A Letter to Mona Eltahawy on “Headscarves and Hymens”

Dear Mona,Some of my fellow Muslimah Media Watch writers put together a roundtable about their thoughts on your book, and as I read it, I decided to explore some of their ideas and thoughts further. This review in the form of a letter stems from the need to address not only the book itself, but also the themes that are the core of your work in general.“Headscarves and Hymens” is a personal book. In fact, the information in this book is at times so intimate that you explain, “I have had to … [Read more...]

A Roundtable on Mona Eltahawy’s Headscarves and Hymens


We will soon have a full review of Mona Eltahawy's Headscarves and Hymens: Why the Middle East Needs a Sexual Revolution. In the meantime, here is a discussion on the book by three of our writers.Sya: What's up with books about "the Middle East and North Africa" that are about female genitals, one way or another?Tasnim: The title reminded me of Shereen El Feki’s Sex and the Citadel. Having read both books, I feel Sex and the Citadel (reviewed here by Sya) was much better than H … [Read more...]

Responsibility as Representatives: A Need for Honest Reflection

Sooraya Graham's photo. Via the Toronto Star.

In our roundtable on the Foreign Policy “sex issue” I spoke about the responsibility one has when representing, speaking or acting on behalf of one’s own community.   Among other reactions to that issue, Mona Eltahawy’s article garnered various responses from Arab women, expressing their disapproval of Eltahawy’s claim to speak on behalf of Arab women. Wherever one stands, I think the issue does raise questions on what it means for Muslims, or those who identify as being in connection with certai … [Read more...]

Some Issues with Foreign Policy’s “Sex Issue”: Part One

fp cover

So I'm sure that pretty much everyone has, by now, seen Foreign Policy magazine's recent "Sex Issue," which looks at issues related to gender, sex, and politics in various countries.  The article that's gotten the most attention is Mona Eltahawy's piece "Why Do They Hate Us?," in which Eltahawy writes about the many forms of violence against women in Arab countries.We've got some responses from several MMW writers coming, today and tomorrow, but to start off, here's a roundup of some of the … [Read more...]

Self-Congratulatory Feminism, Now in Muslim Flavor!

Heralded Muslim feminist Mona Eltahawy asks in the ever-tabloid Toronto Star to be allowed to confuse you, the reader, by virtue of the apparently contradictory labels self-assigned to her socio-political and religious beliefs. The point of article (as it become somewhat clear in the last few paragraphs) is to shed light on how, despite her unorthodox views on Islam, and particularly gender in Islam, the faith "belongs" to her as much as to any other Muslim, more orthodox than her or not. This … [Read more...]

Speak Your Mind: Mona Eltahawy’s Advice on Media

I spent this past Sunday morning at a brunch hosted by the Canadian Council of Muslim Women to honor "Women Who Inspire."  Five Canadian Muslim women were presented with awards recognizing their contributions in the fields of politics, education, and community activism.Also present was Mona Eltahawy, a U.S.-based journalist who gave a speech about media representations of Muslims.  She had some interesting reflections that I thought I'd share here on MMW.Eltahawy began her talk by s … [Read more...]