القائمة النسوية لعام ٢٠١٦: معرض الرياض الدولي للكتاب

القائمة النسوية لعام ٢٠١٦: معرض الرياض الدولي للكتاب

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:ملاحظات
١- هدف هذه القائمة أن تكون دليلا للمهتمات والمهتمين باقتناء الكتابات (فلسفية، اجتماعية، تاريخية، إسلامية…إلخ) المتعلقة بالنسوية والمنتمية لكافة التوجهات.
٢- وجود عنوان في القائمة، لا يعني بالضرورة الاتفاق مع محتواه.
٣- القائمة تشمل ما هو متوفر في معرض الرياض الدولي للكتاب لعام ٢٠١٦م، أي أن هناك العديد من الكتب المهمّة في هذا المجال لم يتم إدراجها لعدم توفرها.

 :(النسوية والأكاديميا (العلوم الإجتماعية والإنسانيات ❖
[G52] النظرية النسوية: مقتطفات مختارة”، ويندي كيه كولمار“
[C38] المرأة في خطاب العلوم الإجتماعية: من متغير الجنس إلى سؤال النوع”، فوزي بوخريص“
[D2-4] علم إجتماع الجندر”، معن خليل العمر“
[D2-4] الجندر: الأبعاد الإجتماعية والثقافية”، عصمت محمد حوسو“

 :(النسوية والفلسفة (الكلاسيكية والحديث ❖
[F37] (الفلسفة والنسوية”، إشراف وتحرير: علي عبود المحمداوي (جيد ومتنوع“
[G35] “أفلاطون: السياسة، المعرفة، المرأة”، خديجة زتيلي“
[F36] “جون لوك والمرأة”، إمام عبدالفتاح إمام“
[F36] “روسو والمرأة” ، إمام عبدالفتاح إمام“
[F36] “كانط والمرأة”، إمام عبدالفتاح إمام“
[F36] النساء في الفكر السياسي الغربي، سوزان موللر اوكين“

: النسوية السعودية ❖
النساء والفضاءات العامة في السعودية”، أميلي لورونار“
[E35 + E37] “السادس من نوفمبر .. المرأة وقيادة السيارة ١٩٩٠م” ، عائشة المانع وحصة آل الشيخ“
[F40-42] “المرأة السعودية في الإعلام: دراسة حول التجارب والدور والتأثير”، مها مصطفى عقيل“
[K270] “المؤثرات الثقافية على المرأة السعودية المعاصرة”، فايزة المالكي“
[D12] “المرأة السعودية العاملة بين مسؤولياتها المجتمعية ومسؤولية الدولة تجاهها”، حكمت العرابي“

 :(النسوية العربية (نظرياً ❖
[K126-136] القومية والنسوية” (فصل في كتاب “في معنى العروبة”)، نورة الدعيجي“
[C14-16] المرأة والجنسانية في المجتمعات الإسلامية”، بينار ايكلياركان“
[E17] المرأة العربية والمجتمع في قرن: تحليل وببلوغرافيا للخطاب العربي حول المرأة في القرن العشرين”، إشراف وتقديم منى أبو الفضل“
[H2-3] “النص المؤنث وحالات الساردة: دراسة تحليلية لخطاب المرأة في الرواية العربية”، فاطمة يوسف العلي“

