There is something bizarre about the world of online hijab fashion.
It seems like a lot of people want to get noticed by putting in as little hard work as possible, by basically riding on the coattails of others.
Lately, I’ve been feeling a little lost about this blog. It used to bring me such joy when I first started it, and it still does on occasion.
But it has also brought me heart break. It has caused me to question my relationship with some folks in the Muslim community.
By and large, most of the people I encounter are friendly. But there is this underlying tone, that basically people only want to be friendly in order to get something out of it.
Perhaps part of the problem is less serious bloggers, who just want a moment of fame and free goodies, who are willing to do things for businesses without hesitation. They then set a bad precedent in terms of ethics and journalism.
When I was at the most passionate phase of my blogging, I started to receive dozens and dozens of requests for businesses to have their products reviewed or featured. And almost every time it was like pulling teeth to ask them to consider purchasing ad space in the future.
In other words, if it was free they wanted it, and to be honest, they pretty much expected it.
Add to that the constant hounding from businesses who send me stuff and expect I review it ASAP. However, I do have a strict policy for reviewing items. And I wish more people would read it.
What threw me off though, was an incident that still puzzles me to this day.
I wrote a review about an up and coming hijab fashion designer. Afterward she sent me a gift of her exclusively designed hijab.
When I went to visit my in-laws in another state, she invited me over to her place, which was really nice of her. We talked about blogging and I encouraged her to start one of her own which she said she had been thinking about doing.
My problem is that I always put my whole heart in everything I do. So I trusted her and her intentions without question. I honestly thought I was making a new friend.
I even told her that I’d have to review the gift she sent me sometime, because I loved it.
Of course time passed and I never had the chance to post my review.
But that’s not an excuse, I did plan to get to it eventually.
I happened to post a photo review of a dress that was sent to me, and I decided to wear the white hijab she gave me because it matched the outfit.
My policy is to review only the item sent and not list everything, because the point is to focus on the item itself.
In my head though, I thought, well she’s my friend, maybe I should give her props.
However, I knew that it wouldn’t be fair to others including another designer I had worn a hijab from if I didn’t mention her too. I decided to stick by my policy and not start doing favors for people.
I was shocked when I received a text within hours of the posting, which I will paraphrase:
“My assistant said she saw you posted a picture of my hijab without giving credit, I told her that was impossible you’re a journalist and my friend and you would never do that.”
It completely caught me off guard, but I was honest and responded:
“I did think about it, but decided not to because then I’d have to list everyone”
Well she then responded she was shocked and couldn’t believe it.
I tried to call her, because I knew it was a misunderstanding and you can only say so much via text.
She never picked up, but texted me that everything was fine.
I assumed that she understood. Then, imagine my surprise when “unfriended” me on Facebook and twitter and basically shunned me.
I even reached out to her because there was a journalist looking to interview a hijab designer. Silence from her end.
She basically made me feel guilty for something I never did. It was so stressful, because I looked up to her and was not expecting such behavior.
I let it slide. And then I sent her one more email telling her that I was sorry if I had offended her in anyway and that I was going through a really rough time (my husband was out of work). I also went ahead and put her credit in the photo and posted a video review of her product, hoping to show her my sincerity.
Long story short she merely responded that she hoped things worked out for me.
But this dramatic story really isn’t what it’s all about. And I know I probably sound like a raving lunatic. It just opened my eyes that there never was a friendship to begin with.
It was basically her trying to get her products noticed and when that didn’t happen she cut off all ties.
I was saddened, because I always give folks in the Muslim community higher expectations. I assume they all want to live by the line of loving your brothers and sisters for the sake of God and really being genuine about it.
What frustrates me is that this isn’t the first or last time it’s going to happen. And it’s quite tiring to have a blog that everyone feels entitled to.
This is my sweat and tears that I put into this, and no you don’t get a free pass because you’re Muslim.
I wrote this because I wanted to get it out of my system and gain some closure before the start of the New Year.
What are your thoughts? Am I too sensitive? And what do you think about hijab fashion companies expecting free advertising? What about bloggers who post reviews only because they’re getting free stuff?