Angie wanted our reactions as Muslim women, and mine was almost instantaneous. I spent another five minutes trying to give ALA, and the designers, the benefit of the doubt. But it soon became clear that I just couldn’t. It was just too blatant, and many other friends, both Muslim and non-Muslim, reacted with the same discomfort and anger.
If you look at the image, you can see that the design forms a veil over the model’s face. That, coupled with the fact that the model is otherwise dressed rather “skimpily”, in Angie’s words, quickly draws the mind to the usual stereotypes about the oppressed, repressed Muslim woman, smothered by her veil and her “backwards” faith.*
(I’ve heard this directed at me so many times, but typing it out always gives me another little twinge of irritation.)
Added on top of this already problematic suggestion is the accompanying text: a big, red “Readstricted,” and the fine print that reads, “Warning: Banning Books Restricts Our Freedom to Read.”
I’m not going to lie: in 2015, coming up on the anniversary of the initial #WeNeedDiverseBooks campaign, from an organization that has a young hijaabi librarian that I personally know as one of its 2015 Emerging Leaders…
I am not amused. I am not amused at all.
Since I know I can get incoherent when on a tear, I’m parsing this down to two main points.
(Honestly, I’m a big fan of three, since three is a magic number and all, but…let’s stick to the basics of this situation and why it’s concerning.)