 :(النسوية والتاريخ (العربي والإسلامي ❖
[E35-37] النساء في التراجم الإسلامية”، روث رودد، ترجمة عبدالله العسكر“
[E35-37] وقف المرأة في عالم الإسلام: مقاربة جديدة لمكانة المرأة في المجتمع”، محمد م. الأرناؤوط“
[F40-42] إسهام المرأة الأندلسية في النشاط العلمي في الأندلس”، سهى بعيون“
[D61] المرأة المصرية في عهد محمد علي”، صوفيا لين بول، ترجمة: عزة كرارة“
[D52-54] أوقاف النساء في مكة المكرمة في العصر العثماني ودور المرأة فيها”، أميرة علي مداح“
[K270] أوقاف النساء في بلاد الشام وأثرها في الحياة العامة خلال العصر المملوكي”، شيخة الدوسري“
[C22] تاريخ الحركة الوطنية الفلسطينية ودور المرأة فيها”، نبيل علقم“
[E69-72] المرأة الفلسطينية و٦٠ عاماً بين مرارة اللجوء وحلم العودة”، بثينة يوسف الداغستاني“
[D51-53] جرائم فرنسا في الجزائر وجهاد المرأة الريفية”، عائشة ليتيم“

:النسوية والإستشراق ❖
[C14-16] النساء في لوحات المستشرقين”، لين ثورنتون“
[C26] المرأة العثمانية بين الحقائق والأكاذيب”، أصلي سنجر، ترجمة سمير زهران“
تاء التأريخ الساكنة”، دلال باجس“

: النسوية والإسلام ❖
[E35-37] نساء حول النبي صلى الله عليه وسلم: دراسة للعلاقة بين النبي ونساء مجتمع المدينة”، دار جداول، محمد بن فارس الجميل“

 :النسوية الإسلامية ❖
[F11-12] الفقهاء والدهماء والنساء: في نقد التشدد” ، خالد السعيد“
[C59] النساء الإسلاميات في العالم العربي من ردة فعل إلى واقع جديد”، دلال باجس“
[K270] مفهوم النسوية: دراسة نقدية في ضوء الإسلام”، أمل بنت ناصر الخريف“
[K270] مفهوم الجندر وآثاره على المجتمعات الإسلامية: دراسة نقدية تحليلية في ضوء الثقافة الإسلامية”، أمل الرحيلي“
[K270] النسوية: في ضوء منهج النقد الإسلامي”، وضحى القحطاني“
[A50] إشكالية المصطلح النسوي: مصطلح المساواة، الحجاب، التمكين، أنموذجاً”، خالد السيف“
[K270] أوراق عمل الملتقي الثاني: المرأة السعودية مالها وماعليها والمرأة العاملج حقوق وواجبات”، مركز باحثات (وجهة نظر نسوية إسلامية سعودية)
[A54 + K270] التمكين الإجتماعي والإقتصادي للمرأة السعودية: ودورها في التنمية من منظور التربية الإسلامية”، ريم الباني (وجهة نظر نسوية إسلامية سعودية)
[K270] تعزيز الهوية الأنثوية في مواجهة ظاهرة البويات: قصص واقعية وتجارب وحلول وحقائق علمية”، مجموعة من الباحثات (وجهة  نظر نسوية إسلامية سعودية)
[K270] “الحريم العلماني الليبرالي”، ملاك إبراهيم الجهني“

 :النسوية العالمية ❖
[E56] (المرأة في المؤتمرات الإسلامية والدولية”، ليلى حسن القرشي (وجهة نظر تحليلية“
[E17] (المرأة والجندر: حوارات لقرن جديد”، شيرين شكري وأميمة أبو بكر (وجهة نظر حديثة/ليبرالية، حوارات لعام المرأة بدمشق ٢٠٠٢
[C19] (حقوق المرأة بين المواثيق الدولية وأصالة التشريع الإسلامي”، منال محمود المشني (وجهة نظر قانونية إسلامية سعودية“
[A54 + K270] المرأة وذرائع الإسترقاق في السياسات الغربية: تحليل خطاب الإستشراق الجديد في تقارير مؤسسة راند الأمريكية”، عبدالله بن محمد المديفر (وجهة نظر إسلامية سعودية
[A54 + K270] (الفلسفة السيداوية والنسوية السعودية”، فهد بن محمد الغفيلي (وجهة نظر إسلامية سعودية“

