Anyone who grew up with an Arab father knows how tyrannical Middle Eastern men can be: they talk louder than anyone else in the room, make inappropriate jokes at the dinner table, and their flatulence will clear a room with after eating too much lamb (but only after all the guests have left). That’s my dad, at least.
You may have heard of the classic story Alice in Wonderland. In the 1951 Disney film version of the Lewis Caroll tale, Alice finds herself in a newfound world, where she meets a cast of rude characters with outlandish customs, including a hookah-smoking caterpillar. Now what if instead of falling into Wonderland, Alice were kidnapped and taken to Arabia?
Last Monday, ABC Family, a division of Disney, announcedthat this was precisely the plot for a new pilot called Alice in Arabia
Explosions, gripping fight scenes, sexist playboy arrogance, and close-ups of Robert Downey Jr.'s face overlaid with computer graphics—these were all things I expect when walking into an Iron Man movie. What I don't expect are convenient and overused Hollywood tropes about Muslim women.
TGI Tuesday! Here's our list of news links for today.
Roxane Gay reviews Identity Thief: "McCarthy's character, Diana, is increasingly painted as lonely and miserable.... This is, it appears, the only narrative the filmmakers can imagine for an overweight woman." [Buzzfeed]
One typical victim-blaming justification of street harassment goes something like this, "What did she think would happen when she went out wearing that?!" The logic underlying such a comment seems to be that the only women who are groped, ogled, or verbally accosted on the street are ones who choose to buck social norms of modesty by improperly displaying their sexuality—and the conclusion that follows this strain of logic is that there is no other possible reading by the men who observe this type of "non-normative" behavior than to perceive it as an invitation for all types of commentary and conduct, from the annoying to the illegal. Many feminists are all too familiar with this wrongheaded sentiment when it comes to sexual violence and harassment, but the news out of France recently has caused me to consider its relevance to another gendered freedom, or rather lack thereof, in France: the state prohibition of Muslim women wearing the niqab in public.
Switzerland has been inciting all sorts of ire and indignation these last few months with their xenophobic c ban on minarets. This Sunday, they're likely going to cross a few more potential allies with their referendum on whether animals should be granted legal representation in the courts.