Press "Enter" to skip to content

Deconstructing Jasmine

I’m a genie in a bottle, quite the 

Orientalist dream; 

“Yes sir, no sir”—did someone say

Belly dancer?

Thick lips, full hips

Husky voice, high pitch

Black hair that curves and curls and does

Not frizz or grease like hair always does

Low bodices and golden skin

An hourglass—perfected 

Sublimely submissive yet defensive on command; a woman tamed and molded 

Into having 

Calculated animosity and predictable ferocity 

To render the feel 

Of something wild 

Without allowing

The uncontrollable fire and tempest to spit and spout from her perfectly plump mouth, crafted for nothing save for sweet nothings, meant for something akin to people pleasing—white




And now you say you’ve been cultured, blending different tongues to make yourself feel ethnic—as if there is

No difference

Between Urdu and 


And now that you’ve been intrigued 

And entertained by the fullness of her hips and

The sedated intensity of her gaze—perhaps you’ll think before you resign your eyes to what your ignorance and stupidity choose to


Middle eastern queens

And South Asian beauties

Are not homogenous, despite each being


Desi and Arab women

Are not pets to be paraded like jewels or meant to be prisoned like animals in captivity;

We are not genies in your bottles to commemorate your manifest destinies or

American dreams; we are not necklaces to adorn your wanderlust 

Or fountains to quench your fetishes 

For cultural identities. 

—Jasmine isn’t really real.

Maaheen Shaikh ’25

Be First to Comment

Leave a Reply