Monday, April 23, 2012

Muslim Women Wear Bras. So...?

A local storm's brewing over a controversial photo by a fine arts student in British Columbia, Canada.
Her large black-and-white print showed a woman in full Islamic scarf and cloak holding up a flowery bra while folding laundry.
Sooraya Graham, who wears Muslim headdress (or niqab) herself, presented the image for a class assignment last month. Soon after it was hung in the school hallway, another woman (who also wears a niqab) tore it down. That started a debate about censorship, cultural misconceptions and community representation.
Sooraya said she wanted to remind people that Muslim women are human, and wear undergarments too, but was not expecting such reaction. Eventually, administrators retrieved the photo, and learned the woman had been acting on behalf of several non-fine arts students who'd been offended by the image.
Graham said her intention had been to "humanise" women who wear the niqab, by showing one doing a simple act of laundry that many women can relate to. She could only assume those who opposed the image may have felt mocked. Since the incident became public, an education centre in the city, funded by the Saudi Arabian Embassy, has also voiced its opposition.
Professor Ernie Kroeger said his class appreciated the work: "It's mildly provocative, but in almost a light-hearted way. No-one thought it offensive or controversial." The silver-lining is that it generated conversation: "People with differing opinions can actually talk about it, and find out what the objections are." Ha, such an academic!!
Still, I can see nothing wrong with this photograph: can you?
Isn't this simply freedom-of-expression?
Or more confirmation that the world has got far too precious?

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