E’s piece got posted on thought catalog! Excited.
In 2014, I spent ten months teaching English to secondary school students in peninsular Malaysia. Since returning, I’ve received a number of questions on what it was like to exist as a woman in this culture, specifically in my small town of Pahang. While valid, such questions often feel (to me) undergirded by a certain bias–the suggestion that it might be difficult for me to survive as a western woman in said culture, which points, more alarmingly, towards the belief that the women in my community, the majority of whom were Muslim, perhaps require some sort of enlightenment or liberation from the culture in which they (happily) live.
In response, I’d like to call attention to this brilliant article, which rightly points out that such questions not only feed into the pernicious white savior complex, but ignore the lengthy and vibrant history of Muslim feminism, create a “straw muslimah”…
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