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Photo Credit: BBC

Souyma Swaminathan Drops Chess Championships Over Headscarf Rule


Jun. 17 2018, Published 10:11 p.m. ET

Soumya Swaminathan, a champion Indian chess player, excused herself from the Asian Nations Cup Chess Championship in Iran as she felt uncomfortable wearing a headscarf or burqa, a requirement for women in Iran. The 29 year-old currently holds the esteemed title of India’s Woman Grandmaster.

She said, “I do not wish to be forced to wear a headscarf or [burqa]. I deeply regret that I will be unable to participate in such an important championship, [but] some things simply cannot be compromised.”

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Photo Credit: Buzzfeed News

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Many people on Twitter immediately started sharing their input. A few examples:

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Photo Credit: Buzzfeed News

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Photo Credit: Buzzfeed News

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Regardless of personal opinion, Swaminathan doesn’t wear a headscarf in her everyday life. She wasn’t trying to condemn the culture in any regard. She simply wasn’t comfortable wearing one only for the reason that women dress that way in Iran (where the championship was hosted). She wouldn’t have been true to who she is.

Hot Topic

For some reason, headscarfs used for religious purposes are a hot topic right now in America. In the Western World, in particular in America, many women and men view how women dress without a headscarf as “the right way”. Thus, they project their views as correct and anything else must be wrong. However, in many circumstances, no one is asking the women who are wearing the attire what they prefer.

Below is an example of a survey based in Muslim countries about their opinions of what is the most appropriate style for women in public.

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Photo Credit: Pew Research Center

In general, since the beginning of time, women have been judged for the clothes they wear over a global perspective. That is its own hot topic. The global society picks apart what a woman “is supposed to” wear regardless of what it is. In reality, who cares. Be comfortable in your own skin, and you do you; be happy with yourself, ladies.

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