When Muslimah Media Watch started out in 2007, one of the goals was to be able to create a platform for self-identified Muslim women to be able to critique portrayals and stories about us and our communities in mainstream media. Comment and speaking for ourselves was a novel concept. There continue to be countless Orientalist academic works, investigative reports and documentaries, heartwrenching movies, art and books (whose jackets covered with pictures of women in niqab with desperate eyes heavily lined with Kohl) on the oppression of Muslim women and countless harrowing tales of our oppression. Let’s not forget the appropriation of our veils and their symbolism.
“This book is about what lies behind such deceptively simple responses to problems we think we already understand or believe that we should act on even before we understand.” – Lila Abu-Lughod
After reading and facing criticism for our work and writing from men and women of all faiths, I try to find mentors and women to whom to look for encouragement as we waged this form of jihad on stupidity and ignorance.
I blog often and try to smash assumptions, but am often tired by incessantly proving I do not need “saving” in any aspect of my life.
Within the online community, I have been blessed to find colleagues and friends – including MMW and countless others – who think, challenge stereotypes, and critique in intelligent and mannered ways. (Truth be told, there is always the acceptable rage and rant that we also allow ourselves. Obviously.)
Last year, when I saw a wonderful tweet (thanks @kawrage!) and some beautiful rumours about Professor Lila Abu-Lughod’s upcoming book Do Muslim Women Need Saving?, my heart started to beat faster. [Read more...]