This might not come as a shock to you, but throughout history, men have always had a twisted and tainted view of women, as a tool that has for sole purpose to fulfill their fantasies. Viewing this phenomenon through the lens of colonialism, the objectification of women is increased tenfold. In North Africa, French colonizers saw the Algerian woman as this perfect woman, trapped in a cage by the big bad Algerian that forced her to cover up and to act accordingly. And then comes the white knight who swoops in and saves her from her prison of modesty to offer her the newfound freedom, the freedom to offer herself to the white man, in gratitude. This is the ultimate colonial fantasy.
In his book The Colonial Harem, Malek Alloula, an Algerian author, analyses colonial postcards of Algerian women in order to denounce the crimes committed by France in Algeria. These postcards depict many victims that were required to pose naked, for the pleasure of the colonizer.
This fantasy of Oriental women just waiting to be freed by the white man has existed for centuries and continues to be perpetuated to this day. How many times have Muslim women been told they would be much prettier without their veils, that they do not know what is good for them? How many times have they been forced to take them off, forced into “freedom” as they like to call it? “Here, let me help you. You poor little thing, incapable of making your own decisions… Let me make them for you. Only I know what’s good for you.”
Oriental women do not need to be saved by the white men that destroyed our countries and robbed us of our cultures. We do not need to be saved by any man, for that matter. It’s about time you rid yourselves of this white saviour complex and realize the only person that we needed safety from was you.
By Meriem Terzi