Burka Avenger is a new cartoon series (in urdu) scheduled to start running in Pakistan in early August. Created by the British-Pakistani pop singer Haroon, the series features a
ninjaburqa-clad, pen-and-book-wielding superheroine / mild-mannered non-burqa-wearing schoolteacher who fights for her school against Taliban-like baddies (short interviews with Haroon and a slightly worried media analyst).
Back in May, an Egyptian professor found a loophole to allow an unmarried female to be alone in the presence of a man. All she has to do is breastfeed him 5 times. Radā is a technical term from Islamic jurisprudence meaning "the suckling which produces the legal impediment to marriage of foster-kinship". Now the good people over at Haase & Martin have come up with their own way to get under that burka.
The Beauty Academy of Kabul is Liz Mermin's documentary about hairdressers from America teaching young women in Afghanistan how to beautify themselves. Could female self-expression and vanity be an impetus for more pervasive cultural transformation? In a related development, Nike has designed a sporty hijab for use by Somali volleyball players. Whether it's an improvement over traditional variations is debatable.
The Burka and the Bikini "Our war against the Taliban, a regime that does not allow a woman to go to school, walk alone on a city street, or show her face in public, highlights the need to more fully understand the ways in which our own cultural ''uncovering'' of the female body impacts the lives of girls and women everywhere. ... Whether it's the dark, sad eyes of a woman in purdah or the anxious darkly circled eyes of a girl with anorexia nervosa, the woman trapped inside needs to be liberated from cultural confines in whatever form they take. The burka and the bikini represent opposite ends of the political spectrum but each can exert a noose-like grip on the psyche and physical health of girls and women."