Culture, Religion, Sex & Gender

From the "Sometimes People Get It Right" Files

I have a new favorite magazine. Or a new magazine that I love, anyway. It’s called Muslim Girl, and I found it randomly on my local newsstand, and couldn’t resist picking it up. It’s fabulous!
It’s totally as cool as I had hoped it would be–inclusive, flexible, asks its readers, “is your mosque girl-friendly?” (and doesn’t mince words with the answers), profiles Muslim chicks doing cool/unusual things (soccer player, spoken word poet, etc.), seems to consider stuff like how one defines modesty and whether to wear hijab a personal decision (and has a non-hijabi as a cover girl in this last issue), does cute fluffy YM-demographic appropriate stuff like gush about Harry Potter and then interviews women who witnessed the Bosnian genocide without blinking. It seems right on re: navigating the various issues of staying true to your religion (and, sometimes, culture–that came up some) while still integrating as much as possible in the big world (and has at least several features in which some interviewee talks about the importance of, well, kavvanah, and that God wants us to use our brains instead of blindly adhering to stuff). It’s respectful both to people on the more and less traditionally observant end of the spectrum and seems to be offering a nuanced reading of texts and sources. And they had an article on interfaith dialogue, which always makes me happy. This is how religion should be sold to the preteen/teen set, really. Oh, and their fashion spreads are non-sucky.
Now, granted, the fact that I’m 15-20 years too old to be their target demographic and, you know, not Muslim did get in the way of my interest (the former much more than the latter though, really.) It’s not my magazine, but I’m so glad that it exists in the world. I’d give this to my (theoretical) kid over Seventeen magazine any day.

7 thoughts on “From the "Sometimes People Get It Right" Files

  1. I dunno, could this be just reasonably clever western propaganda? An attempt to create a pop Islam where none actually exists? Anybody know who publishes this?
    Lilly Tomlin says, “My greatest fear is that no matter how cynical I become, it’s not enough.”

  2. I would like to believe the publishers/writers at this magazine will not be subject to Islamist harassment/political pressure in the future. I really, really would. I wish them the best.

  3. We should be asking ourselves why we don’t have a similar publication for teenage Jewish girls. (Anyone with capital out there? I’d be all over it in a heartbeat!)

  4. Mobius, I’ve been reading 614 ever since it showed up in my emailbox a few months ago. It’s a great endeavor, but it’s not really analogous to a publication like Muslim Girl- it appears to be targeting people more like me, college (Brandeis, in my case…) educated 30+ year-old women.
    Whereas I think there really is a need for a fun magazine to appeal to my 15 & 16 year old girls- who seem to have a biological predisposition to buy/borrow and sneak Cosmo, Seventeen, etc. into the house. Have you read one of those magazines lately? After reading only a few pages, you can begin to understand the Christian homeschool movement a little better.
    At the risk of sounding like a completely un-hip prude, I’d like to see a magazine that portrays teen fashion that isn’t about exposed pubic bones, provides non-Polyanna-ish advice about boy-girl relationships without delving into the particulars of how to choose a condom, de-emphasises bitchy girl-girl relationships, never once mentions Marilyn Manson in the music section and has a few pages on how to host a really rad Hawaiian themed shalos seudas. You want more- and more committed- Jews? Give them a fun alternative.

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