This essay was published by Medium: The Development Set. To read it on their site, click here.
Come on out next week for a night of Middle Eastern storytelling! I’ll be reading a new essay about my last name and how it relates to being Arab American and mixed. Plus, we’re going to dance the dubke! Details below:
"You're Arab American?" "Yep." I nod, knowing what they'll say next. "I never would've guessed. You don't even look Arab." "That's what people tell me," I say with a smile, shrugging my shoulders. Over the years, I've played with different responses, having heard this reaction innumerable times from both Arabs and non-Arabs...
My essay, “Passing as White, Flaming as Arab–Why Mixed-Heritage Arab American Women Writers Choose Not to Pass as White and Instead to Flame as Arab,” has been published in the latest issue of Mizna! (Click on the title to read the essay in PDF. Visit mizna.org to buy your own copy of the amazing issue.)
Special thanks to Amira Jarmakani, Diana Abu-Jaber, Leila Buck, Lisa Suhair Majaj and Naomi Shihab Nye, who contributed their personal experiences and brilliant ideas.
To read this article (in PDF), click here: Jeannie’s American Dream-The Assimilation of a TV Icon. It’s in the winter issue of the print magazine Bitch. Yes, that’s right, print is NOT dead. Get your copy now at your local bookstore, newsstand or on their website.
To hear me interviewed about the article on the podcast Popaganda, click here.
I look at how Jeannie, from the 1960s sitcom I Dream of Jeannie, started off as an over-the-top Arab stereotype, but over the show’s five-year run was forced to assimilate due to pressure from network executives who wanted her to be more “likeable,” i.e. American. I also break down how Orientalism helped ratings and why, even though Jeannie calls Tony “Master,” she can be read as a feminist, transgressive character.
Becoming your mother is often unavoidable. But is it always a bad thing? Find out by clicking here.P.S. No that’s not a pic of mom and me — although those curlies could be ours.
Something terrible happened this year right before my 38th birthday: I became my mother. I was just standing in my kitchen cutting up a cantaloupe. Isn’t this something women face in their 50′s? Or after they have their own kids? I swore this day would never come. Ever since I was a little girl, I’ve been fighting to have a very different life than my mom’s. But now I see that I’ve failed miserably.
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?