Gender & the Middle East
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My goal in this short essay is to capture for the reader the gains and losses associated with Islamic-based family rules in the context of an economy that has a generous supply of cheap domestic workers and a sparing one of female public employment. I do so from the perspective of the housewife who is able to hire a domestic servant. I specifically argue that a spill-over effect of family law rules occurs in a household that employs domestic servants, triangulating the relationship between husband, wife, and servant.
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The recent issue of Foreign Policy on sex has instigated critical feedback from many who have rightly challenged racist and Orientalist representations of gender and sexuality in the Muslim and Arab worlds. Several critics have rightly pointed out that essentialist approaches to culture that rely on facile binaries of men/women, freedom/oppression, and West/East lack any meaningful analyses of geopolitics, economy, colonial and post-colonial formations, and historical nuances.
This week Foreign Policy published a “Sex Issue.” They explained their decision to feature a special issue with these words
When U.S. magazines devote special issues to sex, they are usually of the celebratory variety (see: Esquire , April 2012 edition; Cosmopolitan , every month). Suffice it to say that is not what we had in mind with Foreign Policy 's first-ever Sex Issue, which is dedicated instead to the consideration of how and why sex -- in all the various meanings of the word -- matters in shaping the world's politics. Why?
In " Distant View of a Minaret ," the late and much-neglected Egyptian writer Alifa Rifaat begins her short story with a woman so unmoved by sex with her husband that as he focuses solely on his pleasure, she notices a spider web she must sweep off the ceiling and has time to ruminate on her husband's repeated refusal to prolong intercourse until she too climaxes, "as though purposely to deprive her." Just as her husband denies her an orgasm, the call to prayer interrupts his, and the man leaves.
FP's "sex issue" cover The piece below was contributed by friend of the blog Parastou Hassouri, who has been living in Cairo since 2005 and focuses on issues of gender and migration.
Unless you live under a rock, dear blog reader, you’ve probably witnessed the hulabaloo over the past 24 hours about an article by Mona Eltahawy entited “Why Do They Hate Us?”
Since yesterday it appears Mona Eltahawy has had her hands full fending off the massive outrage her Foreign Policy article entitled “ Why do they hate us?
Photograph: Foreign Policy The latest edition of Foreign Policy , the cover of which bears the same stark question posed by its main article Why Do They Hate Us?, has stirred up some serious controversy .
A veritable twitter storm has sprung up around an article by Mona el Tahawy in the latest issue of Foreign Policy , entitled Why Do They Hate Us ?
One : Gender is not the study of what is evident, it is an analysis of how what is evident came to be.
Between the Liberalisation of Islamist Politics and the Feminisation of Islamic Interpretation: Arab Muslim Women after the Uprisings |By Dr Aitemad Muhanna This piece is part of a forthcoming report to be published by the Norwegian Peacebuilding Resource Centre . As the Arab uprisings have unfolded, Arab women have stood shoulder to shoulder with men, struggling for a better future for themselves and for their male counterparts.
Gender & Politics / Culture