Monday, August 12, 2013

Is Lady Gaga's Burqa Good for Muslim Women?

This is a fascinating story that students will certainly enjoy and could even debate. In a forthcoming album, Lady Gaga appears with a full head covering, or burqa, and according to the Daily Beast, "sings provocatively about the Islamic full-body covering for women."

 Did Lady Gaga go too far?  That depends on who you ask.
Myriam Francois Cerrah, writing for The Independent, thinks that Lady Gaga's burqa is good for Muslim women and makes an interesting argument. Noting that many have criticized Lady Gaga for shamelessly exploiting "orientalist fetishes to promote herself," Cerrah thinks that the singer's headcovering might "raise a smile with many Muslim women."

"I relish the fact her act subverts the monopoly on meaning typically associated with the face veil as the evil imposition of male domination,"  she argues. She also notes that "Gaga is appropriating Islamic symbols and in so doing, associating her confident sexual identity and power with women typically assumed to be passive and voiceless victims."

But others clearly disagree. Here's a story from Policymic called "Lady Gaga's 'Burqa' is Supposed to Empower Muslim Women, But Does the Opposite." And from ThinkProgress, you can read this story called "Lady Gaga’s New Song ‘Burqa (Aura)’ Is Further Proof She’s Not A Very Good Political Artist."

Here's another eloquent voice critical of Lady Gaga by Umema Aimen for the Washington Post suggesting that Gaga's song "Burqa" sends the wrong signal. Aimen notes that she like some of the song "but then you lost me when you proceeded to turn such a sacred symbol of my religion into an exotic costume. It is not something you can wear to your Halloween party."

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