  :النسوية ودراسات الحرب ❖
[C22] النزاعات المسلحة وأمن المرأة”، علي الجرباوي وعاصم خليل“
[E61] حماية المرأة أثناء النزاعات المسلحة: في ضوء أحكام القانون الدولي العام – دراسة مقارنة”، بفرين عبدالصمد صالح“
[C60] حماية النساء في المنازعات المسلحة”، خليل إبراهيم محمد“

:النسوية والأدب العربي ❖
[F25-27] (السرد النسوي”، عبدالله إبراهيم (تحليل نظري“
[G20] قراءات في المنظور السردي النسوي”، حسين المناصرة“
[B56] أدب المرأة في الجزيرة والخليج العربي” (الجزء الأول – السعودية، البحرين، قطر، الإمارات)، ليلى محمود صالح“
[B56] أدب المرأة في الجزيرة والخليج العربي” (الجزء الثاني – اليمن وعمان)، ليلى محمود صالح“
[D64] المرأة في الجزيرة العربية فى القرن الاول الهجرى : دراسة ادبية”، مصطفى جياووك“
[G50] صورة المرأة بين السياب وأدونيس”، أثير محسن الهاشمي“
نظرية الأدب النسوي”، ماري إيجلتون، ترجمة: عدنان حسن ورنا بشور (تحليل نسوي للأدب الغربي)، دار الحوار“

:النسوية واللغة العربية ❖
[G50] خطاب المرأة في المعجم العربي مقاربة سوسيولغوية”، سهى فتحي نعجة“

:النسوية والفن العالمي ❖
أقنعة جنسية: الفن والإنحطاط من نفرتيتي إلى إميلي ديكنسون”، كاميلي ياليا (من المهم الإشارة إلى أن نقدها للنسوية في هذا الكتاب هو نقد“ [F36] (للنسوية الليبرالية/الغربية/المسيحية/الكلاسيكية تحديداً وليس النسوية ككل

:كتب نسوية تقرأها لكي لاتقع بأخطاءها ❖
(النسوية المعاصرة: خطايا تحرير المرأة”، كارل إل لوكاس (ليس عمل أكاديمي والكاتبة سيئة ولاأعلم لماذا ترجم“
(المرأة العربية وذكورية الأصالة”، مي غصوب (تمارس استشراق ذاتي بشكل ملحوظ“
المرأة والسياسة في الإسلام مع دراسة نوذجين من العصر العباسي:الخيزران أم الرشيد وزبيدة زوجته”، نابيا أبوت (هدف الكاتبة جيد، لكن )تطبيقها سيء وإستشراقي
(الأنوثة الإسلامية: العالم المخفي للمرأة المسلمة”، جيرالدين بروكس (أيضاً إستشراقي، ولاأعلم لماذا ترجم“

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Saudi Feminism In The Social Realm: In Defense of Personal Revolutions

“’Cover up, you woman!’, [they say]. But I won’t cover, and your trashy way of offering religious advice wont work with me”, proclaimed a Saudi woman named Loujain al-Hathloul in a video posted on her “keek” account. She then laughed, and began to show her “keek” followers various campus buildings at the University of British Columbia in Canada, where she studies French Literature. A day or two later, her video went viral among general Twitter users. She is now the #1 top-viewed Saudi user on “keek”, and the #18 top-viewed user in All Countries.

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  • Understanding Authentic Acts & Defining ‘Personal Revolutions’

I admit; my first impression was that the video was juvenile, since it wasn’t exactly the most serious attempt to start a debate on the interplay of societal pressure and religious practice. Many who are mainly focused on the political dismissed her videos outright as just reckless and pointless.

But, I am reminded of an old conversation I once had, in which I was asked simply, “why must every act have a point, or a purpose in the grand scheme of things?”. I remember, I’d never thought of it that way before, and soon came across Nietzsche’s warning against this same tendency in understanding human affairs, “mistrust all systematizers and avoid them. The will to a system is a lack of integrity”.

