May 31, 2010

"Sex and the City"? How about "Orientalism and Abu Dhabi"

Did you see the New Sex and the City movie? Well, if you haven't, then don't. If you have, you have my condolences. That movie really aught to have been called "Orientalism and Abu Dhabi." They spend approximately 20 minutes in New York before hightailing it to the UAE for a free vacation worth hundreds of thousands of dollars. But the thing is, they expect the UAE to be just like New York, or at least New Jersey. They get all offended at the site o veiled women and assume they must all feel oppressed because they don't show off their bras through their transparent clothes (I'm looking at you, Miss Bradshaw). The birkini, which is a brilliant invention that allows niqa-wearing women to swim without feeling uncomfortably exposed actually becomes the punchline to a joke!

Throughout the movie, the girls conflate the veil with oppression and having promiscuous sex in public while wearing overpriced clothes is conflated with freedom. Do they bother to read any theory about why women wear the veil? No, because if they did, they would find a lot of feminist writers who find it empowering. I mean, wearing the veil means you can control who sees your body. You can have sex and all that, but it controls who is able to objectify you. The niqab can then be seen as a tool of liberation. I can be a feminist act. Yes, being FORCED to wear the veil sucks, but most women I've met who wear it aren't forced at all, and being forced to a wear a veil doesn't suck anymore than being forced NOT TO as many women are in France.

Part of being a feminist is making the choices that are best for you. That means, if you wanna fuck a lot of guys while wearing peep-toe heels and a halter dress, then do it! IF you want to wear the niqab and only show your body to your husband, then do that. But I don't think it's feminist-y to mock women just because their choices are different than yours....

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