On Mannequins and Messaging in the New York Times

This article was written for Muslimah Media Watch by Anny Gaul.Yesterday, The New York Times ran an article about what Iraqi women are wearing these days. It paints a picture of a once-secular society’s pluralism run amok: “Vendors around the Kadhimiya mosque in northern Baghdad sell all manner of women’s clothing, from drape-like black abayas to racy evening wear. But on a recent afternoon, Hameed Ibrahim ushered his family toward a different kind of fashion display.” The piece goes on to des … [Read more...]

“Report from a Pashtun Teen” in the New York Times

After reading Nicholas Kristof and Sheryll WuDunn’s Half the Sky earlier this year, I began to frequent Kristof’s blog at the New York Times website, “On the Ground.”  While I found parts of his book lacking in portraying some of the women’s own voices (there are places where women from the developing world are portrayed in the role of the “Other” to a dominant and paternalistic “Western World”), I admired his storytelling ability and emphasis on women’s empowerment.  I wanted to read more of his … [Read more...]

The Other Half of the Sky: the NYT Magazine’s Women’s Crusade Issue

At the heart of many of the problems plaguing Muslim women in developing nations is a dollar bill, not a Qur’an. That was the overall impression I received from reading last Sunday’s Times Magazine. The issue of women in developing nations may not appear to be an impending issue for the Muslim community. In fact, the phrase “women in development” may turn away many readers. However, these issues are at the heart of many global conflicts, and in many cases, these impoverished women are Muslims the … [Read more...]

The “Limit of Tolerance” of a white, privileged, non-Muslim man

I wrote a post last week on the flogging that took place in Pakistan's Swat Valley and my thoughts on the video. This week, Randy Cohen, a columnist for The New York Times, wrote a piece on the ethics of what took place in Pakistan, as well as the recent law proposed in Afghanistan. While I thought the premise of the essay was not terribly bad ("what do we deem to be tolerable and intolerable?"), the angle at which Cohen looked at the flogging and Muslim women in general had an air of white … [Read more...]

Oppressed and Downtrodden: The New York Times Profiles Abused Afghan Women

Covering Afghan women must be an especially hard task for many Western journalists. I say this because every piece I have read about Afghan women makes them seem like they are some of the most oppressed women in the world, with little to no hope for happiness, sans intervention by a Western savior or "Western" inspired program of some sort. A recent New York Times piece on Afghan women fleeing domestic violence, unfortunately, does little to break from this pattern.Even before reading the … [Read more...]