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'Hala' gets a lot wrong about growing up Muslim in America

Disclaimer: I don't speak for all Muslim-Americans, but I can say that at least a good amount of us are tired of seeing the stereotypical Muslim girl portrayed over and over again.

And that's exactly what "Hala" does. 

Minhal Baig's new film (in theaters Friday in New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Columbus, Ohio, and Louisville, Kentucky; streaming Dec. 6 on Apple TV+) focuses on a first-generation, 17-year-old Pakistani-American girl of the same name (played by Geraldine Viswanathan) whose conservative parents expect her to marry a nice Muslim boy. Her parents had an arranged marriage, don't want her hanging out with boys because reputation, her mom practically forces her to pray, but Hala is a "rebel." She falls for the white boy in her class, goes out at all hours of the night with him and eats non-halal meat (halal meat is prepared according to Islamic law, kind of like kosher). 

Surprise.

Geraldine Viswanathan stars as

While "Hala" does get certain aspects of the Muslim-American experience correct, it isn't representative of all Muslim women and it alsoplays into a harmful stereotype of Muslim women. 

When it comes to hijabs and foregoing cute sleeveless tops because your mom doesn't approve, "Hala" got it wrong.

While some Muslim women do dress modestly and wear hijabs, that's not the case for all of us, and quite frankly it's a little exhausting to see Muslim women constantly portrayed that way.


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