The class on Middle Eastern women and their representation in the media was a very interesting one because it brought up a lot of things that I never thought about before. I know that Middle Eastern/ Muslim/ Arab people get discriminated against and stereotyped just as much as any other minority group if not more. Like discussed in class women in particular get represented as passive and silenced, but I feel like Middle Eastern women get represented as this more than any other group of women. I believe that this occurs because we see the veil as a hindrance and an object that silences these women. As mentioned in class, a positive representation is hardly seen. Women of the Middle East are educated, fight for what they believe, and are outspoken this is something that is hardly represented.The other thing that really stood out to me in class was the fact that may people in Western societies tend to group Muslim, Middle Eastern, and Arab together. That is why it was so surprising that the man in the documentary “Bad Arabs” only used the term “Arab” to describe the people in the film. There were a couple of ideas that the man in the documentary brought up that really stood out to me, the idea that our country has engrained fear in people and made Middle Eastern/Arab/ and Muslims out to be “one type” of person, that is being associated with terroristic activities, only furthers the stereotype that already exists. There was a sentence that really stood out to me in the documentary and that is when the narrator said “…we have been pre conditioned that those innocent civilians are part of terrorist groups… automatically profiled”.
Lastly at the end of the class we spoke a bit about different shows that portray Middle Eastern people in the media, especially reality show and both “All-American Muslim” and “Shah’s of Sunset” came up. The interesting thing is that one of the shows was cancelled after the first season, while the other one is about to begin a second season. As mentioned in class, it would be interesting to try to find out why one show survived over the other. Below I posted two short promos for both shows.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Iy_VoBqLTis (Shah's Of Sunset)
Personally I have never watched either show, but judging from the promos the shows seem very different from each other. I believe that “All-American Muslim” shows a more realistic portrayal of “everyday life” for different Muslim- American families living in this country. While “Shah’s of Sunset” is a more “glamorized” portrayal of Persian-Americans living in California. My assumption would be that this show might have had higher demand because it is more “Americanized” and as discussed in class this show only further supports the hegemonic structure of the U.S.