Monday, 9 June 2008

women in black

I've been catching up on my tv viewing recently, watching a series which had been on recently, Women in Black. The premise is, that Muslim women now comprise 10% of the world’s population, yet they are seen by many as “Shapeless blobs in black.” So the programme tries to challenge that view by going underneath the veil.

My thinkings are that it didn't exactly do that. I think it's good the programme was made at all, and it probably did do something to educate or challenge some people. But it was so full of generalisations and mis-representations, and these irritating "discoveries" the presenter, Yemeni-British Amani Zain made. They kept mixing up culture and religion, presenting one as the other and missing out showing a range of women. We often saw only a minority of upper-class women, or just one's that made good tv but didn't represent a whole. There was no depth, and although I was glad to see this series was coming on, it left me frustrted. However with only five 30 minute segments, (one in Yemen, Dubai, Egypt, UK and Holland) I guess you can't do much other than scratch the surface. The worst one I thought, was the one focusing on the UK, which is weird, since the presenter and people making the programme are from here, but it was the randomest, un-representative slant on things. The presenter said she has no Asian muslim friends, and that Arab muslim females and Asian muslim females are nothing alike. Err...what?! Who on earth believes there aren't similarities between any two women, regardless of their culture. Even the title was stupid.

Anyway, you can read much more detailed and insightful reviews and commentaries here and at this great blog

This article in The Observer is also really interesting. The writer says she was asked to be in the show but then rejected for too being western and "the fairly common, non-conflicting story where cultures don't clash, but sit quietly side by side with minimal effort required, is one that never gets the limelight."

But what I mainly wanted to show was, some stills from the episode when she went to Egypt (which was in my opinion the most interesting, least dodgy portrayal of the series). She went to this hijab styling boutique and got made over by the girls working in the shop who had the most dexterous skills in wrapping, weaving and sculpting, and produced these amazing creations:

This episode also featured one of the funniest quotes I have ever heard in relation to creating logic about why something is acceptable. A plastic surgeon, (or women who ran a cosmetic surgery clinic, I can't remember) when asked about her thoughts on the view that we shouldn't tamper with out bodies as we shouldn't change what God made, replied "God created us in a most beautiful form, and we have to take care of it. I believe God created plastic surgery too, and if we dont use it, it's also a sin"

Well, if it's a sin...

1 comment:

Hayah said...

Hi there Sophie!

Thanks for visiting my blog :)

It's great to hear the opinion of a non-Muslim about the show, since they are the target audience!

About the plastic surgeon woman.. I just... no comment lol :P

I've got lots of spare time on my hands this summer, and hopefully I want to explore London's shops and boutiques, so I reckon your blog will come in handy :) Keep up the good work!