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Wednesday, January 24, 2018

The Fashion Blogger Case: Ameena Khan

And Why I’m Not Mad, But I Am Disappointed

Ameena Khan or Amenakin as I’ve known her is a Muslim beauty and fashion blogger on
YouTube. She’s most famously known for creating the hoojab: a hijab that has a hood like
stitching for easier wrapping. I’ve been watching Ms. Ameena for almost five years.
I’ve been a constant fan of all of her work. Before I had been introduced to the Muslim
community on YouTube or any social platform, there weren’t many Muslim stylist role models
for me to look up to. Watching Ms. Ameena, I was not only introduced to tutorials but to vlogs
about a successful Mulimah and how her family were taking the world by storm with
Islamic fashion. I am sure Ms.Ameena has thousands of Muslim teen fans considering
that her channel has almost 400k subscribers. But for sure she has plenty of non Muslim fans
as well. Her hijab line sells well, she has hosted many fashion shows around the world in
Muslim spaces and non Muslim spaces as well. Amenakin was even tapped by L'Oreal
cosmetics to be a brand ambassador. A crossover success she has proven to be.
But crossing over isn't always easy or pretty as it looks.

Recently Amenakin came under some pretty harsh internet fire when tweets she made back in
2014 about Israel and it's army were screen shot and tweeted back out. The tweets mirrored
sentiments that many Muslims have spoken, tweeted, and written about our dissatisfaction
with the oppression Palestinian Muslims face there. In fact, her tweets actually seemed mild
and weren't ill intended nor were they nasty! But when Amenakin were called out for her
comments she backed away from them instead of standing by her convictions and the rights
for our sisters and brothers living under occupation in Palestine. Not only that, but she also
stepped down as first ever Mulimah ambassador for L’Oréal. Am I just really trying to
figure out why? Did L'Oreal pressure her to step down or was the heat just too much for
Ms. Ameena to stand?

Some Muslims and non Muslims alike have applauded Ms Ameena for stepping down.
Others have are bashing her for ‘flipping on her morals’. One thing everyone can agree on is that she was definitely targeted.
It wasn't a coincidence that those tweets were uncovered the moment she became a
crossover public figure. Crossing over into non Muslim markets definitely seems to come
with a high cost.

Going from being celebrated one minute and then completely villainized the next can't be easy to deal with. I think it’s important to remember that Ameena is ultimately a beauty blogger selling pretty and clothing from a Muslim aesthetic. It's understandable the want and need to quickly give in to internet peer pressure and shut the story down. We’ve all had our hand at dealing with mean and malicious comments on social media and when it’s coming at you like an open dam, saying anything to get out from under from it may seem like the best and only option. But dodging the criticism doesn't mean it will stop. Some of the responses from the Muslim community is that Amenakin has now lost their respect and hurt her own brand. Especially since within in the last week founder Amani Al-Khatahbeh turned down an award from Revlon while refusing to participate with their Israeli Ambassador Gal Gadot due to her support of Israel's army. Some Muslims felt Amenakin should have stood her ground and represented Muslims' voices. There wasn't going to be a win in this battle for Muslim fashion or Amenakin. Crossing over into non Muslim markets comes with battle wounds.

Do I think Amena is anti-Semitic? No. Do I think Ameena is weak for just walking away from the deal? No.  I think she was put in a situation where she was bullied and instead of fighting it out and waiting on her real followers to help her fight the bullies back up off her, she walked away. Fashion bloggers aren't known to fight! I can sympathize with her decision. But I do wish Muslim fashion bloggers learn from this situation. Be ready to stand your ground - if and when the crossover kings and queens come for you!

Moral of the story: Stand firm in your truth!

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