Michelle Ko's Creative Portfolio

Muslim Voices in Contemporary World Literature

We Sinful Women

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We Sinful Women by Kishwar Naheed excellent portrays the conflict that many women feel in the current Islamic (and actually also in the entire) world. For example, Kishwar Naheed uses irony, contrast, and juxtaposition to point out the hypocritical and absurd way in which women who are called “sinful” are actually the most pious and most devout. After all, these supposedly “sinful women” in fact are those who “come out raising the banner of truth / up against barricades of lies on the highways” and those “who don’t sell our lives.” In a surprising turn, Kishwar Naheed explains how “those who sell the harvests of our bodies / become exalted / become distinguished” and how this is a weird contrast from how logic works. Logic and religion would point to the fact that the pious should be exalted and the less pious should not. In the reality of Naheed’s time (and arguably still our time), this is not always the case. The poem ends with a strong, reassuring, empowerment line that states, “The sun has chosen me for company.” My photographs of the girl in isolation are meant to describe women’s feelings of abandonment and righteous indignation in certain parts of the Muslim (and general) world. In both the first two photographs, the woman standing alone can be seen as deep in contemplation or as having a heightened emotional state (in terms of her body language–with her arms clasped together looking down and with her hands and head raised to the sky). The final, third, photo is meant to represent a couple of things. First, the yellow lighting is meant to represent the “sun” that has chosen women for company. The women are reaching into the sun. Moreover, the fact that there are many more girls on stage (as opposed to the single woman on stage) is meant to represent the fact that the woman’s experience in Naheed’s poem is most likely not a singular event. Many women are experiencing the same thing in the Islamic and in the general world around us.

 

 

 

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