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Will Muslim Girl Power Win 'The Glee Project'?
by Cinnamon Stillwell
Capitalizing on the success of "Glee," the Oxygen Channel has come up with "The Glee Project," a reality TV talent competition in which contestants vie for a coveted spot on the show's namesake. Currently about to conclude its second season, "The Glee Project"—in keeping with the high school-era outcasts that inhabit "Glee"—put out a call for the awkward, the overweight, the disabled, the curiously little, the racially ambiguous, the sexually confused, the openly gay, the transitioning transgenders, and, of course, some plain old cute guys, no doubt to corner the teenage girl market.
Notable among this season's contestants is 19-year-old Aylin (pronounced "Eileen") Bayramoglu from Chicago. She's a confident, vibrant, flirtatious young woman with what I consider to be the contest's best voice. She also happens to be a Muslim. She describes her background as "Turkish Muslim" and yet shows no inclination to inhabit the traditional female role associated with her culture. She doesn't wear a head scarf, she's sassy, outgoing, and judging by her familiarity with the Top 40 songs assigned to her by the judges, thoroughly steeped in pop culture. In other words, she's just like any other young American woman.
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