The Real Housewives of ISIS

On Tuesday night, the show “Revolting” appeared on BBC 2. While, for the most part, this show was an amusing political satire focusing on contemporary politics in the UK, one section of this political sketch show presented four women who had recently traveled to Syria, to become the ‘real housewives of isis’.

Naturally, this has caused a lot of outrage, not least because the BBC is funded by the tax payer and this is what they are choosing to produce.

One woman claims “she copied this” and gestured to her religious clothing. This not only mocks and undermines religious clothing worn, often by choice, by women, it also contributes to the rising fear in society about the fear of the appearance of Muslims. It is needless to say that the ‘suicide bomber vests’, gifted by the husbands, are completely tasteless.

At the beginning of this sketch, one woman declares she has been widowed 6 times. Thousands of (mainly Muslim) women will have been widowed as their husbands, fighting on either side, have been killed in the Syrian civil war. This is not a joke. This is real families being destroyed. This is real people being killed in possibly the most dangerous part of the world right now. How is this acceptable to joke about?

While the new chain given to one women does satirizes the lack of freedom jihadi brides have, this isn’t exemplified throughout the whole segment. One woman, while scrubbing the floor, shouts “I didn’t have to do this in Birmingham”. This not only mocks the women who have been radicalised, and manipulated online to believe that their lives will be better in Syria, it also unrealistically presents these women as outspoken. Once in Syria, women would not have this freedom to complain. Or to voice any of their opinions.

Radicalisation should not be used as a joke. Thousands of (mostly young) women are groomed online every year. Sometimes this can lead to rape and murder once they meet someone in real life and discover they are not who they said they were online. This is not a joke. Nor have i ever seen it joked about. But when exclusively Muslim, normally non white women are groomed online and convinced to travel to Syria, this can be used as a joke. Not only is this racist, but this portrayal of women is sexist and degrading to vulnerable people.

Presenting Muslim women as shallow and stupid, rather than vulnerable and at risk is such a harmful message to spread. I cannot imagine white, British women being subjected to this kind of ridicule within mainstream media.

As a student, i am not a tax payer. But if i was, this type of racist, sexist ‘entertainment’ is not what i want to be paying for.


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