Month: June 2009

June 26, 2009 / / movies
June 26, 2009 / / Uncategorized
June 25, 2009 / / advertising

by Guest Contributor Alicia, originally published at Muslimah Media Watch

It had to happen sooner or later. With Barbie and now Hannah Montana merchandise dominating the tween to early teenage market in Malaysia, products for young Muslim women in hijab are starting to appear, particularly on the bookshelves. And they look very pink.

The increasing pinkness of girl’s books can be directly connected to the uninterrupted rise of a global consumerist culture that worships Hollywood celebrity culture in Malaysia; from businesses that name themselves after American cities for prestige to the local edition of Cosmopolitan magazine that represents the arbiter of modern Malaysian female sexuality. And by following the lead of Barbie and Hello Kitty manufacturers’ lucrative use of the color pink, local book publishers do the same to gain a monopoly on young female readers.

Of course pinkness would not be complete without princesses. I’d like to point out here that although princesses have long been present in Malaysia, both in reality and in legend, none looks strikingly similar to a Disney princess as the female protagonist in Azian Aiman’s Sayalah Puteri Raja! (I’m the Princess Here!). Causing the most concern for me is its depiction of princesses as celebrities and objects of female envy, as revealed on the back of the book:

Zara steps out of the car and waves to a crowd that screams her name.

“Princess Zara! Princess Zara!”
“Oh, how beautiful she is! How wonderful it would be to be just like you, your highness!”
“I want to be like Princess Zara!”

A cacophony of screams fill the already chaotic air. Is she witnessing a mass hysteria? Zara cannot hide her excitement at being the object of worship.

Read the Post Pink is for Tween Muslimah

June 25, 2009 / / discrimination

by Special Correspondent Wendi Muse

I must open this piece by stating that as someone who believes in equality between men and women, I would not be happy if my country or my religion or my culture told me I must dress or look differently from my male peers. I am not happy when it happens in any country, including my own, the United States. When I turn on the television and hear stories of women spending countless dollars to look like a certain celebrity or see magazines marketed toward women that encourage them to do, act, or look a certain way to garner more male attention, whereas men participate far less  frequently in this charade, I am disgusted.

So when Afghanistan was the country of the moment leading up to the September 11th attacks and America’s subsequent response, I recall feeling angry every time I saw a woman in a burqa on television. My gut response was one tempered by the typical Western media approach to more conservative aspects of Islam. “Why must these women wear something covering every inch of their bodies, while men are left to dress according to their very whim?” I tried to put myself in these women’s shoes, knowing I would be incredibly angry if I went from wearing clothing I chose on my own to being forced to adhere to a new government policy that dictated my very move, even down to my personal style.I would feel trapped, limited, removed, alienated. I would feel separated from my former self, as I use my clothing and style to reflect my personality and my mood. Most of all, I would feel different, and ultimately inferior to the male peers with whom I was once, more or less, visually equal.

Yet now, as the burqa has resurfaced again in the Western media, my opinion has changed. Read the Post Timing Is Everything: Nicolas Sarkozy Defends Women’s Rights by Restricting Them

June 24, 2009 / / comics