As 2011 draws to a close, we at MMW are looking back at our year of posts. For those who missed posts earlier in the year, or for those who want to look back through some of the things we wrote about, we’ll be going through some of those through the rest of this week. Yesterday, we started off with an overview of some of the news highlights that we talked about in 2011; today, we look at books, movies, and television; and tomorrow will look at some of the more ridiculous stories that came up, as well as the many post on our “favourite” topic, hijab.
Please note: For some reason, the links aren’t working when people click on them from the MMW homepage; however, if you click on the title of this post (or here) so that you are looking at this article specifically, the links are correct. I’ll work on fixing this, but for now, please click through so that you’re looking at the post itself. We apologise for the inconvenience!
In the world of literature, we were fans of Mohja Kahf’s The Girl in the Tangerine Scarf, and the works of Adhaf Soueif and children’s author Rukhsana Khan. Non-fiction books I Speak for Myself (which included pieces from MMW’s Fatemeh and Yusra), Control and Sexuality and Fatima Mernissi’s The Forgotten Queens of Islam also got positive reviews. Nicole was ambivalent in her review of Gayle Tzemach Lemmon’s The Dressmaker of Khair Khana, while our reviewers were generally unimpressed with Na’ima B. Robert’s Boy vs. Girl and From Somalia with Love, Rula Jebreal’s Miral, Craig Thompson’s Habibi, and Robin Wright’s Rock the Casbah.
In the world of film, MMW writers enjoyed documentaries The Interrupters, The Light in Her Eyes, Pearls on the Ocean Floor, and a series of films made by Afghan women. We also appreciated the Egyptian films 678 and Scheherazade, Tell Me a Story; an online short film made by UK-based group Deaffinity; and the Canadian web documentary Me, the Muslim Next Door. I had mixed feelings about the documentary Deaf Sisterhood, and Fatemeh and Azra were respectively disappointed with the films Sabah and Bhutto. Eren spoke to filmmaker Nausheen Dadabhoy about her film The Ground Beneath Their Feet.
Television shows were also a hot topic, including a Temps Présent episode about Islam in Europe, and Afghan shows Niqab and Afghan Star. The Women, War & Peace series of documentaries on PBS got a particularly positive review, as did Nadia Jebril’s series about Arabic language in Europe. Diana was critical of Law and Order’s representation of a female “jihadist” character, but appreciated the diverse representation of Muslim women in HBO’s Love Crimes of Kabul and CNN’s Unwelcome: The Muslims Next Door. Samya wrote about images of Arab women on television, asked whether Arab women really need the soap opera Men Wanted, questioned Kuwait’s ban on the show High School Girls, and pointed out differences in representations of religious women in Syrian television and cinema. With the emergence of TLC’s reality television show All-American Muslim, Azra gave us a preview of the show and her first impressions, and Lara responded to the debate about advertising being pulled.
In other forms of art and entertainment, Sara Yasin interviewed visual artist Abdulaziz Al-Qahtani and wrote about representations of gender in an exhibition of his art. We wrote about Malian singer Khaira Arby, a female Muslim character in the X-Factor comic, the Al-Shamikha magazine, and Zehra Afzal’s comedy show (discussed by both Sana and Diana). We looked at the politics of a t-shirt with the words “for hire,” and participation of Muslim women as fashion designers and models. Tasnim analysed the positioning of Muslim women as subjects and objects within the fashion industry and in photography and visual culture.
And in miscellaneous other posts, Eren wrote about Muslim matchmaking sites (see part 1, part 2, part 3, and part 4), and did a follow-up post about the people behind these sites. We also talked about conferences that happened this year, such as the Arab Media Forum (where Samya remarked on the underrepresentation of women) and the WISE conference. Reflecting on other activism-related contexts, Syma responded to a blog post on the experiences of hijab-wearing women in feminist activism, and she, Eren, and Nicole weighed in on the Goatmilk debates on Islam and feminism.
Stay tuned for our final 2011 wrap-up post tomorrow!