Non Muslim Porn Star Mia Khalifa and Sexual Fetish of Hijab

Non Muslim Porn Star Mia Khalifa and Sexual Fetish of Hijab

Mia Khalifa is on the tip of the tongue in today’s porn industry. Her quick fame has ignited heated controversy. A Lebanese born and raised and in your face about it, Mia has assumed the role of Middle Eastern representative in the porn world. She dethroned Lisa Ann as Pornhub queen pretty quickly. Is it because she is… exotic, perhaps? Is it because seeing a woman in hijab give a blowjob is just so new and exciting?

The fact that Mia is Lebanese and, contrary to popular belief, a non Muslim porn star is not what interests me, but rather the political implications behind her fame. ‘How can porn be political?’ one might ask. For starters, if someone’s fame lies heavily on that person’s race, one comes to think there is something fetishized going on here. Not only is Mia a brown woman doing porn, but also she is a brown woman who has starred in her porn videos wearing hijab. You can hardly find the name Mia Khalifa without the word ‘Lebanese’ in the same sentence. One of the most popular videos on Pornhub is Mia performing sexual acts wearing nothing but a scarf on her head. This is where things get sticky.

Most of the articles out there about Mia Khalifa right now talk about the backlash she has received from her fellow Lebanese and other outraged Arabs and Muslims. Nothing surprising there. The cultural taboos around female sexuality run deep. This accounts for much of the criticism Mia gets from Middle Easterners; such taboos are generally seen in most patriarchal cultures, which is the dominant framework globally. The detail that makes Mia’s case so special is the fact that she is from the Middle East specifically — a region that has, in recent history, been ravaged by American wars, vilified in media depictions, and targeted by Western Islamophobia

The abundant eroticism from which Mia profits comes from the idea of “conquering” the mysterious, strange, different, exotic brown woman. Accessing these brown women is the dominant white man’s fantasy and ultimate exertion of power. This kind of exoticization has been happening since early colonizing missions in “the Orient.” Images of harems come to mind. Tents full of veiled brown women, waiting to be ravished. Oppressed and in need of saving. Cue the white man. The hero of every story. The conqueror.

Some may say, well, porn is meant to eroticize. You have the typical hot teacher, hot stepmom, hot secretary, hot nurse, etc. Why not hot hijabi?

Because the story of hot teacher does not come from a history of oppression. Let us use the beacon example of American oppression – slavery – to elucidate this point. Remember how black men were lynched for merely looking at a white woman the “wrong way”? Meanwhile, white men were entitled to the bodies of their black female slaves. This illustrates a clear insight into the power structure at play. Accessing the women of a colonized people is not only a subjugation of those women, but also an indirect attack on the colonized men. A method of demoralization.

The video of Mia in hijab is clearly not an accurate depiction of Muslim sex. I don’t think women who wear hijab typically keep the headscarf on during sexual acts. The scarf on the head of a naked body serves one purpose here: to be merely a tool used to explicate the Muslim-ness of the woman in the video. It is not “Muslim porn” as it has been described by some porn-watchers. It is not catered to Muslims. It is a white fantasy in which the agency of brown people is taken away. The brown woman has no voice or real identity, she just symbolizes something ‘Other’ to be conquered. The brown man must accept the white man taking the Muslim woman for himself – the ‘Other’ man watches powerlessly.

Never does a fellow brown man, or seemingly Muslim man, engage with the woman in hijab. This erotic fantasy can only exist when it is the white man conquering the brown woman. Mia, with her bare Arabic tattoos and hijab acts, is an extension of living, breathing orientalism — its oppressive message existing even in the realm of power and dominance in the porn industry.

Photo from @miakhalifa1/Instagram

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Non Muslim Porn Star Mia Khalifa and Sexual Fetish of Hijab
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