Image via New York Times

Muslim Teens Aren’t a Spectacle for Your Creepy Photo Series

Picture this: an adult woman drives to a secluded area late at night. She parks her car, grabs her camera and waits. She waits until a young couple, under the assumption that they are alone, walks into the secluded area and engages in some intimate activity. While this private moment is happening the woman in the car begins to snap photos of the couple. Those photos then end up plastered across the internet as part of an exhibition.

Sounds a little off doesn’t it?

Lina Hashim is a Danish-Iraqi visual artist sitting in her car and taking pictures of Muslim teens meeting at secret hook up locations. Hashim, who was raised in a Muslim household, is trying to shed light on the world of secret meet ups between Muslims who are often restricted from any kind of sexual contact before marriage. Hashim says she’s taking these photos to further explore her suppressed feelings about how things are run in Islam.

There is nothing profound about this artistic endeavor. Moreover, there is nothing artistic about this artistic endeavor.

The secret and intimate lives of young people are not the business of some confused apologist trying to work through her issues. If Lina Hashim needs to hammer out the details of her childhood and how her parents scarred her then she might want to consider therapy.

Taking these kinds of photos is no different than the hackers who released nude photos of Jennifer Lawrence. Hashim is turning something that EVERYONE has done into something that is now exotic and specific to “sexually oppressed” Muslim youth. She’s trying to fetishize being a teenager.

Yes, young people meet up to kiss and touch each other. This is not brand new information. This is not something that only happens amongst Muslims. Have you ever met a Christian kid? Or an Orthodox Jewish kid? Or a Mormon kid? Nearly every religion under the sun has some sort of code of conduct when it comes to premarital relations, that’s just the nature of the beast.

What’s the value in putting a glaring spotlight on Muslims who are just looking to be alone with their crush for a few minutes? It’s almost as if the idea of leaving people alone to do their business is just completely dead.

Sharing these pictures, exploring these ideas, and talking about sexuality in the public forum will not change the tenets of Islam. These photos will not make it easier for parents to talk about these things with their children. It’ll just make things harder because now all the parents are holding  a magnifying glass up to these low quality photos trying to identify their children. Lina Hashim is breaking the circle of trust. She’s now created this vicious cycle of suspicion between parents and children which is the reason secret hook up spots became a thing in the first place!

No one wants to make out in their parents house much less tell their parents that they’ve got someone with whom they make out. It’s awkward. One of the most significant parts of your teenage years is sexual exploration  and the confusion that it brings. All of that is a precious individualized experience that doesn’t need to be captured in a photograph like every other single human experience.

Hook up spots, hook up culture is about silence; not about profit.