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Hollywood Won’t Destroy Sexism, But We Can

Hollywood Won’t Destroy Sexism, But We Can

Razan Azzarkani

The solution isn't for Oprah to run for president. It's to listen to women everywhere.

"She talked about the women who aren’t talked about: the domestic workers, the women working for minimum wage, women who have no choice but to be silent about their abuse because they have a family to feed." (Photo: Guian Bolisay / Flickr)
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I find it hard to take an anti-sexism message seriously from a woman wearing a hijab.


If she chooses to wear hijjab, who are you to say otherwise?

One of the sexisms to which I was subjected in the capital of Ohio was a school dress code that empowered any teacher to demand that I kneel anywhere, any time, so they could verify that the hem of my skirt touched the floor. Pants of any kind were prohibited. Now I choose to wear pants, or on rare occasions skirts that come well below my knees. And it’s not because of that old sexism.

The issue is agency, making my own choices. You have no idea why Azzarkani wears hijjab, but I would be shocked if it wasn’t by her own choice. Islam is a religion of practice, and it’s very much self-directed. Learn a little something.


Where did he say otherwise?

“The issue is agency”

The issue is consistency. It’s like how it would also be comical for a woman wearing a Playboy bunny outfit to be campaigning against the objectification of women–even if she freely chose to wear that outfit.

“You have no idea why Azzarkani wears hijjab”

He might not know why with absolute certainty, but that’s not the same as having no idea why. The odds are overwhelming that she wears the hijab because she’s Muslim. (And the odds are nearly as high that she’s Muslim because that’s the religion she was raised in and indoctrinated into.)


Oh come on! Do you really believe women who wear hijabs aren’t under social presure to do so from their family and community? Sometimes that can be very subtle, but it’s there. Moreover, it’s 99.5% likely she wears it because she is a muslim, women who aren’t muslims don’t ‘freely’ choose to wear this attire, do they? Therefore she wears it because it’s prescribed by her culture and religion and in that prescription is itself sexist, inasmuch as men don’t also have to wear hijabs. if they did, then there would be less of an argument. Instead, men are free to wear whatever the hell they want.

I wonder how much social pressure women in the film industry are under to agree to the increasingly explicit sex scenes that appear in nearly all films these days.


I find it hard to take an anti-sexism message seriously from a billionaire speaking to “beautiful people” wearing sexy designer dresses representing an industry that has spent decades shoving sex and violence down our throats.

What was the smash hit of 2017? Wonder Woman! Wherein a beautiful woman with flowing hair dressed in spandex, cute boots and a push-up bra violently and righteously rampaged through scenes of murder and mayhem to save us all (I didn’t actually see the movie, but I bet I summed it up just fine).

What’s the most common “climax” in any Hollywood product? It’s when the two love interests finally mash themselves together with complete and utter abandon to fuck each other silly, tearing clothes, breaking things, etc.

I’m sorry, but I will listen to Ms. Azzarkani–hijab and all–even though I know the hijab has ridiculous and sexist origins. Put another way, if you’re going to ignore Ms. Azzarkani because she wears a hijab, you had better be consistent and make sure you also blow off all those people who wear little crosses around their necks, and all those people with bindis on their foreheads, and so on.

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See if you can take this seriously…

Vital to women’s rights is the inclusion of a fight to roll back state and proposed federal laws that are narrowing their reproductive choices down to “none at all”. Women will soon be faced with extremely limited career choices by their inability to control their reproductive destinies. “Barefoot and Pregnant” will soon become much more than just an empty phrase unless they, not only stop, but push back, men’s efforts to return them to nineteenth century virtual slavery.


and @Hobgoblin
The bullshit is in European-background men speaking from their prejudiced assumptions. According to her LinkedIn profile,
Azzarkani lives in Manassas VA and works at George Mason University. I think it’s unlikely she feels compelled by others to wear hijjab. And it’s still no reason to dismiss her ideas as presented in the OP.

As another example, I have a dear friend who is Muslim and wears hijjab when she’s representing that community. I met her in my Presbyterian choir, before she made shehadi. She continued to work in the church’s committees, as well as those of her masjid and the local Interreligious Coalition for the Homeless (that as an employee). When she was at work, she wore hijjab, including on 9/11, within sight of the towers, and even when her coworkers pleaded with her to take it off to drive home. Sometimes she would come to church meetings in hijjab, if she was coming from a class or meeting at the masjid. I haven’t seen her for months now because she’s caring for her dying mother. I don’t believe she chooses to wear hijjab there, but I’m sure she still does when her sister gets home and she can go to prayers. It is wholly a choice for my friend. I would doubt very much it’s less a choice for Azzarkani.


I don’t know, but when they are, that’s obviously also sexist.

Me too, when that is the case, if they have promoted sexual exploitation of women in their films. But some of those women/actresses hadn’t and were more the victims of abuse and exploitation, so I fail to see the logic behind your argument.

Is that bad, then? Is lovers having sex a sin or something? I don’t see the connection?

Well, I didn’t say I was ignoring her, just that if you’re a person out there protesting and lecturing others about sexism against women, surely you should live by your beliefs instead of being compliant with it in your own lifestyle.

Again, I don’t follow your reasoning, as the things you mentioned can be worn/used by either sex so are not a sexist icon enforced because of fear of and a wish to control female sexuality.

And the relevance of this is what exactly?

I disagree with you about these women not being under any social pressure to do so, but even that apart, I refer again to my previous point:

That is to say, the religious practise of it itself comes from a patriachal value system included in its teachings that seeks to control female sexuality, so even if she does it out of some misguided sense of piety, it’s still complying to a sexist agenda.

But it has nothing to do with her ideas. Let’s drop the ad-hominem and talk about what she said.


Sure, I’m okay doing that, but like someone said above, and my point too, it kind of weakens the message a bit, becomes almost ironical, if the preacher is wearing a playboy bunny outfit or a hijab, both expressions of sexist culture.

False equivalence, born from your ignorance.

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What’s truly hard to take seriously is one who ignores, minimizes or demeans ANYBODY’S anti-Sexism message while spouting shameful Islamaphobia in the same breath, without a hint of irony or shame.


How is it a false equivalence? Explain that. No, I’m not ignorant, but thanks for the ‘ad hominen’ attack you previously seemed to accuse me of and be against. Classic case of projection. Well, if we’re going into that territory, then I would say you seem incapable of rising above seeing the matter in a ‘racial’ context (something others brought up, not me) and simply looking at the reality, impartial to that, in a more profound and subtle way. Get over that, and see it for what it is. You’ll be telling me next cutting off a woman’s clitoris as is practised in many muslim countries is also just a cultural tradition I am ignorant of and not remotely sexist.

Well, that’s because you can’t think very clearly, can you. I’m not against the content anyone’s anti-sexism message, just that it’s hard to take it seriously when the person preaching it is complying with a massively evident religious expression of it, for the reasons given in the arguments above, if you care to read them at all.