‘We Are Lady Parts’ showrunner Nida Manzoor on combating ‘one-dimensional’ stereotypes of Muslim women [Exclusive Video Interview]

“I was sort of feeling a frustration that there was really this one-dimensional representation,” remembers Nida Manzoor about being asked to write “heavy-hitting dramas” and “very dark stories about Muslim women” even though “all my specs are comedy scripts.” She took a step back and “thought about, if I could make my dream show and I had to talk about this aspect of being a Muslim woman, what would it be?” That turned out to be Peacock’s “We Are Lady Parts.” We talked to Manzoor as part of our “Meet the Experts” TV showrunners panel. Watch our exclusive video interview above.

“We Are Lady Parts” centers on Amina (Anjana Vasan), a socially anxious PhD student whose real passion is playing the guitar but whose greatest fear is playing it in public. She is reluctantly recruited by Lady Parts, an all-female, all-Muslim punk band in need of a lead guitarist. Punk music is “not usually the kind of thing you would expect Muslim women to be passionate about, but actually so many of my friends, we were all into it,” Manzoor explains. “Really there’s so many people who kind of love that music from all kinds of backgrounds,” which “allowed me to show the complexity of identity.”

Just as Manzoor intended, it’s a far cry from the “serious, long-suffering, one-dimensional wives of terrorists” that comprise Muslim women’s experiences in too many media portrayals. “To be able to use punk as a kind of conduit to explore the silliness of these women, their nuances, the anger, the rage, the joy — it kind of felt like the perfect vehicle.”

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