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Title"I"m not going to let the patriarch stop me!": Examining the Obsession with Muslim Women"s Bodies, Voices and Veils in Cinema, Television & Popular Culture
AuthorBehardien, Thaakirah
SubjectDocumentary Arts
TypeMaster Thesis
TypeM. A.
AbstractHistorically, Muslim female bodies have been a key focus of attention in colonial and patriarchal discursive practices. This colonial and patriarchal desire to control Muslim women"s bodies ± and, by extension, their voice ± is rooted in Orientalism. Today, Orientalist modes of representation are sustained via consumer culture as well as the ways in which Muslim women are represented in mainstream media, cinema, and popular culture. Arguably, the need to control Muslim women"s bodies is none more evident than in the polemic over the hijab and veil, which are banned in countries such as France and enforced in states such as Iran and Saudi Arabia. Not only is this banishment and enforcement of the hijab inherently a sexist (and racist) policy that deprives Muslim women of autonomy, but this need to control Muslim women"s bodies may also be linked to the fear of female sexuality. This paper seeks to analyse the policing of the Muslim female body and dress through representations in the mainstream media, television, and cinema. In addition, this paper argues that this fascination with the Muslim female body as well as her voice and dress are rooted in Orientalist traditions, which are still perpetuated today. Lastly, referring to my own documentary ± An-Nisaa (Women) ± as a case study, I attempt to demonstrate how the film resists Orientalist tropes and traditions.
PublisherFaculty of Humanities
PublisherCentre for Film and Media Studies