Comments for My Muslim Hairdresser

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Produced by Shana Sheehy

Other pieces by Shana Sheehy

Summary: Hairdresser converts to Islam and discusses the dilemma of "covering up her moneymaker."
 

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Review of My Muslim Hairdresser

The piece is really simple – a good interview, well-recorded, introduced and obviously extremely well-edited. This young woman is really eloquent on the matter of wearing the headscarf – which is under hot debate in Europe – as well as hr view of her hairdresser profession. She couldn’t state her case with more directness, dignity and conviction. I was interested in knowing a little more context – how long has she been a Muslim – was it just reading about it that attracted her? But perhaps that doesn’t matter. We need to keep a voice like this one out there.

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Review of My Muslim Hairdresser

This is an interesting idea. It's a self-narrated story about a Muslim convert who cuts hair, but keeps her own hair covered. Self-narrated pieces, by their nature depend entirely on the strength of the subject. In this case, the speaker is not the most compelling. The piece suffers because of that, but it's still a slice of life that's worth hearing. I have a question though: The producer's intro is in the first-person so you are led to believe that this will be about the producer. But then the producer disappears and all you hear is the hairdresser. So why's the producer in there to begin with?

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Review of My Muslim Hairdresser

Women often judge a barber's sense of flair by what her hair looks like. OK, I'm a man and I don't know this for a fact. But this is what Shana Sheehy tells me in her essay "My Muslim Hairdresser" and I believe her. This is also the central premise of Sheehy's tale of Alice, her Alaskan hairdresser who converted to Islam before 9/11. Sheehy begins with a set-up: We hear her voice as she describes making the appointment and being told her regular hairdresser isn't available. Instead, she's been assigned to Alice, a hairdresser she hasn't met. As she waits at the salon, we hear sounds of footsteps and nascent chattering. Sheehy describes her first impression of Alice, including what she's wearing: "She was fully covered in loose fitting black clothes and she wore a pretty hair scarf that covered every strand of her presumably black hair." The rest of the piece is all Alice. We hear about her early curiosity with Islam, her struggles with covering up her "moneymaker" (that is, her hair), her decision to stop cutting men's hair (because she didn't want to shampoo their hair --- a violation of her interpretation of the Qur'an). The piece reaches its climax at just after 5 minutes when Alice says, "There's freedom to be able to wear a scarf ... When you see a Muslim woman, you are see a woman who is wanting you to deal with her mind, not her body." Unfortunately, there's another 40 seconds or so still to come. I would have ended with that quote and forced the listener to consider that truth.

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Review of My Muslim Hairdresser

A beauty shop and a place of worship have a lot in common - usually one comes out of both of these places feeling like a new person. Shana Sheehy introduces listeners to her Muslim hairdresser who tells about her conversion to the Muslim faith, difficulties encountered, and how she handled them. Listeners will hear the sounds of the beauty shop in the background: the snipping of the scissors, the running of the water. They will feel like they are sitting in the chair next to these two women, eavesdropping. I would like to hear it in a newsmagazine setting - morning or afternoon. Interesting take.

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Review of My Muslim Hairdresser

The piece presents a unique example of how adjustments are made by people who convert to another religion. Alice's converting to Islam brought forth a few challenges in her profession, but, in her own words, she tells us how she was able to meet the demands of both.