Hijab Removal, Iranian Women, and Freedom of Dress

Image via the My Stealthy Freedom Facebook page.

This post was originally published at Aquila Style.The liberal feminist organisation Femen and its members’ naked breasts have had their media run. Now a more modest sort of uncovering is happening, this time in Iranian social media. Last month, London-based Iranian journalist Masih Alinejad started a movement on Facebook and Twitter, translated as “My Stealth Freedom”, to highlight the “legal and social restrictions” faced by women in Iran.Secular and Muslim women all over Iran are p … [Read more...]

Book Review: I Am the Beggar of the World

Image via Slate.

Last month, I looked at Eliza Griswold and Seamus Murphy’s work profiling Afghan women poets particular form of poetry, the landay. Their work, as they presented it in an article on Slate, came across as nuanced and reflective (my own words) of Afghan women’s experiences. I was eager to review their book, I Am the Beggar of the World, which is available this month and was kindly provided by the publisher.Griswold worked with Pashtun women translators to find and present poems that would t … [Read more...]

Marilyn Monroe in a Burqa: Commentary or Cliché?

poster

Walking home recently, I rounded the corner from my apartment and noticed a poster that was banal and startling at the same time. I had previously written about the (mis)use of images of Muslim-looking women by Dutch non-profit organisations as an attention-grabbing device, which may or may not be related to the actual work being promoted. Here was another prime example: a film festival poster showing a pair of female legs and high heels peeking out under a blue burqa, blown about above a vent à … [Read more...]

Words and Images of Afghan Women Poets

Image via Slate.

Earlier this month, Slate featured a photography-poetry project, “The Secret Lives of Afghanistan’s Female Poets.” The photography-poetry collaboration stems from the work of journalist Eliza Griswold and photographer Seamus Murphy, who reported “Why Afghan Women Risk Death to Write Poetry” for the New York Times magazine in 2012. Griswold and Murphy’s work will be published in a book, I Am the Beggar of the World: Landays from Contemporary Afghanistan, next month.In the New York Times articl … [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...]

Privilege and Prayer Spaces: An Interview with Hind Makki of Side Entrance

A woman prays at the Dome of the Rock. Photo provided by Hind Makki.

“I am airing dirty laundry, because it needs to get washed” - Hind Makki "Children of Adam, take your pleasantness to every Mosque." (Qur'an 7:31)How often have we as Muslim women been enthusiastic about praying in a new space, and have attended a new masjid only to be discouraged by the lack of accommodation, area or accessibility for female worshippers? How often have we been pleasantly surprised by the well-lit rooms and inviting, comfortable spaces for female worshippers?An int … [Read more...]

The Colourful Hijab of the African Muslimah

Photo from the Darfur Sartorialist (source).

The Darfur Sartorialist is an exhibition launched by Portuguese urban engineer, humanitarian and photographer Pedro Matos to showcase the colourful clothing and trendy fashion sense of women in Darfur, Sudan.Matos was in Darfur for three and a half years with the World Food Programme when he started taking these photographs in a country where it is apparently forbidden to do so. Initially surprised by the style and fashion that thrives in Darfur, contrary to Western images of the region … [Read more...]


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