Our favorite empowered harem, enjoying some well-deserved luxury to offset their difficult lives as American women living in Manhattan.

We have all no doubt heard about the recent “Sex and the City” sequel – some of us more than others. For those who play ball in the court of Near Eastern cultures, this was all the rage when it came out. Contradictory and insulting, it was far too guilty to be any sort of pleasure. For those who just liked movies, it was simply bad: a flat, predictable and even offensive vision of high materialism that doesn’t fit well with the current American reality, “the new normal” as it has been called.

So here’s another review, this time from the Hofstra Middle Eastern Studies Department’s official blog Tabsir, a good source for scholarly comment on current events.

I myself never saw the movie – I have avoided it like the plague. This is a little hypocritical, but it seemed safe to say (and read) that there was something to avoid there. What really struck me though was just how unaware the movie seems to have been about “modernity” or what life is like in the Gulf. In true “Orientalist” form, the movie took interest only in that which was different, honing in on the “traditional” elements of Emirati life – the niqaab, the souq, etc. It doesn’t touch the fact that, of all the Arab world, the Gulf (and the Emirates for sure) are probably the closest thing to “Sex and the City”‘s free-spending ignorance of the real world.

Like SATC’s main characters, women in the Gulf never seem to work (and likely never do). The Emirates is one of the most materialistic spots on the planet now, which is curiously absent from all the chatter about the movie. The comparison however is quite warranted, and could have definitely used some screen-time.

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