We’ve got a lot on our radar this week: the fact that one in 200 American women claim to have immaculately conceived (well, it is Christmas), the ‘festive spat’ over Santa’s race, and that debate on Newsnight. But for this week’s On our radar, we’ve decided to focus on something a little bit different.
Somewhere in America – #MIPSTERZ. Via YouTube Our heads were turned by the debate surrounding a recent YouTube sensation – mipsterz. That’s M for Muslim, -ipster for hipster, and Z for… young-person-speak. There’s even a hashtag for good measure. They’ve released a video set ‘somewhere in America’, where young American Muslims skateboard to Jay-Z, purposefully walk down the street in fierce high heels, and generally look cool. The video’s fusing of swag and hijab has proved pretty controversial, with blogs springing up left, right and centre, and comments flying in on Twitter. Many argue that it objectifies its protagonists – something the hijab is supposed to prevent. But on the other side, others are pleased to see such a brazen assertion of an alternative Muslim identity. Sana Saeed over at The Islamic Monthly tuned in with some thoughtful criticism: ‘The process of creating ‘normal’ is also stripping us, especially women, away from central parts of our faith…This isn’t about policing what we wear and how or about casting judgment, but about the sort of culture we’re creating for Muslim women’s dress that is no different than the images and lifestyles sans hijab we criticize’. And then there’s this blog, where the author argues in favour of the Mipsterz. ‘If you’re a hijabi, you have to perform some kind of purity, some kind of authentic Islam, and if you step outside the lines of What Hijabi Ladies Should Dress Like, you’ve set yourself up to be hypersexualized.’ Imran Ali Malik, meanwhile, points out that whatever your opinion, at least the video is provoking the Muslim community to ‘engage with our religion and culture’. Mipsterz: providing food for thought on hijab-swag.