Culture

Wardrobe!

As part of Altmuslimah’s efforts to explore gender themes that Islam has in common with other faiths, the star of ‘Blossom,’ Mayim Bialik, reflects here on how her Jewish faith and its concept of modesty (tzniut) changed the way she dresses.

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Part 1: Female, Muslim, and mutant: Muslim women in comic books

In the male-dominated world of comic books where female characters are depicted with large breasts and skimpy skin-tight clothing, it’s interesting to examine whether or not Dust, a Muslim female member of Marvel Comic’s X-Men since 2002, and other Muslim super-heroines, escape the sexual objectification and sexism that women often suffer in comic books.

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It’s Barbie’s world

While dolls like Fulla and Razanne do offer an alternative to Barbie in Muslim societies, the dolls remain inherently consumerist and construct their own discourse of femininity. The Western concept of beauty, first introduced though Barbie, remains unchanged in these ethnic dolls. In the end, it’s about Barbie done differently to sell more stuff.

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The witness of Soraya M.

Respecting Muslims means recognizing, on a foundation of human dignity, the humanity—and thus also the diversity—among those who are followers of Islam. It does not mean agreeing with every single one of them on every issue, which would mean simultaneously accepting contradictions. The recently released film The Stoning of Soraya M. is a case in point.

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To read is to travel:  The rise of the Muslim woman’s memoir

Muslim women’s memoirs often deal with what it means to be pulled between the polar forces of East and West, and whether it is possible to find balance in the midst of that cultural intersection. Complicating this is a delicate balance between challenging the Western representations of Muslim women and avoiding painting an overly romantic picture of the East.

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A disturbing look into a killer’s psyche

As Ayse Onal’s intensely disturbing book Honour Killing: Stories of Men Who Killed shows, honor killings are not merely a feminist issue. They reflect a larger problem with human social values, where men and women collude to defend a family’s honor. And through her interviews, Onal finds that the killer is often just as much a victim as the female he killed.

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Questioning authority questionably

Asra Nomani’s new documentary, The Mosque in Morgantown – airing tonight on PBS – exemplifies the great American and Islamic tradition of questioning authority. But although Nomani is certainly one such challenger, Nomani seems to undercut her own objective and isolate herself as an outlier in the community by imposing her approach on others who share her views.

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“Without balance, we get a very skewed picture”

Paula Lerner has been reaching out to the women of Afghanistan ever since the overthrow of the Taliban in 2002. As a photographer and activist, she has seen the unique challenges and triumphs of women’s rights activists there. I asked her about her involvement in Afghan women’s development, as well as her views on the recent Sitara Achakzai murder and the dangers Afghan women face when advocating for broader rights.

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