Contemporary Orientalism in Popular Music: Harem fantasies, hijab fetishizations, and the subjugation of the Arab female body

20 Oct

For my final project, I will expand on my first presentation in which I explored orientalism in Aladdin and how this connects with Carmen. I will expand my presentation by exploring how orientalism manifests itself in 21st-century Western media, particularly focusing on songs, music videos, and musicals. I will focus on how the Arab female body is subjugated in Western media, the continued fetishization of the hijab, and how harem fantasies encourage the domination of Arab women. Thus, my essay will focus primarily on the interaction between sexuality and race, however, it will cover the topic of gender as well. I hope to incorporate how the subjugation of Arab women is inextricably linked with the demonization of Arab men. I will conclude by reflecting on how the disastrous political condition of the Middle East is the legacy of orientalism as well as arguing that deeply problematic cultural and political developments in Arab society, like honor killings, are rooted in orientalism.

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