It does make sense, when one thinks about it. In all honesty, who has not had such frivolous moments? Who has not spontaneously poked at fire, seeking the thrill of watching its sparks fly? Life would be a bore without these bursts of valor, as silly as they may appear at first. As Heraclitus, one of the first Ancient Greek philosophers to favor rebellious thought, said, “Man is most nearly himself when he achieves the seriousness of a child at play”. And so, in her playful seriousness, Loujain was asserting her Self. And socially, even the smallest of such authentic assertions can be considered personal revolutions.

Now, what do I mean by “personal revolutions”? Continue reading

Saudi Feminism: Between Mama Amreeka & Baba Abdullah

The Oslo Freedom Forum in Oslo, Norway was held this past week, the Havel Prize for Creative Dissent was awarded to three dissidents, with Manal Al-Sharif as one of them. This comes shortly after Al-Sharif was at TIME’s 100 Gala in New York, being honored as one of TIME’s 100 Most Influential People In The World. Such events have given rise to a pattern – just as numerous pictures and videos of activists attending various conferences and receiving numerous awards surface, waves of criticism pour in. Motives are viewed with suspicion, worthiness is questioned, and a movements’ progress is reassessed.

The most prevalent criticism of Manal Al-Sharif was that she was accepting an award for political dissent when she was only, at most, a social activist. This criticism was not meant to knock her efforts, but to allocate them a bit further down the activist totem pole so to speak, removing them from the high pedestal they’d been placed on. One ought to note, however, that Manal herself stated at the Forum that, “I don’t consider myself a dissident, I had to actually ask what it was”. So, it seems, she may agree with her critics.

Well then, why was Al-Sharif being hailed as a dissident? This is what happens when women’s rights are treated as foreign rights to those of male citizens’. We now find ourselves caught in this grey area, is Manal Al-Sharif, a women’s rights advocate, a social or political activist? Is a woman driving a social act, thus allowing for the government’s claim that it’s a matter to be left to society, or is it a political act, meaning its dismissal by the government as an outright challenge to the state? To some observers, her act was political. It was in fact a challenge to the state. It is true that there was no law written that banned women driving, but governmental authority (and its established status quo) was still challenged nonetheless. What makes Al-Sharif’s critics reluctant, and perhaps rightfully so, to agree with this strictly political portrayal of her acts, is that the rhetoric she chose to accompany her actions was anything but political. Her Youtube videos had included praise to the King, emphasis on violating no laws in the Kingdom, and, more importantly, it claimed that it was a social taboo to be broken and nothing more. This sort of rhetoric maintains the established child-parent relationship that Saudi women have with the state. While talk of demanding full citizenship, a political demand, did come up in her campaign, it was still cloaked in a request that was social in nature. The campaign used the King’s face for its Facebook page, most official statements began by paying some sort of respect to the government. As a result, it is still a social issue. It was discussed in newspapers for months, opinion videos were posted, tweets were retweeted, but that was it.

The Right2Dignity campaign made an attempt to turn to the political when it filed a lawsuit against the Saudi Traffic Department for denying Manal Al-Sharif her driver’s license despite there being no written law against its issuance to a woman. Another Saudi activist, Samar Badawy, did the same. This was a head-on collision with the state; an outright demand for women’s right to drive that was already technically legal, rather than a demand for wishy-washy patrimonial supportive grants by the government. Unfortunately, the government has been skilled at bureaucratically stifling this legal maneuver. It also refused to allow any sort of legislation to pass affirming women’s right to drive, instead it entertained ridiculous studies on driving leading to loss of virginity. Yet, some might wonder why in the months to follow women were given the right to join municipal elections, work in lingerie shops, or join the Olympics? It was not contradictory of the Saudi government to make such ‘reforms’ and yet hold back on the decision to allow women to drive; it was actually being rather consistent. This is because “Baba Abdullah”, the father figure, granted those rights in the form of reforms, all as a method to reaffirm the child-parent relationship with Saudi women and discourage any efforts to make demands in a political manner.

