Challenging patriarchal notions in Palestinian society is not a separate issue from ending Zionist settler-colonialism. In fact, it has been precisely through gender violence that the colonial project has thrived.
By Tamam Mohsen | Mondoweiss | Apr 1, 2022
Putting indigenous Palestinian women at the center of analyzing the Zionist settler-colonial project aims to demonstrate the connections between gender violence and colonization in the life of Palestinian women.
By the time I am writing this piece the long-running debate flooding social media over the film Huda’s Salon has finally just cooled down.
The tense 90-minute thriller from the Palestinian director Hany Abu Asad discusses how the Israeli secret service (Shabak) recruits Palestinian women. It takes place in Bethlehem where Reem (Maisa Abd Elhadi), a Palestinian young woman, is getting her hair done at Huda’s salon (Manal Awad). Reem is then drugged by Huda, who photographs her naked with a man (Samer Bishara) who is not her husband. The images are then used to blackmail Reem and coerce her into collaborating with Shabak.
The film is based on true events. And, it is not an utterly unique story.
The film shines a light on the reality of Palestinian women living under occupation, and the prejudicial patriarchal society that surrounds women’s sexuality and very often brands them with shame. It stirred a necessary conversation on gender issues within Palestinian society, and placed them within a wider context of ongoing Israeli settler-colonialism.