Culture-stealing movie becomes huge letdown

campus editor

Me and my three classmates sat down together at our English seminar when she said it.“Did your brother make you wear that?” said my English partner.I was 12 when I started to seriously think about wearing the hijab. I was 15 when I received that micro aggressive comment.I was 20 when I realized that though my culture and religion take pride in their attire, Hollywood certainly does not.  

I am 20 now. 

This movie follows Paul Atreides and his mother, Jessica, after their escape from the powerful House Harkonnen. Paul and his mother managed to escape but got right into the hands of the Fremen people.  

The Fremen are skeptical and think they are spies but ultimately start to trust him after he passes a series of tests. This included riding a grandfather sandworm and learning their language. Eventually they start believing he is their messiah, or ‘Lisan al-Ghaib,’ the one who will guide them to paradise. This messiah will also save them from House Harkonnen, who have been stealing spice from them for decades and oppressing them in the process. 

“Dune: Part Two” was exceptional. Unlike the first movie there was much more action and much more Zendaya, who played the role of Chani. The first movie felt more like a lukewarm bath before a scalding hot shower.  

Hollywood did it again, they took what society thought was weird and scary looking on people of color and made it seem cool on white people. They took my culture and mocked me for it, they took my mother tongue and mocked me for it too. It felt like I was being mocked for entertainment and it felt degrading. 


From the traditions to the language, everything felt stolen from me and it ruined my entire experience. 

While the Fremen’s language Chakobsa, is made up like many elements of the film, the origins of it are not. Many of Chakbosa’s words are from Arabic, like the word ‘mahdi,’ or messiah and the phrase “Lisan al-Ghaib” which means the voice from the outer world. 


Their attire also closely resembles Bedouin and nomadic-like tradition, one that my parents are both from. Not only that, but the way the Fremen people pray also closely resembles the way Muslim people pray and frankly I did not appreciate it.  


Before the movie came out, I remember seeing Anya Taylor-Joy’s red carpet outfit for the London premiere and I had to squint at it for some time before realizing what was happening, again. She was wearing a long white dress with what looked like a long, see-through scarf covering her head.   


The film had a beautiful storyline, one that makes me want to watch the third one when it comes out. But it would’ve been more beautiful had they not stolen from my culture to create one of their own. 

I wear my scarf every day and struggle with it constantly and the fact that others can be celebrated and praised for wearing it as a part of their costume is humiliating. I get weird stares for just speaking my language sometimes and it makes me feel othered. The film took that aspect and exploited it for a film, it took a culture that was already vulnerable and dismissed it to be just some costume.