So, does this mean Manal Al-Sharif didn’t earn her prize, was the Right2Dignity campaign a failure? In truth, I find the question itself to be posed falsely. The fact of the matter is that Manal Al-Sharif was an accidental activist. She never intended to be political. Jillian York writes of how Al-Sharif originally came up with the idea to post two Youtube videos in support of women driving in Saudi, it was simply a birthday dare she had given herself. Manal spoke of her unexpected role at the Oslo Freedom Forum in explaining, “Havel said, we never decided to be dissidents, we were transformed into them, without every quite knowing how. We sometimes ended up in prison, without ever knowing how. There are things in life, you don’t choose them, they choose you”. This sums up her story. Such unplanned action has implications, however, such as the fact that she did not start out with the vision of herself as an activist, nor was her family’s distress at her sudden arrest, and the amount of hate mail (including Shaik sermons) about her, things she had anticipated as a result of her drive. In such light, I think it’d be fair to show her a little compassion in judging the progress of her actions. She’d never intended to be a full-on activist, and so she cannot be assessed in terms of what characterizes a political dissident.

However, I sense that most of the criticism directed at Al-Sharif and her recently received award was not really about her, but about the exclusive focus media has given her. There is a deep sense of unfairness regarding its selectiveness. There is anger that the award is supposedly for dissent, when other Saudi dissenters find themselves forgotten in jail cells. There is anger for the political voices that are left unheard because they aren’t in the safe and social, preferably female and victim-looking, realm of Saudi activism. This blatantly apparent selectiveness in attention to certain types of activism can be viewed as allowing Saudis a revolt in a bubble. This bubble is what I’d labeled as ‘social’, because it never quite enters the political realm. It still operates within the child-parent relationship, rather than promote a citizen-state relation. It is the permissible revolt, the headlines that will not affect the price of oil. Unlike revolts in the Eastern Province which are far outside this bubble, and revolts after prayers in mosques that led to jail cells, revolts in opinion pieces that were written on ‘a little too much’ and soon removed from newspaper sites along with their authors being swiftly silenced, revolts in politically charged tweets whom their owner disappears shortly afterwards, revolts in stomachs that refuse to eat in protest of its arbitrary arrest. All these revolts… they are ignored. They do not receive any award. Though they deserve it more than any. And while women’s fight against discriminatory laws is also a revolt, in the specific case of Manal Al-Sharif, as I have argued, it was not that of a political dissident. Rather, it was morphed into a revolt within a state-controlled, social bubble.

Is it fair to demand more of Manal Al-Sharif? If her cause wasn’t political, does that rid it of all worth? Also, is the method a campaign chooses crucial, or should one be concerned with results alone? The answer to such questions lead to a somewhat heated discussion on Twitter among feminists, debating the implications and effectiveness of Manal’s social revolt. The different positions taken are crucial in understanding the fragmented Saudi feminist movement. I’ll loosely characterize each, simplifying their opinions somewhat, in order to show the main trains of thought I’ve observed to be adopted by most when considering feminism in the Saudi case.

