Missionary Rhetoric: A Cry of Need from Lands of Darkness

When Margaret Atwood wrote The Handmaid's Tale, a feminist dystopia set in a world run by a totalitarian theocracy, she said that she hadn't "invented anything," but taken her inspiration from fundamentalist Christianity in the United States, and the Islamic Revolution in Iran, among other things.In the context of the war on Afghanistan, Mary Adams wrote in World Literature Today that there is a need to "reread The Handmaid's Tale after the Taliban:" For those of us who read The Handmaid Tale … [Read more...]

Pimp My Daughter: Iraqi Women and Prostitution

I saw the movie Taken with my friend and her husband the other day and walked out of the theater feeling scared. It’s not a horror movie; the plot focuses on the sex trafficking of young women. The buyers are rich Arab men, of course.I wanted to be angry with the filmmakers for portraying Arab men as the root of all evil, but then I thought of Iraq and how prostitution sky-rocketed after the 2003 invasion.While I blame men for female prostitution, because it's their demand for the product … [Read more...]

Rock the Vote: Media Coverage of Women in Iraqi Elections

Last week’s Iraqi elections received lots of media coverage, but at MMW we were mostly fascinated by women candidates, especially since election rules require 30% of the candidates be female. The Huffington Post defines Iraq's exercise in democracy as rebellious, while the Gulf News qualified it as an act of political maturity. I'll take a closer look at CNN and The Guardian. There was mostly positive coverage at CNN. This article shows how Iraqi women contributed to their society, even before t … [Read more...]

NPR gives us an Orientalist romance

When I started to read a recent NPR story about an Iraqi woman married to an American sergeant, I had to double check to make sure that I was actually reading a news story and not a piece of Orientalist fiction. "From The Iraq War, A Troubled Romance In America" is filled with so many Orientalist cliches that even a reporter from Fox News would be happy.The article starts out with the usual physical description of Muslim woman's dress. "Munira Shahamorad was 20 years old and dressed head to … [Read more...]

Bombs, Liberty, and the Muslimah Body

Yet another cartoon controversy has hit the Muslim world. This time it's not in the West, but rather in Iraq. In their September 14th issue, the weekly Iraqi magazine/newspaper, Al-Isbouiyah (or The Weekly), published a cartoon depicting a female suicide bomber holding a lit bomb fuse in her left hand, standing, left arm raised, like the American Statue of Liberty, with an altered drawing of the Statue of Liberty itself next to her. On the bomb held by the female suicide bomber is written … [Read more...]

Mother Knows Best: CNN’s interview with an alleged suicide bomber

Sometimes I wonder why I even browse CNN.com anymore. However, it does tend to make for a good story for MMW each week :)This story about an Iraqi woman being detained because she is an alleged suicide bomber is pretty ridiculous....more so than what I'm used to seeing on there. Anytime mainstream news sources cover the 'phenomenon' of female suicide bombers, they regard it just as such: a PHENOMENON. Like it is impossible for women to be violent? Like women are only violent when they are … [Read more...]