Halal Bodies

Do Muslim American parents have a sex talk with their kids? And if they don’t, how do young Muslims learn about sex, navigating relationships, intimacy, and their own sexual identities?

Funding Initiative
Short-Form Open Call
Headshot of Nausheen Dadabhoy

Nausheen Dadabhoy

Nausheen Dadabhoy, is a director and cinematographer whose work spans fiction and documentary. As a DP she has lensed an Oscar-nominated film and an Emmy-winning documentary. Her films have screened at  Sundance, TIFF, Tribeca, and have appeared on Al Jazeera, HBO and PBS. Her directorial debut The Ground Beneath Their Feet premiered at IDFA. She is Show more currently directing her second feature, An Act of Worship.
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The Film

For many young people, chatting with friends or siblings about crushes and first kisses is a common rite of passage while growing up, and hearing the sex talk from parents or older figures promotes a better understanding of relationships and sexual health. For some young Muslims, such conversations in the home are unheard of. Any discussion of sex is treated as a taboo subject or associated with negativity and shame, which leaves many Muslim kids without the foundation to understand relationships, intimacy, or even their own bodies. Through religious or cultural frameworks, this avoidance of sexual education and understanding has been perpetuated across generations, which has also left some parents unequipped to broach the subject.

Halal Bodies is a short, hybrid documentary that explores the impact that this kind of upbringing has had on Muslim Americans, how religion shaped their ideas of sex as well as their perceptions of their own bodies, how it has affected their romantic and familial relationships, and most importantly, their interaction with their faith.