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Muslimah Media Watch thanks Racialicious for the tip!
Moving into a new place? Or do you feel that you just need some “spice” in your old place? Well, AllPosters.com has just the thing for you to give your living space some added “color.” Posters of ethnic people!
These colorful ethnic people have their own category! Seriously. The title for the category is “Ethnic People.” I hate the way “ethnic” is used here; it’s used as a synonym for “different,” “non-modern,” and “non-white.” Asians in kimonos and Mao jackets, Africans with colorful body paint, even Hawaiians in grass skirts are included!
Now, I can see the value of these pictures as art. All people have an inherent grace about them, even as they go through their daily lives. My qualm is with the fact that these people are highlighted not for this grace, but for their geographical location in what is considered a third world country, for their “difference” from people in the west, for their “ethnic-ness.”
Well, sisters, don’t worry! We’re included in this racist carnival, too! There are plenty of pictures of women in black chadors, women with seductively painted eyes and hidden faces, Bedouins with face masks, and lots of hennaed hands.
What’s that? You’re a Muslim woman who doesn’t wear a Bedouin face mask or a long, flowing veil? You’re a Muslim woman who isn’t “ethnic?” Well, too bad! AllPosters.com thinks that Muslim women can only be dark-skinned and veiled, and can only live in villages and places that don’t have highways or grocery stores!
What’s more, the majority of “artists” or photographers are men, which adds an extra layer of forbidden sensuality to these pictures. Did these men photograph a Kuwaiti woman in a niqab because they respect culture and the anonymity that a niqab offers this woman? I doubt it. I imagine the photographers’ inner dialogues went something like this: “Look! A Muslim lady with a veil! How exotic! Let’s take a picture! Muslims are really ‘in’ right now; we can probably sell this.”
These posters stylize the idea of Muslim women as traditional, tribal, and never-changing or adapting in the face of history. They colorize and beautify the idea that we are “ethnic” and “exotic,” and thus eroticize everyday tasks that are included in these posters, such as prayer, going to the market, or caring for one’s children, while simultaneously leaving out Muslims who are not veiled or have light skin. These posters make us (and all “ethnic” women) silent, stationary, waiting for someone to buy us and frame us, and display us in their living room.
I don’t know about you, but that doesn’t sit well with me. Here’s where you can complain: Suggestions@allposters.com.