Thursday, October 18, 2007

Hejab at the Theater: Insiders vs. Outsiders

Zeenat Rahman, a University of Chicago alumni, twisted the idea of The Vagina Monologues into something that could work for Muslim women. Rahman, knowing that Muslims are still misunderstood within the west, decided to make The Hijabi Monologues to help create awareness of Muslim women’s lives. Muslim women tell their stories, and despite the name, the Monologues don’t focus on the “often-contentious issue of hijab.”

So why name it The Hijabi Monologues? I think it would be much more inclusive if it was termed The Muslimah Monologues. But Rehman says,

The name is a play on the 'Vagina Monologues.' And we think whereas the 'Vagina Monologues' took something that's very private, and brought it out to the public sphere, open for public discussion, we took the kind of public conception that people have of Muslim women which is the hijab, but then what we really seek to do is delve into the deeper, more substantial experience of Muslim women beyond what is on their head or what they wear.”

Sounds good to me!

What I like about The Hijabi Monologues as opposed to The Veiled Monologues is that THM was created by a Muslim woman, unlike TVM, which was created by a Dutch woman. Also, the title “The Veiled Monologues” is kind of a sensationalist one, don’t you agree? Also, TVM focuses on the sexuality of Muslim women, while THM focuses on normalizing Muslim women. I think a possible underlying premise for TVM is that Muslim women’s sexuality is so different from other women’s that we need our own Vagina Monologues. And I don’t care for that premise at all! We’re already sexualized; let’s get normalized, already!

The article didn’t give any details on where this is being shown. If you have the details, share them with us! And if you’ve seen it, we’d love to hear what you thought of it!