The BBC is airing a six-episode television series, called Muslim Driving School, about Muslim women who are learning to drive. The show purports to not only follow these women as they learn, but to provide an insight into their inner lives.
Muslim Driving School is billed as being about British Muslim women, but from the introduction onward, a narrower focus is introduced–a focus on mostly Asian Muslim women, from what are described as “traditional” Muslim communities, living in northern mill towns such as Bradford and Burnley. The publicity describes the show as an “intimate and revelatory insight” into the lives of the women featured. Throughout the show there is an unambiguous depiction of the women and their lives from the standpoint of an outsider, represented for the consumption of other outsiders. The minor details of their lives are held up as revelation, while a distanced appraisal of an ostensibly alien culture is supposedly intimacy.