The question of veiling has always been a heated debate, while in the past three decades Indonesia’s religious landscape has changed dramatically. Back in 1993, when veiling was not common nor an essential part of the identity of an Indonesian Muslim woman, I started to cover my head.
At my secular government school, the headscarf had never been part of the uniform and students who wore the veil were doing so out of their own free will.
There was no such heaven and hell narrative that scrutinized our physical appearance. Presentation and morality was not associated with religiosity in the public space.
My decision to begin veiling was against the background of growing modernity and globalization, where veiled girls were considered kampungan (from the countryside), fundamentalists or extremists.
Schoolgirls who decided to adopt this outfit daily while stud...