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Postfeminist ‘Islamophobia’: The Middle East is so 1980s in Sex and the City: The Movie 2

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This article analyses how Sex and the City: The Movie 2 (King, 2010) represents a binary between style that is coded as ‘vintage’ and, therefore, desirable, and style that is depicted as ‘dated’ and identified as bad taste. Although this has been a dominant motif in both the Sex and the City series and first film (King, 2008), Sex and the City: The Movie 2 maps this distinction onto a West/Middle East binary. While everything Western (or, more precisely, everything NYC) is represented as stylish, the Middle East (and here it is Abu Dhabi that stands in for the Middle East) is depicted as dated and, the film suggests, trapped in the decade of the 1980s. Sex and the City: The Movie 2 develops many of the prejudices found in contemporary Western representations of the Middle East but articulates these through the motifs of fashion, consumerism and female sexuality. The article proposes that what is most offensive about Sex and the City: The Movie 2 is that it conflates all the social, cultural, political and, most importantly, religious differences that exist between secular New York and Muslim Abu Dhabi and reduces all of these issues to a simple question of style and knowing consumerism.
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Keywords: Middle East; Muslim women; Sex and the City; dated; postfeminism; vintage

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: University of Sussex

Publication date: December 1, 2016

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  • Film, Fashion & Consumption is a peer-reviewed journal designed to provide an arena for the discussion of research, methods and practice within and between the fields of film, fashion, design, history, art history and heritage. The journal seeks to stimulate ongoing research on these topics and to attract contributions not only from scholars researching in these areas but also from practitioners, who are traditionally excluded from academic debate. The journal thus aims to unite and enlarge a community of researchers and practitioners in film, fashion, consumption and related fields, whilst also introducing a wider audience to new work, particularly to interdisciplinary research which looks at the intersections between film, fashion and consumption.
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