Members get unlimited access to all our most
valuable content long before the masses. Exclusive access to newly released gear and tech and entrepreneur secrets delivered to your inbox monthly. All free. No BS.

Breaking Stereotypes and Breaking Free: Muslim Woman Challenges Cultural Expectations and Embraces Autonomy

Sailun Tires

Muslim Sandra Mehio legally became an adult at age 17 in Sweden.

After a lifetime of being forbidden control of her life, she could finally follow her own ambitions. Mehio started as a glamor model and blogger a year later, and became one of the highest-paid in the business.

“After that, I started to get dangerous surgeries, and Swedish news articles made my name and got me a lot of attention there,” Mehio says. “One year later, I decided to grow myself internationally and globally, so I invested a lot of money to grow my name around the world while I focused on doing sexual content that led to my current success.”

Sandra Mehio discusses her choices without apology.

“When you come from a restrictive  culture like I did, you want to try something you’ve never done. Like I saw with my friends. Other girls dressed the way they wanted. I wanted to choose what to do with my future, my clothes, and my body.”

Through video calls and occasional visits, she sees her mother, who lives in Los Angeles. Mehio didn’t know her mother until after her emancipation in Sweden. Her mother had left the family to escape this strict lifestyle when Sandra was very young.

In Lebanon, where she was born, her family enrolled Sandra in a strict Islamic religious school. Her father and uncles, all university-educated, set grueling educational goals, starting when she was in primary school, for a career as a surgeon. No one ever told her why they assigned her this future. Sandra knew she didn’t want this, but she didn’t know how to change anything.

“I didn’t want to be someone’s slave,” Mehio says.

At age nine, Sandra moved with her family to Sweden. Here she found school different, friendlier and more relaxed, but her family still expected excellent grades. Sandra was smart but lacked enthusiasm for a future she hadn’t chosen. Even worse, she was not allowed to play with her friends after school.

Mehio’s family forced her to wear a hijab. She didn’t like the religious scarf and didn’t want to stand out in school, so every day she took off and hid the hijab before going into the classroom.

“My father mistreated me. I was scared, but I didn’t want this shawl on me. I didn’t want to be Muslim or to follow this culture. I wanted to escape,” Mehio says. “My family threatened that if I didn’t obey, they would send me back to Lebanon to be married against my will to some man I didn’t even know.”

Sweden is a signatory to the United Nations’ Child Convention, a set of human rights guaranteed to children, who are uniquely dependent on adults for their well-being. Among the rights is a child’s right to privacy. The Swedish government says a child is even entitled to private conversations with friends.

 “I escaped when the government took me, and I stopped talking with my father. I still talked with my grandmother, my cousins, and some of my uncles. They accept what I’m doing, but it’s still hard. Some of my family never talk with me.”

Mehio developed mixed feelings about being Muslim. The strictness and disrespect her male family members showed made her want to reject the religion altogether. Yet, having read the Quran, she finds no mention of her abuse being okay. She points out the hypocrisy of many Islamic men, who use alcohol or drugs (which the Quran clearly forbids), and beat their wives.

“I celebrate Muslim holidays when I’m at my family’s place. But when I’m there, I need to think all the time about how I’m dressed. So when I’m at my family’s place, in that moment, I’m Muslim again. When I leave and go home, I am what I am.”

Oppression not sanctioned in the Quran almost pushed Sandra Mehio away from her Muslim religion. Still, ultimately, she triumphed over the family members who tried to control her future without turning entirely away from her faith.

“I still consider myself mostly a Muslim,” Mehio says. “A Muslim woman who can do whatever she wants. I still want to do what I’m doing. But now nobody can tell me what to do. I know I’m from a Muslim family, and what I want to do with my life doesn’t change that reality.”


Get the latest Swagger Scoop right in your inbox.

By checking this box, you confirm that you have read and are agreeing to our terms of use regarding the storage of the data submitted through this form.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *