Sunday, June 21, 2009

Princess Hijab and the complexity of cultural remixes

I think my brain melted a bit trying to understand and react in a coherent way to Princess Hijab.

She is a guerrilla artist/protester/ad buster that 'hijabizes' advertisement. She, a self defined 'insomniac punk' claims not to be a Muslim and do what she does just for the sake of artistic expression. And I am torn here, as I think that the burqa is hideous, demeaning, a symbol of male oppression. But, I can see also how it can be a part of one's identity, a definition of self, an act of provocation, rather than an imposition. I do not approve it, but in no sane society should women dress according to my or any man's thoughts.

The French government wants to forbid the burqa, and even if I would like to see that, I cannot support such measure in good conscience, it should not be state's business to tell people what they cannot wear. Why don't they actually ask to the women that wear burqas why do they do it? Coercion is not the solution here, I am afraid. Which one is it? I am not sure, but if somebody finds happiness inside a burqa, who am I (o Sarkozy or De Gaulle) to oppose to that?

Meanwhile, Princess Hijab is there, mocking us, protesting, calling our attention and making us reflect on our internal contradictions, transgressing the boundaries of cultures, mixing them, defying our preconceptions and clear-cut opinions. I am not sure whether she is beautiful, but what she does is. Go on, beautiful provocateur, épater la bourgeoisie.

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