Dr. Madawi Al-Rasheed is an academic; her arguments are typically based on political theory and historical fact. She views the feminist movement as lacking because it isolates women’s rights from others, and then proceeds by removing itself from the political altogether. She also views it as compromising its integrity as a local movement when it accepts awards or support in general from the West and she finds it hypocritical to do so when the West is who supports the governments who have discriminatory laws in the first place. Mona El-Tahawy is a media magnet, her words travel fast and her passion is for what is in the moment. She claims the feminist movement is successful at this point, since it has pointed to the misogyny of men and clerics towards women in Saudi Arabia. Her understanding of the fight for women’s rights consists essentially in affirming women as the Other who faces oppressive forces of misogynic readings of religion and male-dominated culture, and is in need of liberation. This liberation comes about often by the demonizing of forces that she deems oppressive and backwards, appealing to pathos and sympathy to support women’s efforts in doing so. With the ultimate end goal of liberation, Mona El-Tahawy rejects Al-Rasheed’s arguments as the ramblings of a theorist who betrays her noble objective of easing the harsh reality experienced by average Saudi women. The two debated their views on Twitter, the discussion deteriorated into a disagreement over who had lived longer in Saudi as a ‘real’ Saudi woman, and who was more compassionate despite their later privileged life abroad. At this point Ebtihal Mubarak joined the conversation; rejecting what she sensed as a desire to prioritize political rights or a belittling of Women2Drive in Al-Rasheed’s argument, but also rejecting what she viewed as El-Tahawy’s victimization of Saudi women.

I agree with Ebtihal Mubarak’s argument that rights ought not be prioritized, i.e. the demand for the right to drive ought not be dismissed as frivolous since it is still an injustice, and that this demand ought not be framed into a victim’s cry for help. But at the heart of the discussions that later erupted was, first, a question of whether Manal Al-Sharif was deserving such an award, i.e. was her campaign political and fitting to the title “dissident”, and second, a question of whether she ought to be accepting the award at all, i.e. when is outside support legitimate. I have previously addressed the issue of Manal Al-Sharif being given the award; I will now turn to the question of outside support. Madawi Al-Rasheed gave her own view on support from Western powers when she said, “the woman [i.e. the West] who honors you for calling for driving is the same one who kills the dream of women in many Arab countries”. Hutoon Al-Rasheed, a member of the Right2Dignity campaign, disagreed. The award was deserved, she claimed, because the act of a woman driving in Saudi Arabia was a sign of defiance. But, this does not answer our questions concerning outside support. It simply takes the award itself out of context. Mainly, is there a requirement to applaud every form of support given, regardless of its underlying meaning? Shouldn’t one seek to control the narrative forming around his cause as much as possible, as well as how the support received is framed?

Recently I have become painfully aware of the importance of narrative. The means any given campaign is willing to use to reach its end are of the utmost importance. And while I admire Madawi Al-Rasheed’s rejection of all things Western as part of a broader objection to governmental alliances, I view this stance as running against the fact that governments are moralless creatures, will always be self-interested, and thus it is pointless to expect of them any otherwise. Instead, the hypocrisy Al-Rasheed points to can be used to have one governmental power pressure another. But I’m also not in favor of Hutoon Al-Rasheed’s acceptance of all forms of support and outside pressure, because some support comes with a cost. This cost, or requirement, has recently been embodied in Mona Eltahawy’s last Foreign Policy article, “Why They Hate Us” (which I wrote a response to here), that basically allocates women the role of victims. It also voids injustices women face of its political nature, and solidifies her fight as one with the opposite sex, culture, and religion. And in this case I do not believe the ends, women’s civil rights, justifies the means, women’s rights becoming social issues. Not because the end is of any small value, but because it is the polar opposite of the proposed means.

Mona El-Tahawy argues that her approach is that of an opinion writer, poking in the hard places to spark conversation. And once this is done, results can be seen since it is brought to global attention. And while some enthralled with passion for results may dismiss my critique outright, I still believe a certain amount of responsibility must be assumed when writing narratives on causes. What is written today is what will be remembered tomorrow. Words narrate actions taken, and it’s crucial they do so in the most just way possible. Agitating in a manner that is void of theory is just as pointless as theorizing yourself into an isolated corner.

