Current Magazine

Mona Eltahawy on Misogyny in the Muslim World

Posted on the 25 April 2012 by Periscope @periscopepost

Mona Eltahawy: Causing a storm

Mona Eltahawy: Causing a storm

The Egyptian-American writer Mona Eltahawy (who was assaulted in Tahrir Square by the Egyptian military in 2011) has caused a storm with an article she wrote for Foreign Policy magazine, in which she states that women should finish what the Arab Spring has started. She says that men of the Arab world  hate women, and catalogues instances of injustice and maltreatment: genital mutilation, sexual harassment; women members of parliament being forced to wear hijabs; women MPs in Egypt effectively silent. Commentators are divided in many ways, ranging from those who fully support her, via those who think she is mostly right, to those who completely disagree. So is she right, or misguided?

What did her article say? She called for the hatred to be recognised, and for cultural relativism to be resisted. “We are more than our headscarves and our hymens. Listen to those of us fighting. Amplify the voices of the region and poke the hatred in its eye. There was a time when being an Islamist was the most vulnerable political position in Egypt and Tunisia. Understand that now it very well might be Woman. As it always has been.”

She doesn’t speak for everyone. Samia Errazzouki immediately rebutted Eltahawy’s arguments, saying that she didn’t represent Arab women. She thought that Foreign Policy’s cover picture – which showed a naked woman in a painted-on niqab – was degrading and insulting to women. People fixate on the niqab, believing that it defines Muslim women’s “thought, her intellect, her capabilities, her sexuality, her gender and her very existence.” But women do wear the niqab by choice. Plus, Eltahwy uses the first person plural – and who elected her to speak for all Arab women? Her narrative shows Arab women as “helpless and in need of rescue and protection.” This is entirely convenient for the magazine’s Western readership. Of course there is violence against women. But this “is not the issue.” The issue is making the women in the region “into a monolith.” And there’s more to gender inequality “than just ‘hate’”.

A much more complex picture. Foreign Policy itself rounded up some commentators: Sondos Asem, who said that blaming women’s suffering on misogyn was simplistic. Shadi Hamid, said that gaining gender equality in the Arab world was going to take “a very long time.” What will probably happen is that each country will decide to go its own way – “with the support and active encouragement of Arab women themselves.” Imam Feisal Adbdul Rauf said that the Prophet Mohammed himself was actually a feminist. The Quaran says that men can only have four wives, for instance. But that’s not to say that things must stay as they were in the seventh century – we must move on. Hanin Ghaddar said that we needed “more badass ladies.”

Twitter storm. The news outlet Al-Jazeera rounded up some of the best Twitter comments: “How can one solid critical article on Arab men oppressing women cause more controversy about the author than about the oppression? #EpicFail”, said Jonathan Moremi. “can’t [sic] believe the attacks on @monaeltahawy article. only goes to prove that women’s rights issues remain taboo even during revolution,” tweeted Lin Noueihed. Hossam Bahgat even went so far as to suggest that “most feminists around the world would find your piece anti feminist, even anti women.”


You Might Also Like :

Back to Featured Articles on Logo Paperblog

These articles might interest you :

  • Shilo Sanders- Son Of Deion Sanders Thanks Courts For Allowing Him To Live With...

    Shilo Sanders- Deion Sanders Thanks Courts Allowing Live With Pilar

    ChristianNews Shilo Sanders, the son of NFL Hall of Famer,  Deion Sanders took to twitter to “thank” the courts for allowing him to live with his mother, Pilar... Read more

    The 04 August 2017 by   Firstladyb
    SPIRITUALITY
  • “I Feel Great”

    Feel Great”

    Jakub went to his doctor's office believing that he had a back injury, but returned with a chocking diagnosis instead. He had type 2 diabetes - in spite of... Read more

    The 04 August 2017 by   Dietdoctor
    DIET & WEIGHT
  • July Allotment Recap (2/2)

    July Allotment Recap (2/2)

    Sunday afternoon saw us return bravely to 24a even though there were more thundery showers foretold by the weatherman. I will admit that I guffawed at the... Read more

    The 04 August 2017 by   Chrryblossomtat2
    GARDENING, HOME
  • Culinary Delicacies in Croatia- What to Eat and Drink in Croatia

    Culinary Delicacies Croatia- What Drink Croatia

    In my earlier post, we spoke about how Croatia is a stunning European destination, let us now see what are the culinary delicacies in Croatia or what you can... Read more

    The 04 August 2017 by   Kash Pals
    FOOD & DRINK, A-CLASSER
  • #Golf Training Aids Spotlight: The Delta Putt

    #Golf Training Aids Spotlight: Delta Putt

    Do you consider yourself to be a strong putter or do you feel you could improve your make percentage on the green? Most amateurs could use help with the flat... Read more

    The 04 August 2017 by   Golfforbeginners
    GOLF, SPORTS
  • Three Incredible Hikes in Southern Iceland3 Min Read

    Three Incredible Hikes Southern Iceland3 Read

    Nature takes center stage in Iceland, where there's a stunning view around every bend: massive glaciers, expansive lava fields, powerful waterfalls, black sand... Read more

    The 04 August 2017 by   Healthytravelblog
    TRAVEL
  • What I Wore: Daytime Pajamas

    What Wore: Daytime Pajamas

    Pajama top: ELOQUII (14) | Pajama pants: ELOQUII (14) | Shoes: ASOS (similar) | Earrings: J. Crew ( same in different colors, similar concept in same color) |... Read more

    The 04 August 2017 by   Wardrobeoxygen
    FASHION, SELF EXPRESSION, SHOPPING

Magazines