I've had enough of the sensationalist, exoticised, demeaning portrayals of Muslim women seen all throughout the media, and this is my way of countering all the nonsense.
This is not an attempt at 'breaking stereotypes' or trying to enlighten people, if you're ignorant enough to believe that Muslim women are oppressed and subjugated by Islam then that's your own problem.
This is my way of giving recognition to all the women who inspire me, and hopefully sending out some positive vibes.
Education should inspire you; it should expand your knowledge base and open you up to the possibility of new experiences and for me an Arts degree did exactly that. The world is brimming with successful Arts graduates. Take Kevin Rudd who graduated with a major in Asian Studies, knowledge evidently useful in his stint as PM and later as Minister for Foreign Affairs. Consider JK Rowling who studied the classics before writing the Harry Potter series that sold over 375 million copies worldwide and translated into 64 different languages. Or Steve Jobs who credits his study of calligraphy as inspiring the typography for the first ever Mac, before he hit Silicon Valley with a force few of us will forget, even Stephen Colbert studied philosophy before moving into comedy. An Arts degree doesn’t reduce you to nothingness before your peers (unless you let it); it provides you with a springboard from which to dive into a sea of rewarding possibility. The expectations of polite society, our parents and the lady at the bus stop might unconsciously steer us toward a stable job in a noble profession, but remember this; rarely does a degree guarantee you a job no matter how specialised it is. So I’ll tell you what I tell all my students and that is, for the love of any deity in which you believe, if any at all, follow your passion and the rest will come. And as for the title, well it doesn’t really matter how swanky it is here, it won’t appear on your tombstone.
Mehal Krayem, Stop apologising for your Arts degree
Muslimah Arts students represent!
We’ve grown so used to hearing non-Muslims speak for Muslim women, dissecting their decisions about dress, behavior, belief and identity, and this worries me — I want my daughter to be able to speak for herself. I want people to accept her reasoning and the choices she makes, rather than dismiss her as oppressed or ignorant. She will not be ignorant. I don’t think there’s a Muslim woman alive today who can afford ignorance. I hope people will recognize that she is perfectly capable of speaking for herself.
G. Willow Wilson
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