By Aaliyah Gohir
Channel 4's new series, ‘We Are Lady Parts’, is a British sitcom that follows an all-female punk band as they seek musical success. This long overdue comedy explores the intertwining themes of friendships, relationships, different Muslim identities and cultural difference as the group of women all love each other despite their differences. The writer, director and executive producer, Nida Manzoor, successfully conveys that “there’s no one cookie-cutter way of being a Muslim woman” in which many have praised the show for its diversity, realism and relatability. The following and more in-depth reviews below will give you a better idea of whether this show lives up to its hype and is worth the watch!
Fabulous Rebel Girls
Representation matters. It was a joy seeing Muslim women doing something fun and being in a feminist punk band rather than the usual stereotypes of being subjected to honour-based abuse, forced into marriages, being oppressed or portrayed as extremists. I loved the diversity in the lifestyles of these fabulous rebel girls, united by their faith and music.
I found the ‘over the top’ dream sequences enjoyable – we all daydream, don’t we? I can relate to a bit of escapism. The tunes were catchy and fun with laugh out loud lyrics. I would go to their concert and jump around and sing …. well shout out their songs, especially “Ain’t no one gonna honour kill my sister but me.” In fact, I also want to go on a road trip with my friends, sing with them and may be scream in a field too! There is a lot of scope to develop the characters further in future episodes – but my favourite was Saira. ‘We Are Lady Parts’ also paves the way on how Muslim women and girls are represented in future TV shows and film – I hope there is a second series!
A Fresh Take on Muslim Women’s Lives
I loved ‘We are Lady Parts’ for so many reasons. First, it’s an absolutely fresh take on Muslim women’s lives in the West. For once, Muslim women are shown expressing the full range of personalities and emotions that make up all humanity. It completely and mercilessly knocks down all the tired stereotypes- “weird pious woman”, “pitiful oppressed woman”, “poor caught-between-cultures woman”- that western mainstream media parade to appease a mainly white public and that we are (bored) sick of having thrust on us. ‘We Are Lady Parts’ also shows that Muslims are socially a heterogeneous bunch of people who occupy different class positions, have different ethnic backgrounds and (shock horror) different sexualities! They can be Muslim and a whole lot of other things!
Second, I love ‘We Are Lady Parts’ because it’s angry and defiant in a good way; in a way that brings people together and heals, and we need that in this pathetic island of Britain where bad and bitter anger has taken us to Brexit, petty nationalism and little Englanders.
Finally, I loved ‘We Are Lady Parts’ because it’s funny and had me in stitches. I loved the total insaneness of “Voldemort’s alive and he’s under my headscarf”, I loved the way Ayesha irreverently belts out “Ain’t no one gonna honour kill my sister but me” - I loved, I loved, I loved it all! It made me want to join a girl band! I’m a proper oldie now but I haven’t felt like that since I was a teenager!
What we all REALLY think and WANT but won’t, don’t or can’t!
Love it! Love it! Love IT!! Finally got round to watch the first episode of We Are Lady Parts! Wow! OMG! Love that it’s controversial. The eyebrow raising and the ‘Omg’ moments are great! I’m not used to seeing female Muslims on TV let alone this, I guess we have the diversity team to thank for bringing this to our screens. My favourite scene is the Rishta scene with Amina, as someone who has been through various versions of this during my search for a perfect eligible bachelor who is a Muslim - someone who is liberal but not too liberal, feminist but not too feminist!The oversharing, with mix of sarcasm and awkwardness is right up my street.
We Are Lady Parts is all about what we all REALLY think and WANT but won’t, don’t or can’t! From period talk and feminism, to working in a butcher’s shop or as an Uber driver! Yes, you heard that right!! I think I need a career change…!!! Finally, women are being portrayed in ‘diverse’ roles other than being a housewife, daughter in law, mother, sister, daughter - you get the picture! I now aspire to be an Uber driver!
It’s brilliantly written and challenges our perceptions of Muslim women and of course taking the piss (and why not!). Its daring, it’s extreme (I can safely use this term without it meaning terrorist!) and it’s exaggerated. I love the fact it’s fresh and tackles issues that are current and relevant.
We Are Lady Parts is an entertaining new show for all Muslim women. It showcases real diversity and authentic storylines. It’s great to finally see ourselves represented accurately in TV/media, particularly when it comes to the 'hijabi' characters. Typically, in TV shows/movies, a 'hijabi' would be portrayed as either a devout Muslim girl living in an almost prison-like home, or an innocent girl who needs a White saviour to help her escape the confines of Islam. But this show demonstrates real-life! It is clear that the writers are familiar with, or themselves are, Muslim women as the narratives that the characters follow are hilariously accurate. I love the way the main characters are written, they all have their own unique, authentic personalities and story lines, demonstrating that we are not all the same.
I also enjoyed the varying levels of religiosity displayed by the characters, although at times it came across as almost cringe, but overall it works because it reflects real life and that’s what we desperately need right now. We can see this in the way that the characters are dressed, for example there are those who wear the hijab, a niqab and those who do not. I hope this show continues with a second season, or a spin-off, or perhaps inspires more Muslim women to get into script writing!
A Bit of Escapism
We Are Lady Parts; an all Muslim, all female punk band looking for a lead guitarist? I mean that would never happen right? So, I strolled into this imaginary world for a bit of escapism. I found the band-member characters were trying too hard - did they need to be so over dramatic to be noticed?? Just act normal dammit and convince me you're real.
I was really struggling to connect and after episode 2, I was giving up... but the lead character, Amina, was really pulling me back in - a shy Muslim single woman looking for love who ends up auditioning for the guitarist role even though she didn't want it. She was so convincing, funny and likeable. Her battle with stage fright was real, as well as wet and smelly!! It was great to see her fight her demons with the help of the other band members who didn't quite gel with her at first.
So I'm hooked in, wanting to see what happens next as the band look for success and recognition, and maybe Amina will find love eventually. The tunes are pretty good too. Give it a try, you might fall into it like me!
So, is it worth the hype?
It is clear that many seem to love this show - it’s funny and relatable; Nida herself admits that the show is somewhat autobiographical in which her own experiences are reflected in the characters - experiences I’m sure we all connect with, which is why the show is so popular! Props to Nida for creating this show - from screenwriting it to even making all the show’s music with her siblings - it’s great to see another Muslim female writer and director pave the way for more BAME talent in the film and TV industry! If you’d like to read about more Muslim female film and TV directors - check out this blog!
Other than that… what are you waiting for?! Go and watch ‘We Are Lady Parts’ on Channel 4 catch up TV as it definitely appears to be worth the hype!
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