New Criticals

Ibrahim Abraham's comparison of the veil and the "closet" lends further theoretical gravity to Princess Hijab's queering graffiti tactics. Like Princess Hijab's critique of consumption and commodification, Abraham draws a similar connection between the veil and capitalist spaces, but through the lens of performance studies in his discussion of policing of both Arab bodies and homosexual desire within mainstream (read: heteronormative, Christian) Western society. Abraham argues, "Whilst the regime of the 'closet' or the veil is predicated on the literal denial of their victims' public presence, capitalist spatial logic is predicated on the ubiquity of the sexualized female form, but arguably to an identical political end—the silencing, subordination and fetishistic reduction of women to the level of signification" [3]. In other words, a shared type of silencing occurs through the fetishization of stylized containment; whether by architectural design or the clothing of the body, it is important to note that within the literature, this body is marked as female.

In Princess Hijab's application of the hijab to the male body, however, a new set of fetishistic politics not only makes visible the queer global citizen (otherwise obscured in advertisements), but also undoes binaries of coming and going, covered and bared, to make way for a more ambivalent position of waiting or being dressed. Like Abraham who concludes, provcatively, that "the threat of the queer space exists alongside the threat to queer space from the forces of homophobic repression," the same holds true for the tensions made tangible by Princess Hijab's graffiti tags [4].

Interestingly, Myhre and Rosso make note in their study, that the Météor line's use of architectural discipline, implemented via specific aesthetic details aimed to "induce guilt or shame" as its own form of crime prevention [5]. The incorporation of public shaming into the very architectural design of the Paris metro further complicates the gesture made by Princess Hijab's "hijabizing" act in this space. In addition, the confusion of signs, suggested not only by the hijab, but the inclusion of the "pirate eye patch" in the Dolce & Gabana ad, reiterates how multiple layers of camp and critique embedded within such re-marking of public social space create different social experiences, depending on the viewers' literacy. In short, this type of graffiti cultivates viewership attuned to the veil and its capacity for generating a queering optic, but only if commuters endeavor to look through the jarring images to consider how the tags redress not only bodies but the marking of social spaces.