08 May 2018. Dina Tokio is a Youtuber, a phenomenon to tell the truth. Last November she presented a preview of her documentary project #YourAverageMuslim, a four-part series of Creators for Change produced by YouTube.
This documentary is a first example of the significant feminist digital activism undertaken by contemporary Muslim women.
#YourAverageMuslim highlights the lives of three Muslim women in Europe: Dalya Mlouk, Emine and Sofia Buncy.
Dalya Mlouk is the first woman in the world to be hijabi power-lifter, a sport in which every single athlete is engaged in the performance of three exercises: squat, relaxation on a flat bench and deadlifting. It is in the latter that Dalya has broken the world record in his age and weight range.
German hip hop dancer Emine dominates Berlin’s underground hip hop world and is the first hijabi dance teacher in Europe to also own her own dance school.
Sofia Buncy differs from other women in that she does not wear the hijab, but works mainly in a neglected area of social work, caring for the needs of Muslim women in prisons.
The aim of the documentary is not to highlight how exceptional these women are, but rather to normalize the idea that the average Muslim woman can come from different backgrounds and be successful, talented and determined enough to live her life in the way she considers most congenial.
For centuries, Muslim women have been subjected to a gaze that portrays them as exotic, veiled and oppressed victims in various visual and written representations. These depictions have largely shaped the experiences of average Muslim women, who are confronted with stereotypes of the public as victims of their culture and religion.
To combat these stereotypes and highlight new perspectives to a wider audience these women use online platforms to make documentaries such as #YourAverageMuslim and music videos such as Somewhere in America #Mipsterz, both of which received millions of online views.
The fate of women’s conditions remains linked to the political situation in the Islamic countries in which they live. Islam is shaped on the skin of the sensitivity and national character of the peoples who adhere to it; today there are a billion and a half in the world: from the Balkans to Indonesia, from Morocco to Saudi Arabia.
For this reason it is difficult to affirm and generalize that “all Muslim women live in a subordinate condition”, as the vulgate journalism of yesterday and today would like. A girl from Sarajevo has a different history and civil rights than a young woman from Istanbul or Riyadh. Affirming female subordination would also come up against another reality: some countries with an Islamic majority have had women heads of state and government, very important political phenomena: Benazir Bhutto in Pakistan, Mame Boye Madior in Senegal, Tansu Ciller in Turkey, Kaqusha Jashari in Kosovo, Megawati Sukarnoputri in Indonesia, Khaleda Zia and Sheikh Hasina in Bangladesh.
The processes of female emancipation pass from new cultural models that social amplify: they provide a voice for women through tools that allow them to express their opinions directly and quickly.
The consequences of this for the full autonomy of these women are open to debate.