The Map Is Not The Territory

A short video I created as part of my graduating work for the MA in Engaged Humanities and the Creative Life I recently completed at Pacifica Graduate Institute. 

Passport Photos

Some very angry and insecure men forced this woman into what's called a "hijab." The term has many different physical manifestations and is essentially a shaming mechanism devised by a fatally patriarchal mentality which sees women as filthy, dirty whores who must cover up so that men can avoid getting aroused, and presumably, rejected. When I lived in Iran I also had to wear hijab even though I was only a little girl. Today there are women in America who say that being a Muslim woman and choosing to wear the hijab is totally cool and that it's cool for people who belong to the liberal left to see that act as a civil right. I invite all these gorgeously cavalier people to buy airline tickets RIGHT NOW and go to Afghanistan, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia or even Iran and live there for a while. Let them experience firsthand the dynamics between men and women, especially in a place like Afghanistan. Please, Oh Saviors of Liberal Truth, go live with the Taliban for a while and see how long you can stand it. It is easy to be brave and hypocritical from the comfort of a society where free speech is still somewhat protected. I think you will discover that wearing the hijab is only a glamorous civil right here in America where everything is so steeped in hypocrisy, propaganda, and lies that left has become right, up is down and 2 + 2 makes 5. Suddenly a woman being OPPRESSED by a stifling patriarchal concept is considered a civil right worth fighting and dying for. What hogwash. 

True liberal values unapologetically challenge patriarchy (or any concept which is designed to oppress and weaken people), even as it manifests in religious edicts. True liberal values give a woman total respect for ALL of her body. No woman is born thinking she needs to wear a scarf in order to be modest. That is an idea TAUGHT to her by her father and it is TAUGHT to her mother by her grandfather. These images of Muslim women in the streets crying out for justice are so hilariously ironic, and to me, so obviously missing the point, that I am no longer surprised that Trump is president. I've even seen academic women in Iran, all wearing hijab because they are forced to by the law, talking deeply about the "truth." Any woman who says that she is choosing to wear the hijab because she truly believes in Islam has been totally bamboozled. There are countless ways to embody a quiet inner dignity and maidenly modesty that do not include wearing hijab. But even the need for such an attitude is a patriarchal idea! Where is it written that a woman must be modest? Who said that she must cover up and diminish her sexuality and her power? When was it decided that women should cede to men in all things? And why on earth are we under the impression that misogyny is the unique purview of men from the middle east? Have you not seen the work of the American Taliban in congress? Christian Right Mullahs like Ted Cruz and Mike Pence want women pregnant and barefoot in the kitchens again, and loads of men up and down this "great country" exhibit a seething hatred towards women that rivals that of sheet wearing sheiks in the Arab world. 

I'm not suggesting there is an easy solution to uprooting this sort of rampant hypocrisy. I just felt the need to point to it since it has now become a sort of surreal crime on the left to criticize Islam. I was born Muslim so I can say whatever I damn well please about it. And I believe I just have.