About a year ago, when I’d first joined twitter under Ana3rabeya, I did so after witnessing Tahrir, and being enraged at Manal Al-Sharif’s arrest. One of my feminist idols was Mona El-Tahawy; I found her fiery tweets and her countless appearances on CNN to be rather inspiring. At the time, I did not pay attention to details and my opinions were largely ridden of context. Now, how a Saudi woman’s fight in her own country is framed is crucially important to me. I simply cannot stand it turning into a sob-fest for victimized and oppressed women. I cannot stand the thought of the demand for an end to guardianship by calling on “Mama Amreeka” to save oppressed Saudi women from misogynic culture, or, conversely, calling on “Baba Abdullah” to protect Saudi women from a sexist society and extremist clerics. In both cases Saudi women remain a ‘special’ case, taking the position of a child. And if the means are carried out in such a way that coincides with the status quo, how proud are we to be of the results? When I participated in the online fervor for Manal Al-Sharif’s release during the 9 days she was in jail, I didn’t argue with people too much. I dismissed the relevance of narrative that was being created around me. My sole focus was Manal’s release. Occasionally, I would read a sexist comment or two against Saudi men, or all Muslim men, and I’d let it slide. I remember thinking: it’s sensational, but that’s what will work. Now, I see that you can’t do that. In doing so, I was using Saudi women as a means, by allowing her to play the role of victim, in order to achieve my goal. What good is a fight for dignity by first denouncing it and assuming the role of victim? What good is a fight for citizenship if it’s done against my fellow citizens?

This is how my view on feminism has changed. Agnes Heller highlights this different perspective on feminism in saying, “Women’s Studies do nothing more than put women back in the kitchen”. Meaning that, feminism which treats women as a social case of study, a feminism that is based on anything other than Pride and Power in the political realm, forever keeps her rights in the kitchen, i.e. the social realm. Thus leaving her at the mercy of those who will to care for her, rather than a citizen of the political realm who wills for herself. I realize one might argue at this point that I am a privileged woman, entertaining theory and detaching myself from the plight of ‘real’ Saudi women. But, to me, this accusation holds little in substance. I am a Saudi woman. I have experienced discrimination. I do seek change. And this is not a rejection of all outside support as a method for achieving change within. I am fully aware of the rise of social media activism and increased globalization of politics, I realize campaigns typically cannot succeed in isolation. But, this does not mean that I, or any other Saudi woman, must inevitably submit to every form of support she is offered. Nor does it mean that Saudi women must accept a narrative she does not approve of, or exploit theatrical methods of victimhood that undermine the full volume of personhood she wishes to achieve. Saudi feminism doesn’t have to be a story of “Mama Amreeka” coming to the rescue, or “Baba Abdullah” choosing to ‘grant’ her rights. Feminism based on Pride in its demand for civil rights, not Pity, is worthy of praise. Feminism based on Power in the face of an oppressive state, not timidness, is the aim.

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Republished on Jadaliyya

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Why They Don’t Hate Us: A Critique of Mona Eltahawy’s Perception of Misogyny in the Middle East

I. Introduction

The article’s title is “Why Do They Hate Us?”, where “they” refers to men, and “us” to women in the Middle East. It opens with a short story by Alifa Rifaat, which raised some red flags with me. The story essentially simplifies a woman’s quality of life and allows it to be symbolized as the pleasure she experiences, or is denied experience of, between her legs. If this is supposed to have an anti-sexism message, it does an awfully good job at fully sexualizing women in order to do so. The story concludes with the woman calmly drinking her morning coffee, after finding out her husband has died. I’m not sure how a woman’s chilling satisfaction at her husband’s death is supposed to prove that men hate women. And if I misunderstood the story, and denial of orgasms is the end-all proof of hatred, that still wouldn’t deny the fact that casually sipping coffee after her husband’s death can, at the very least, hint to some sort of equal, if not more, feelings of hatred toward him as a man.

The thesis of the article is then briefly stated,  “We have no freedoms because they hate us”, and “They hate us. It must be said”. Since this is a discussion of women’s freedoms in the Middle East, it therefore must be of political nature. As a result, the mere mention of “hatred” in the realm of politics is shallow. Why? It reduces an intricate sphere of power play into a purely expressive and personal “hatred” between “us” and “them”.

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