Kuwait, Musings, Writing

Athnain Magazine: A Polished Thought Experiment

Thought Experiments on Gender/Tradition

This is probably one of the most prevalent themes in this issue. I don’t know if they’re planning on keeping it as a staple of the magazine, but I found it interesting and I’m curious about how else they’re going to try to explore gender identity beyond the inverse roles that they very skillfully pulled off this time around. The cover girl, bonafide social media darling and fashion maven blogger Ascia, set a precedent here. Her cover picture, and really her entire photo shoot, is as polarizing as all get-out and I’d venture to say that it was meant to be that way. You’re supposed to either really love it or really hate it–in either case the end goal is to derive a very strong, palpable reaction out of you. It’s supposed to make you think, ‘can a real woman look like this?,’ ‘can a man possibly look like this as well?,’ ‘where is the line between ‘femininity’ and ‘masculinity’ here?,’ and ‘what boundaries are being broken/adhered to?’ I personally loved this push-and-pull that Ascia and the other features like ‘Unisex’d Revolutionaries’ and ‘Boy Wonder’ created and I think that, if anything, it only allows people more avenues to ask questions about who they and others are/can be, why certain traditions exist, and how we can all diversely co-exist with one another.


6 thoughts on “Athnain Magazine: A Polished Thought Experiment

  1. Really enjoyed your honest review of the magazine. I initially had the same feeling about the magazine and was caught up in an imaginary hype. The instagram posts revolving around the launch and cover girl looked so promising. My first thought had slowly faded after being published as not many reviews or mentions of contents were made. It is now clear to me that it holds no proper substance. Like you said, a magazines beef is in the writing. I’m sure the people are lovely and their ideas are new and transending. Looking forward to future issues……..out of curiosity.

    1. First of all: thank you for the comment and SO SORRY it took me this long to reply.

      I really think that Athnain has a lot of things going for it and that, if it just invests more time in written content, it could be a showstopper and a vehicle for real, cultural change. I honestly believe that.

      I also really commend their efforts and their daring attitude towards presenting something so different to the public and something which caters to a different voice and an unheard (but existing) demographic.

      The review was in no way meant to dissuade anyone from buying the magazine or meant to make Athnain seem completely meaningless. Clearly I see room for great potential and the magazine has its good aspects, I just wished that they gave those things value and significance instead of merely glossing over them momentarily.

      Thanks again for the great comment!

  2. Thanks for the great honest review! I also had some doubt about it when I saw nobody talked about it very much after the release of the magazine … U made me interested to see it and see what is so different about it … I like that they are trying to be unique but as u said without enough proper articles n stuff like that a magazine will not have much meaning… Thank u again for the review!! I will maybe buy it but i will keep ur critic in mind

    1. And thank you for the well-thought comment!

      Well, like I said in the comment above, I wasn’t trying to dissuade anyone from buying it. Really, I was just trying to give an overview of the magazine’s strengths and weaknesses because I think that this is a magazine which a lot of people don’t know how to approach because it really is, in many ways, so different from any other magazine in Kuwait’s current market.

      That’s why I thought this whole review of Athnain specifically (as opposed to any other magazine or Kuwait’s general magazine industry) was important.

      I hope you do buy the magazine and come back to tell me what your own personal take-away was!

  3. i brought the magazine and i really see wat ur talkin about …. i also felt like it was bit empty & needed more meaning in the words..

    Ur right the pictures are very nice & beautiful & i feel like they have a strong msg about men & women & different personalities can be both (dont know if that sounded right ;Pp)

    am going to buy the next issue cuz i see potential as u said but if the next one is like the 1st then i will not buy more….

    Thank u for the great post as always !! xx

    1. I see what you’re trying to say, and I agree.

      I personally LOVED the way they tried to re-configure gender dynamics and invert what it means to be either a man or a woman. The reality is that things like ‘masculinity’ and ‘femininity’ are made-up, entirely arbitrary premises which can have no bearing on a person’s actual identity or the way they choose to carry themselves, whether a man or a woman.

      I really loved the fact that they were willing to take that daring step to open up room for those different interpretations of male and female identity and how, really, the only ‘rule’ is there are no rules.

      And, yes, the pictures were very rich and divine.

      I’m going to buy the next issue too, and I’m hoping for the best inshallah. I really hope they do up their writing game for the sake of these other lofty and important aspirations. Because the reality is that without any solid writing base they can’t possibly hope to make any meaningful, lasting impression AND I REALLY REALLY WANT THEM TO.

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