Sonali and I sat down to discuss Hulu’s new original series Mrs. America, its eerie resemblance of today’s culture wars and why we still need an Equal Rights Amendment. Click on the image below to get in on the fun.
I’ve made my debut as the Film Critic and Pop Culture Correspondent on Rising Up with Sonali! We discussed the colonial and racist past — and present — of The Jungle Book. You can see the video here. If you’re in the LA area, the radio interview will be aired on KPFK 90.7 FM on Monday 4/18 at 8:20 AM, and online at kpfk.org.
Check out my review published today by the feminist pop culture magazine Bitch. Also in its entirety below:
In 2011, The New York Times described reporter Kim Barker’s war memoir, The Taliban Shuffle: Strange Days in Afghanistan and Pakistan, as “hilarious and harrowing, witty and illuminating” and wrote that Barker “depicts herself as sort of a Tina Fey character.” Within weeks, Fey bought the book’s film rights. Fey wanted to play a strong character who excelled in a male-dominated field, to show that women can back each other in the workplace, and dedicate the work to her father, a veteran and journalist, who passed away last year. The result is Whiskey Tango Foxtrot.
The film’s trailers present the movie as a comedy a la Sisters, and although it has been dubbed a “feminist comedy,” it’s more of a dramedy with a little rom-com thrown in. While the film accomplishes Fey’s aforementioned goals, in doing so it champions a white, middle-class American feminism that sees Western women as free and other women, in this case Afghan women, as oppressed. This Orientalist storyline is not only problematic and unoriginal, it’s also dangerous as it continues to be used to justify U.S.-led wars in Afghanistan, Iraq and other places throughout South, Central and West Asia. (more…)
Homeland hacker challenges media portrayals of Muslims
Visual artist Heba Amin discusses the thin line between news and entertainment and making a point through humour.
When the German publisher Don Karl approached Heba Amin, an Egyptian visual artist and researcher, to paint Arabic graffiti on the set of Showtime’s series Homeland, her initial impulse was to decline, as others had before her.
She rejected what she viewed as the programme’s orientalism and its framing of diverse peoples from South and West Asia as monolithic evildoers.
But then she reconsidered. What if she could use the moment to spark a dialogue?
So, in collaboration with her colleagues, Karam, an Egyptian-German artist, and Don, she did just that.
Right after the Super Bowl, I published my take on the halftime show on my blog Feminist in the Suburbs. The next morning Bitch republished the article and got over 14K hits in 3 days! Check it out: Katy Perry’s Extremely Straight Performance of “I Kissed a Girl” at the Super Bowl.
I remember walking into the Sanrio store as a little girl and thinking I had landed in heaven. No other store in our suburban mall carried what I needed to survive elementary school: lunch boxes, pencils and their holders, markers, erasers, and so much more. We used to call it “the Hello Kitty store” because the famous white feline’s face—with her black eyes, yellow nose, three whiskers on each cheek, and pink bow over her right ear—appeared on every product.
The “Tough Issue” hits newsstands June 1st. I’m honored to have been chosen as one of five featured contributors:
My article, “Alice in TV Land” addresses what went down with ABC’s Alice in Arabia, as well as the divide between media critics and makers but looks to bridge the gap: “As an Arab American feminist trained to critique popular culture, I want to find ways to spark, influence, and create it as well.”
Here’s a pulled quote to wet your appetite:
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The Dutch chocolate-milk manufacturer Chocomel has produced a new commercial that has gotten nearly 800k views on YouTube in the three weeks since it was posted. How has a commercial for a sweet dairy drink drawn that kind of attention? By employing old Orientalist and racist tactics, and Arab face. You know the kind: sleazy Arab sheikh tries to get what he wants by luring an innocent white man into his “palace,” where eager, exotic women line the walls.
Although, I must admit they’ve put some fresh spins on an old move. Here’s how: