I wrote a big long review of this and Worpress ate it. This has never happened to me before and frankly, it’s just not cool. I’m already having to write this in IE as for some reason WP isn’t working properly in Firefox.
Here is a summary of my previous review.
The programmes starts by saying that Muslim women now comprise 10% of the world’s population. Yet they are seen by many as “Shapeless blobs in black”. Anyway this programmes aims to challenge that view by going, where else but, underneath the veil. Who would have guessed that under veil exploration would become more popular then undersea exploration, but with added exoticism.
Arab and Muslim are not interchangeable. Consult any dictionary for proof. Yet throughout this programme the terms are mixed and matched with little apparent thought to actual definition of either.
When the presenter (an Arab Yemeni raised in the UK) changes from jeans and a t-shirt into a black abaya and shayla half way through her flight to Yemen, she describes it as something many Muslim women do. Maybe so, yet many more have the same concept of modest clothing whether they are in Anchorage or Ankhara.
So the programme continues with showing how Yemeni women live, with a strong emphasis on how they shop and party. The male female segregation is presented as an Islamic act, despite that behaviours surrounding this segregation are often far from Islamic in intention and practice.
Irritation of a milder form, when the presenter describes sugaring as a must for Muslim women, although it is actually a practice of Arab (and Desi) women, regardless of religion.
If this programme marketed itself as an insight into the lives of Arab women, I would have no complaint. However, it is specifically presented as an ‘under the veil’ (groan) look at Muslim women, yet sadly Islam barely makes a cameo appearance. This is typified by a lingering shot of a niqabi woman drinking a glass of juice, which clearly shows her face. Such a shot is extremely intrusive and disrespectful of that women’s beliefs and boundaries. If a programme cannot respect these boundaries, how can it describe not only the beliefs that create them, but the people who hold those beliefs?
Just like many women, Muslim women like to look good, they like to have fun with their friends, they have hobbies and just like every woman, Muslim women are more then their pastimes. Is that so hard to understand?