Those Who Live in Glass Houses: Hamid Rahmanian’s The Glass House

The Glass House, directed by Hamid Rahmanian, is a documentary of the lives of a group of young women at the Omid e Mehr day center in Tehran. These women deal with a range of issues, including drug addiction and sexual, physical, and verbal abuse. Omid e Mehr’s staff provides these women with social services and vocational training so that they can become self-sufficient. The Glass House played at the 2009 Sundance Festival and the 2009 BAMcinemaFEST.The film focuses on the stories of four w … [Read more...]

Sisterhood of the Hot Pants: the Media’s Coverage of Lubna al-Hussein

Lubna al-Hussein’s recent trial for wearing pants has received a lot of attention in the media. Most of the attention has been focused on the “backwardness” of indecency law that apparently prevents women in Sudan from wearing pants in public. The law itself doesn’t actually describe what is “indecent” but it seems to be understood that the indecent clothing in this case was al-Hussein’s pants.This story did not initially spark much interest on my part, not because I don’t find the idea of fl … [Read more...]

Milke-ing it: Another Paternalistic Editorial

Looking at the title of Mark Milke’s editorial, “The 21st century-style subjection of women” I have to admit that the first group of people that didn’t come to mind was Muslim women. Maybe it’s because Muslims are usually portrayed as being stuck in the middle ages. However, my first impression was wrong and the editorial was indeed about Muslim women. I guess Muslim subjection of women is both medieval and modern.Milke’s essay is a throwback to John Stuart Mill’s 1869 essay “The Subjection of … [Read more...]

CNN FAIL on Honor Killing Coverage

This past week a woman was murdered in an apparent honor killing in the Gaza Strip. She was beaten by her father who thought she was having an affair. May Allah have mercy on the soul and forgive the sins of the woman, named Fadia, and may there also be justice for her death.Unfortunately, CNN’s coverage of Fadia’s murder was a big FAIL. The first reason was the picture accompanying the piece. The article didn’t even need a picture, but if the editors felt that they needed a picture to accom … [Read more...]

Asra Nomani’s Big Fat Muslim Wedding

Whenever I encounter Asra Nomani’s works or see her in an interview, I usually wonder,“What is her point?” I don’t say this derisively. Is she trying to speak about gender inequality among the ummah? Is she trying to deal with gender norms in her own South Asian community?These questions formed in my mind as I read Nomani’s latest piece, published in Marie Claire, titled “My Big Fat Muslim Wedding”. In the piece, Nomani goes off on so many different tangents that, by the end of the piece, I w … [Read more...]

Dreyfuss and Iran’s “Women Commandos”

If you’ve been following coverage of the fallout from the recent Iranian elections, you have been bound to see images of women in the streets as part of protests against the election results. In fact, the Western media has put a feminine face on much of its coverage of what is happening in Iran connecting feminism once more to Western interests in Iran and the region as a whole.Robert Dreyfuss’s op-ed for The Nation explores women’s role in the recent rebellion as well as the women’s rights mov … [Read more...]

Hide No More: Dutch Ad Campaign Targets Discrimination Against Hijabis

A recent anti-discrimination campaign in the Netherlands is using a poster of a hijabi, whose face is hidden behind the photo of a non-hijabi, as part of an advertising campaign to fight discrimination. The poster appears at bus stops, and says “Do you have to let yourself at home when going out?” At first, I was confused by what the poster meant. Was it saying that Muslim women who cover were hiding themselves or that Dutch society was making hijabis leave a part of their selves at home by pre … [Read more...]