of their creativity and talent.
Check out instagram account piloves3.14 for more hijabi cosplay and lolita.
Thanks for the suggestion, will do.
This post is awesome! The cosplays are incredible and the entire article makes me so excited! What you wrote about Muslim women trying to find their identity and creativity in the cosplay world was so accurate and rang very true to my own personal experience. It is so great to see articles and media that represent our thoughts and experiences. Also, it was such a surprise and honor to see my family’s Star Wars cosplay photo added here! We’re huge fans and seeing the positive and supportive response from others means the world! Thank you and may the force be with you!
Thank you so much for taking the time to read and comment. I absolutely love your Star Wars cosplay. It is honestly one of the most impressive ones I’ve ever seen. I’m very excited to see just how much traction cosplay has gained amongst the Muslim youth particularly. I remember in the late 90s early 2000s going to conventions and being the only Muslim in the vicinity. Muslim cosplayers are adding so much more layers to geek culture by injecting their creativity, talents, and perspectives into it. Please continue cosplaying and sharing your awesomeness with the world. Live long and prosper Jannah!
I would love to add my picture. I did a cosplay of Negan from the walking dead.
OMG,I would love to see that. Feel free to add your picture in the comment section Amira.
Here is a link http://tinypic.com/r/280vdid/9
Love it. A friend of mine wanted to cosplay as Michonne, I’ll be sure to show her your take on Negan. Thanks for sharing this Amira.
Great photos! big fan of cosplay, fun!
Glad you’ve enjoyed the post. Thanks for taking the time to read it.
Very nice cosplay, we love it, I just bought one in https://www.orgshine.com
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