Sunday, January 21, 2007
Good Muslim Girl: New Magazine for American Muslim Teens
Muslim Girl is a magazine launched this month in the United States. It's marketed to young Muslim American girls aged 14-18 after a nation-wide study revealed the terribly, terribly shocking news that "American teen Muslim girls are much like teen girls everywhere." For that they get to have a life style magazine all their own. (Arabic)
So what do Muslim American (or is it American Muslim?) girls do?
Apparently, they "... go to public schools, watch a little too much television, read teen magazines, surf the Internet, use Google, enjoy YouTube, play video games, shop a lot, talk on the telephone and spend time just hanging out." (oh, come on. I'm sure they do a few other things too!)
But let's not ignore the differences: "for example, they get news at Al Jazeera, socialize at IslamiCity and count among their top hobbies, Qur’an study."
These scary difference, however, can be tolerated in light of the happy fact that Muslim teens come from relatively well-to-do households with money to spend. Drool and launch.
Ausma Khan, the editor-in-chief, explains how the magazine seeks to dispel stereotypes of American Muslim youth:
“We’re showing hijab-wearing basketball players alongside contemporary fashion designers and artists. We want to dispel the notion that Muslim teens conform to one particular model. Veiled or unveiled, Muslim girls participate fearlessly in sports, the arts, international travel and their local mosques.” (read more)
This is a worthy goal and shouldn't be hard to achieve. What is more challenging and interesting, however, is the ideal of Muslim girlhood that the magazine will market to its young readers. I'm no fan of life style teen or women's magazines, so I'm skeptical of this one too. I'm skeptical for other reasons as well but will keep my mouth shut for now.
For its first cover the magazine chose the face of a hijabi girl with red, white, blue star stickers on her face (I would have gone with a montage of girls to highlight the diversity, but, hey, I'm weird). She's not wrapping herself with the American flag yet, but comes pretty close. Perhaps next time. Unless they decide to go with a provocatively coy star and striped burqini clad Muslim Mademoiselle.
Anyone interested in starting Bad Arab Girl Magazine with me? I know it will sell. Or is it too...
Ok. You fill in the blank; I have to go make dinner.