Is H&M’s first Muslim model a positive move into the mainstream?


This post was written by guest contributor Shereen Malherbe (@malherbegirl).Mariah Idrissi is the first female Muslim model to feature in an H&M advertisement. The advert describes her look as ‘chic’ and Mariah definitely looks chic. Most are applauding this diverse and inclusive step from the world’s second largest retailer for representing Muslim women in the fashion world. The fashion industry is changing…or is it?Muslim women have their own views and as the global Muslim popul … [Read more...]

I know, I know, hijab makes you beautiful

Screenshot from video

When I was 19 years old and just exiting from the rebellious teenage years, I stepped out of the house with my hijabi sister. I was newly de-jabbed (the first tentative attempt of many), and feeling awkward and – for lack of a better description – naked. My neighbour happened to step out at the same time, looked at the two of us, and proceeded to declare my sister the prettier of the two of us.“Beautiful! Your sister looks so beautiful in hijab!” Embarrassed, I tried to disappear. Eventually … [Read more...]

Use a “Muslim Woman”: Reasserting Dutch Values 101

Source: Hivos.

A few weeks ago, I went to a small, local cinema in my city to catch a film. I’ve always liked going to this particular cinema because they screen international and independent films – a fresh change from the standard Hollywood fare at the bigger cinema.The film was about to start, so I quickly ducked into the ladies’. After I washed my hands, imagine my shock at seeing the following poster pasted behind the door:The text on the poster says (in Dutch): “This woman is a symbol for all … [Read more...]

The Snore Heard ‘Round the World


A few days ago, my Facebook newsfeed was awash with people sharing articles about a new billboard that just went up in Los Angeles. It depicts a male American soldier embracing a woman wearing a niqab. The billboard is for a product called SnoreStop, and it also displays the hashtag #betogether.Um…okay.Despite the buzz, the ad doesn’t catalyze brand recognition for me. Thus, I suppose in my case, the purpose of the ad is defeated. I can tell you that the ad has to do with snoring, but I h … [Read more...]

My Ramadan Media

You ain't cool if you don't love Ramadan.

Okay, okay. I know I'm not supposed to write a media analysis this Ramadan. In fact, one of my resolutions this Ramadan is to leave the television off as much as possible for the whole month.With a few exceptions, of course. For example, I have to switch on the television during sahoor time to watch my favourite Ramadan program, Tafsir Al Mishbah. Professor Quraish Shihab, the central figure of the lecture program, is a very knowledgeable man whose concise explanation of Qur’anic verses can t … [Read more...]

Be Sexy – But Keep It Hidden


Like many people I know, I have a love/hate relationship with Facebook.  Although its usefulness for me still outweighs anything else, given the number of people I’m in touch with who live far away from me, I’m often creeped out by the weird stalking behaviours that it encourages, among other things.And then there’s the advertising that pops up.  Some of it is hilariously misdirected, like the wave of evangelical Christian ads I saw a few months ago. Much of it is just annoying – seriously, e … [Read more...]

On (Not) Living Up to the Hijab Tutorial Ideal

From a YazTheSpaz photoshoot. [Source].

It was after my marriage that I decided to wear a hijab in public. Like most others who are evolving on their hijab journey, I had my fears – my biggest one being that it was going to make me look horrendous. After all my hair was my best feature.To help me on my hijab journey, one of my friends suggested that I look for hijab tutorials, online, so I started googling. This “easy” hijab tutorial told me that to cover my hair and to look good while doing it, I will have to take a piece of cloth … [Read more...]