Our ongoing hunt for the best vloggers on the net has taken us to Asha Hussein, known on social media as Asha Everyday, who’s gaining a loyal fanbase thanks to her frank approach to the kind of subjects you wouldn’t want to discuss with your mum.
We’re talking marriage, dating and sex.
But first, some history. Asha started her vlog in 2015, when she noticed that there weren’t many vloggers who were British Somali hijabis. ‘I realised there’s an audience for someone who looks like me – a young, black, Muslim woman,’ she explained to Cosmopolitan. ‘It’s not very common to find someone like me talking about relationships in a fun and light-hearted way. So I set out to add more representation on YouTube.’
Her openness resonated with other Muslim women, particularly when she broached the subjects that are so often marked with the daunting label *taboo*.
One of the subjects she lays down some solid truths on is arranged marriage. Interestingly, her insights might be better served to a non-Muslim audience, but they’ll still offer comfort to any young Muslim woman in a bind about finding the one. For a start, Asha wants everyone to know the difference between an ‘arranged marriage’ and a ‘forced marriage.’
‘Arranged marriages are normal and I think a lot of people don’t actually realise they have arranged marriages.’
Huh? Wait, what?
‘It’s like me saying to you, “I’ve got a friend and they want to get to know you”. If I introduced you and you guys got married, that would be an arranged marriage. But because it happens in a Muslim setting, people are like, “Oh my god, you guys have arranged marriages!”’
Ooooh, that does make sense.
Had THE most fun working with @wearestoosh on this series. So blessed to have been a part of something like this – its about time we took control of our own narrative. All of the women @wearestoosh feature are unapologetically MAGIC so please support platforms that support women! #BAME #stoosh #womenempowerment
This is just one example of the way Asha unpacks complex subjects: She avoids slipping into the traps of black-and-white interpretations and instead finds the finer detail in things. It’s the same with sex.
Many people think sex + unmarried Muslim woman = no way ever. But while Asha notes that ‘sex is only an option once you get married’, discussing the issues that surround it, or broaching your concerns about it with a potential husband/wife, shouldn’t be out of bounds.
‘Before you and your husband live together and have sex, should you tell him you both need to go and get tested? It might not feel comfortable to say, but it’s still important to have those conversations whether you’ve been sexually active or not.’
As she told Cosmopolitan, her channel allows people to explore the stuff related to sex in a way they might not want to IRL: ‘There’s no way you’re able to go to your local Imam at the mosque and say to him, “Can I know about sex?” If it’s someone online speaking about it in a frank way, it’s much easier.’
Whatever you think of it, you can’t deny that it’s going a long way to dispel some of the misconceptions that often surround Muslim women, many of which are harmful and regressive.
To be honest about yourself is great – every vlogger on earth claims to be – but to be honest in a way that rubbishes wider falsities is really great, and must be truly empowering for Asha’s fans.