A New Mexico State University professor aims to change the conversation surrounding the experiences of Arab Muslim women living in America with an animated film titled “The Four Hijabs.”
Manal Hamzeh, NMSU associate professor of interdisciplinary studies, co-authored the film of “The Four Hijabs,” which explores (Courtesy photo)
Manal Hamzeh, associate professor of interdisciplinary studies in the College of Arts and Sciences, co-wrote the script for the film with Jamil Khoury of Silk Road Rising, a Chicago-based theater and film company that focuses on storytelling through an Asian-American and Middle Eastern-American lens. The film, inspired by Hamzeh’s book, “Pedagogies and Deveiling: Muslim Girls and the Hijab Discourse,” follows the journey of three friends who explore the different meanings of the hijab.
While many think of the hijab only as the headscarf worn by many Muslim women, the film identifies four discernible hijabs: the visual hijab, which is the modest dress of both Muslim men and women; the spatial hijab, which is the separator between private and public spaces in Muslims’ lives; the ethical hijab, or the ethical values and practices required of all Muslims; and the spiritual hijab, or the barriers that inhibit deeper spiritual growth and new knowledge production. By interpreting them through Arab Muslim feminist lenses, Hamzeh said she seeks to expand beyond the trapping dichotomy of “to veil or not to veil.”