Review – Sex and the Citadel: Intimate Life in a Changing Arab World

Sex and the Citadel is a collection of stories by Shereen El Feki, who spent five years traveling across Egypt and several other Arab countries asking people about sex: “what they do, what they don’t, what they think and why”. Why write about sex? Her choice of subject matter is partly stimulated by how sexual attitudes and behaviours are intimately (pun intended) linked to the regions religions, traditions, cultures, politics and economics. True to her mission to understand sex in Egypt and the … [Read more...]

Had You Been A Muslim: Joumana Haddad and the Liberated Arab Woman

When Lebanese writer and poet Joumana Haddad's I Killed Scheherazade: Confessions of An Angry Arab Woman was published in 2010, it was described as a bold treatise, intentionally designed to be revolutionary, written in manifesto style. Recently, a revived interest has situated it in more superficial terms as "a provocative new book which "lifts the veil" on what the "Arab Spring" really means for women," with Haddad as the liberated Arab woman telling all about her unliberated sisters. In fact, … [Read more...]

Define Yourself: Discussions of Women, Feminism, and the Arab World

A recent Gulf News article entitled "Feminism in the Arab World" aims to give a picture of, well, feminism in the Arab world.  It interviews professors and students about their experiences of feminism, female leadership, and the status of women in Arab countries.While the analysis and interviews are interesting (you can go read that for yourself), the piece seems to rest on some rather fuzzy definitions of the very terms that the writer wants to discuss.For example, the "Arab world."  S … [Read more...]

Another New MMW Contributor

Salam MMW readers!My name is Malika and I'm an American journalist who recently moved to the Gulf (Persian to some, Arabian to others). It's an incredibly interesting time to be living in a region that's still trying to determine what kind of place it wants to be. In the meantime, there are lots of fascinating critiques to be made on the representation of women in pop culture and in the media here as the region vacillates between Western tendencies and Eastern traditions, and I look forward … [Read more...]

Jasad: Sex, Fetishes, and the Erotic in a new Arabic Glossy

Sex.Always an attention getter.So there's no wonder why Jasad, or "Body," a new quarterly Arabic magazine published in Lebanon, is making waves in the Arab world by promising to "deal with the forbidden," the *gasp* human body. The magazine's logo is 'body' spelled in Arabic and the first letter is a broken handcuff, alluding to the taboos the magazine breaks. An article in the Guardian reports: Officials of Hizbullah, the powerful Lebanese Shia movement, tried to close Jasad's stand at … [Read more...]