Feminism | Posted by Angela Liu on 03/9/2017

The Fight Against the Single Story: ‘Speed Sisters’ Amber Fares and Rabab Haj Yahya on Sisterhood, Resilience, and the Importance of Human Connection

Speed Sisters

Speed Sisters

Being the first takes courage. Putting yourself in a position of vulnerability, stepping out of your comfort zone, and risking failure can be terrifying—but also hugely rewarding. It’s an experience five women in Palestine who formed the Middle East’s first completely female race-car-driving team know well—and one at the center of the documentary Speed Sisters, which tracks the team’s journey over the course of two racing seasons, as they strive to better themselves, each other, and their communities.

When I watched Speed Sisters, I was amazed at how easily I connected with each of the characters even though they live half a world away from me. The film’s unique authenticity and warmth is in huge part thanks to the collaboration of two women: director and producer Amber …

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Feminism | Posted by Faatimah Solomon on 01/9/2017

What A Hijabi Beauty Contestant Means To Hijabi Teens

Halima Aden

Halima Aden

Ever since reading the work of authors such as bell hooks, Simone de Beauvoir, and Naomi Wolf, I have dismissed the concept of physical beauty as a trivial social construct. The mainstream narrative of beauty glorifies Eurocentric beauty ideals and promotes unrealistic body types, which in turn plays into deeper, systemic issues of racism and sexism. What I failed to realize by making this assumption, however, is that despite the reality of their roots, physical beauty and outward appearances still effectively play a significant role in how many aspects of societies function — and it is therefore very impractical to dismiss them as petty and irrelevant.

Perhaps I was so willing to ignore these social constructs, though, because I was personally clueless as to where exactly I …

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Feminism | Posted by Saskia G on 06/23/2015

Does That T-shirt Match Her Headscarf?

Samantha Elauf

Samantha Elauf

In 2008, 17-year-old Samantha Elauf was denied a job at a Tulsa, Oklahoma Abercrombie Kids store. Why? The retailer believed her hijab did not comply with their “look policy.” Her headscarf was apparently an immediate indicator that she did not align with the “East Coast collegiate image” Abercrombie cultivates in its branding, the New York Times reported. Elauf was effectively informed that her Muslim identity was un-American.

Elauf fought this notion. She brought her story to the Council on American Islamic Relations, which then brought it to the attention of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. The EEOC sued Abercrombie & Fitch on Elauf’s behalf and the case eventually made it to the Supreme Court. In appellate court, Abercrombie’s defense argued that Elauf had not explicitly stated in …

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Feminism | Posted by Alec A on 03/9/2011

From the Paris of the Middle East to Bacha Posh

Mehran Rafaat (in white) is a bacha posh

Mehran Rafaat (in white) is a bacha posh

Afghanistan has had a rough time in recent history. The sudden transformation from fashionable escape for the West to war-torn warlord-ruled landscape to complete Taliban control (and now it seems that the whole place is more or less up for grabs as the current government’s complicity with the Taliban has been revealed) has been something shocking to look at independently of any time period before or after a given moment, or in a historical panorama of the past century.

Kabul was once named the “Paris of the Middle East.” The high society women were very well integrated into European society and many took on French as a second language in an aristocratic gesture to their high-brow city’s namesake.

But the times have …

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Feminism | Posted by Helen H on 12/30/2009

The Headscarf

 the hijab

the hijab

Right. Islam and feminism. What’s the deal? I really don’t know. I do appreciate the religion, though, as a lapsed Muslim, I’m probably not the best person to talk about this.

Still, I think I’m qualified enough to say Islam is a patriarchal religion, especially in the way it’s practiced. It’s not the only patriarchal religion, and I’m sure that, like other religions, Islam is open to more feminist interpretations. But there will be some parts of it that will tick off most feminists.

One example would be the hijab. Being brought up by a rather religious family, I used to consider it a predestined (but unacknowledged) fact that I would grow up to wear one, just like most of my female relatives. But I’ve never been one …

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