VIRTUAL ENGLISH HONORS CONFERENCE 2020
The Power of the Popular (or, All Our Faves Are Problematic)
Great presentation Naurin!! Giving power to people that are thought of as not having a “face” of their own is so important to understanding how alike we all are….Great work my friend 🙂
Naurin this is amazing! How do you feel about the new season of Elite and Nadia’s storyline? This is such a great presentation. <3
Wonderful job, Naurin! This is a fantastic and well-articulated presentation. Your deconstruction of western Muslim media representation is brilliant.
Excellent presentation and very timely. As I listened to your reading, I could not help but think of Fanon’s “Algerian Unveiled” (likely because I just taught it). In one part of Fanon’s essay, he complicates how people should perceive Algerian women who choose to unveil in French colonial accounts of the success of their unveiling campaigns in Algeria during the Algerian Revolution (1954-1962). Fanon writes “every veil that fell, every body that became liberated from the traditional embrace of the haïk, every face that offered itself to the bold and impatient glance of the occupier, was a negative expression of the fact that Algeria was beginning to deny herself and was accepting the rape of the colonizer” (42). With this assertion he references his main argument about how the French saw the veil as oppressive and adopted a faux anti-patriarchal agenda to try to “win over the women” in the hopes that the rest would follow (37); he also reasserts his position that unveiling Algerian woman cannot be disentangled from the immediate exotic and sexual access the French feel they are owed when looking at women. A veiled women blocks the ocular access French men think they are owed when looking at ANY women (colonized or not). Lastly, he wants to make clear that if women choose to unveil (and they did) it was both because of the inequities of Algerian culture with respect to women (a real problem for him) and because French colonization has created the context for the successful collective denigration of Algerian culture by all. The people see no value in it hence his statement, “a negative expression of the fact that Algeria was beginning to deny herself and was accepting the rape of the colonizer”.
He therefore argues a bit later in the essay “the colonialist’s relentlessness, his methods of struggle were bound to give rise to reactionary forms of behavior on the part of the colonized” (46). Algerian women who chose to unveil were not moving from their culture: “it is the white man who creates the Negro. But it is the Negro who creates negritude [an arts movement intend to empower black peoples]. To the colonialist offensive against the veil, the colonized opposes the cult of the veil” (47). Unveiling, for Fanon, is more complicated than a rejection of one’s culture and faith, as it is symptomatic of colonial oppression and its mechanisms of violence. With respect to US media representations of the self-liberation that comes from unveiling and becoming a desirable sex symbol (when seen), unveiling blurs how the choice to unveil can function as pushback against cultural strangulation from an imperial power ( a culture slowly reifying via a turn to fundamentalism to counter the corrosive influence of colonialism). It blurs as well how the choice and act is a response to violence and cannot be celebrated uncritically because of said violence (here the violence of post 9/11 xenophobia and for Fanon the institutionalized and normalized violence of the colonial project).
This was a long winded way of saying, I throughly enjoyed your presentation as it resonated with material fresh on my mind!
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