Increasing Muslim Women’s Significance through Mediatization, Part I

A very interesting workshop was organized on November 24-25 by the Netherlands-Flemish Institute in Cairo (NVIC) titled: “Female Actors in Islamic Public Sphere - Increasing Significance through Increasing Mediatization.” This was a great conference, and I wish I could recap it all for you. But I'll keep my review to the media-related panels.Maria Roeder from Mannheim University discussed how private life could be highly political: she raised the questions of who is defining what is public and … [Read more...]

Putting Texts in Context: Saudi Text Tagging

Earlier this month, CNN Expansión reported that the Saudi government aimed to prohibit the Blackberry Messenger service, since it is considered a threat to national security because the service doesn’t allow the government to intercept messages.Blackberry has become very popular among single young people, who use it as a way to connect with men or women in a society where gender segregation is strictly imposed. Although negotiations continue between Blackberry and the government, the go … [Read more...]

Nothing is worse for a Saudi man than imagining himself a woman

This post was written by Eman Al Nafjan and originally appeared at her blog Saudiwoman's Weblog.Every Ramadan for the past sixteen years a show called Tash Ma Tash, which means something in the literal lines of "splash what may," is closely watched by almost every Saudi household. The show is a satire of Saudi society and it’s funny, to say the least. It’s also been prohibited by several sheikhs as un-Islamic, especially due to the actors’ portrayal of those very same sheik … [Read more...]

How to Cheat on Your Exams: Hi-Tech Hijab!

June is exam time in North Africa. With some amusement, I read a link forwarded to me from an Algerian website about young women using their Bluetooths and hijab to cheat on their baccalaureate exams.  A quick Google search proved this was a pan-Maghreb thing, as Moroccan and Tunisian media has written on the subject.In North African countries, the results of one’s baccalaureate exams are key to scoring increasingly scarce university places, both at home and abroad. So the stakes are quite hi … [Read more...]

For Neda: HBO Documents the 2009 Iranian Elections

As I snuggled on the couch to watch HBO’s documentary on Neda Agha-Soltan, I knew this wasn’t the time for popcorn. The first images that splashed across the screen were Agha-Soltan’s infamous last moments, which haunted viewers around the world exactly a year ago. The tone of onlookers and loved ones was agonizing, screaming as they crowded around her body, placing their hands over the bullet hole in her chest. As blood began to gush from her mouth and nose, Agha-Soltan’s eyes remained open. It … [Read more...]

Skin Deep: Jessica Simpson’s The Price of Beauty

Anyone who’s heard of Jessica Simpson knows that she's not portrayed in the best manner when it comes to the media. Criticisms about her weight and failed relationships are constantly on top of entertainment news. For this reason, Jessica Simpson now has her own show on VH1, called The Price of Beauty, where she travels around the world to experience different cultures and understand the true meaning of beauty. In the most recent episode, Jessica traveled to Morocco, where she became familiar w … [Read more...]

From Bikinis to Hijabs: Using Psychology to Your Advantage

My eyebrows raised when I read this article on IslamOnline. The article, entitled Study: Men Objectify Scantily Clad Women, used a current study conducted by well-known Princeton psychologist, Dr. Susan Fiske, to promote modest clothing.I am familiar with Dr. Fiske's work, and I couldn't help but question whether IslamOnline was misrepresenting the study in an effort to promote the necessity of hijab. As someone doing her Ph.D. in social psychology, I am familiar with how the results of social … [Read more...]


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