What's up, Europe? Gender, media and European integration. The story of a a young Dane exploring the continent.

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Showing cleavage is not liberation

I just read a really interesting diary entry at the European Tribune. I have taken the liberty of an extensive quote - but I suggest to read the post in full.

"...a lot of "Westerners" seem to have this idea that Arab women are all covered up and hidden from view. And in some places, yeah, they are.

But even in the most conservative, Islamist parts of the Arab world, there is this newfangled thing called television, and with satellite television comes the Rotana network, owned by a very wealthy member of the Saudi royal family. Rotana is one of a growing number of hugely popular MTV-like Arabic pop music video stations, populated largely by beeeeyuuuutiiifuul scantily clad women which Abu Aardvark (otherwise known as Professor Marc Lynch) has dubbed Pop Tarts, aka the Nancy-Haifa Culture Wars.

But the pop tarts don't just inspire hand-wringing and controversy among the conservatives. There are also Arab feminists and progressive Arab women who -- like many others who'd call themselves neither feminist nor progressive -- are deeply divided about whether these "video clips" are helping or hurting.

Because, you know, there's also that whole Orientalism thing, and as Ruby reminded us above, the Middle East is no stranger to that painful stereotype of the exotic, seductive female. And this centuries-old image has not brought with it much in the way of liberation."


Poncho Pilatos said...

Es cierto, el mundo occidental
(del cual formo parte) ha configurado una imagen de oriente como la zona virgen/salvaje que debía ser conquistada/civilizada. Con respecto a la imagen que en occidente tenemos de las mujeres orientales un claro ejemplo es el cine de hollywood que las clasifica como sexualmente atractivas y culturalmente inferiores. Es uno de los efectos ideológicos, de violencia simbólica que fundamento el colonialismo de las grandes metropolís.

It is certain, the western world (of which I comprise) has formed an image of east like the wild and virgin zone that had to be conquered and civilized. With respect to the image that in the West we have of the Eastern women a clear example is the cinema of Hollywood that classifies them like sexually attractive and culturally inferior. He is one of the ideological effects, symbolic violence that foundation the colonialismo of great metropolís..

R. said...

Hola Poncho Pilatos

Gracias por tu commentario. Mi Español no esta bien, tan voy a continuar en Ingles! Tengo que practicar mas un dia...

I completely agree with your point of view - that instead of the veiled women, there's another stereotype on the rise: the mysterious, seductive oriental woman. To me both seem equally suppressed - just in each their way.