Whether we’re depicted as devout Muslims who are willing to drop our religion (and hijab) in 5 seconds for the right white boyfriend, ISIS wives, or oppressed inhabitants of war-torn countries – Arabs are frequently misrepresented in the media.
In a now-viral TikTok video (which has now climbed to a staggering 1.66 million views in six days) posted by Twitter user Aabida, she managed to nail the correct way to represent young hijabi women in the media. More importantly, it’s hilarious.
How many views?? pic.twitter.com/xIqWwMxP7v
— Aabida (@maisonaabi) January 13, 2020
Pitching her fictional TV series idea, she addresses the video to “Netflix, Hulu…” and reiterates that the wildest thing about having a hijabi feature in a show, would actually be to just let her be a character in the show, and not have to have her character circle directly around her choice to wear a hijab.
The endless list of tired clichés and harmful stereotypes that surround Muslim characters on TV shows is nothing new. In the ground-breaking 2006 documentary ‘Reel Bad Arabs: How Hollywood Vilifies a People’, director Sut Jhally explored the themes featured in the book of the same name by Jack Shaheen, whereby 1,000 films were analysed (that had Arab and Muslim characters) from the silent film era in 1896 right up to 2000, and found that 936 titles had a negative portrayal of Arabs.