I was looking at Al Arabiya recently, when I came across an article on child prodigy turned sex-worker, Sufiah Yousof.
Now, I am well aware of the fact that prostitution is frowned upon in all major religions, but the wording of this story, and many of the comments following it, struck me as cheap and exploitative. Let’s weep crocodile tears for Sufiah Yousof while enjoying the furtive thrill of seeing a good girl from a Muslim family go bad! What could possibly be wrong with that?
It’s easy to reduce Ms. Yousof to a two-dimensional caricature, but I suspect that her story is as complicated as any story of lived experience. Of course, a nuanced portrayal most likely means that you do not get to make a buck and/or a self-righteous fuss over the matter at hand.
Allowing people to make choices means that, every once in a while, they will do things that go against one’s ideology, perhaps even against one’s spirit. This is why people everywhere (not just in the Muslim world) are so fond of making examples out of women who stray from the fold. Women have long been regarded as property in many societies, and, in many cases, have been taught to regard themselves, their daughters, and sisters as property as well. And who wants “damaged goods”? Right?
In many ways, Sufiah’s story reminds me of the story of Britney Spears, another “good girl” gone “bad.” I am old enough to remember the days when Britney’s much-publicized virginity was the stuff of hotly-traded soundbytes and teasing magazine spreads. We just love to watch those good girls come tumbling off their public pedestals, do we not? Read More