Yes, We’re Hot In This!
One of the best ways that we as Muslims can improve our status in the media is to support people who present a more positive outlook of Islam in the West. One such person is a Muslim artist named Huda Fahmy, aka “Yes, I’m Hot in This“. The name is a play on the question that plagues many a hijabi, where non-Muslims will constantly ask us “Aren’t you hot in that?” and I love the way she takes ownership of who she is, and how she’s feeling.
Her comics are ingenious snapshots of her life as a covered Muslim woman living in America, and more than anything, I admire the way that she conveys so much personality, and so much character in just a few short frames. She takes an ordinary everyday situation, and turns it into an entertaining anecdote, that not only amuses readers, but also reminds them that Muslim women are just normal people.
Aside from posting comics specific to life as a Muslim woman, Huda often posts comics relating to her interest in sci-fi/ fantasy movies, such as Marvel films, and Harry Potter. These are amongst my favourite of her comics, because not only am I a huge nerd myself, I appreciate the fact that these scenarios could happen to anyone, and she manages to put a hijabi twist on it.
She recently created a short series which depicted her relationship with her husband, Gehad, and the endearing story of how they met and fell in love. It was a beautiful way to smash the stereotypes of Muslim marriage, and was both heart-warming and hilarious.
However, not all her comics are fun and games, and she expertly addresses the downside to being a hijabi – her experiences with Islamophobia. Whilst staying true to the comic format, she details true incidents from her life, that showcase the kind of ignorance and hatred that unfortunately can be commonplace in Western society. Using her own inimitable style, she shares these comics with us to help people understand what it’s like to feel that isolation and humiliation.
Ultimately, Huda’s comics are a powerful force for accurate Muslim representation, and I for one hope to see her go from strength to strength, and would encourage you to support her, and to recommend her to your friends. Her social media links can be found below:
Facebook – https://en-gb.facebook.com/yesimhotinthis/
Instagram – https://www.instagram.com/yesimhotinthis/?hl=en
Her upcoming book – https://www.amazon.co.uk/Yes-Im-Hot-This-Hilarious-ebook/dp/B07DTL87GR
I was lucky enough to get an interview with the artist herself, and am delighted to be able to share her inspirational insights into her work, and her hopes for the future.
What inspired you to want to share your experiences with people?
I was surfing Instagram one day, and I saw that one of my favorite webcomic artists had included a hijabi in his latest comic. My first emotion was glee! Here was a hijabi being presented as nothing more than a regular girl. There was no mention of the usual tropes (i.e. submissive, terrorist, brainwashed simpleton who needed liberation). I was beyond excited. My second thought, however, was a little more nuanced. I found so much happiness in the idea of a Muslim hijabi ‘story’ being included in any narrative, but was it really inclusion if it was a non-Muslim telling the story? I was then inspired by the known adage: you must be the change you wish to see in the world. If I wanted to read an authentic account of a hijabi’s experiences, why not write it myself?
Why did you choose comics specifically as a medium to share your experiences?
Though I’ve loved comics since I could first read, the first medium I used to share my experiences as a Muslim hijabi growing up and living in America was actually blog posts. I first wrote and posted my stories to Facebook to get some feedback from friends and family. My older sister mentioned that it would be fun to see these stories turned into comics and it was like a million light bulbs went off in my head. I’ve always felt that comics were a great way to say something serious in a funny way. People love being entertained, and if you can figure out how to entertain people AND educate them at the same time, well, there’s nothing better.
What are your hopes for the future in terms of influencing Muslim rhetoric?
I’d love to see Muslims/ Muslim women/ Muslim women hijabis being included in roles outside the usual offensive and stereotypical tropes. I want to see more Muslims at the helm, reclaiming their narrative. I don’t know if my comic will influence that, but I hope it does.
Some of your comics are about amusing but small things in your life, others address deeper issues regarding problems such as Islamophobia. How do you strike a balance?
Striking a balance is a delicate thing and—to be honest—I don’t even know if I’m achieving it. I just try to stay true to who I am and illustrate the things I’d like to see being discussed. I read a lot of news and try to keep up with current events. When I create a concept for a comic, I try to reflect what’s happening in the world, as well as what’s happening at home. A little bit of silliness here, a little bit of frustration with the status quo there, bada bing bada boom, I’ve got myself a comic!
Imams Online Writer Melika Jeddi is a psychology graduate and aspiring writer with a passion for creativity. She is looking to start a career as a freelance writer alongside her regular job.