• Headscarves and Hymens

  • Why the Middle East Needs a Sexual Revolution
  • By: Mona Eltahawy
  • Narrated by: Mona Eltahawy
  • Length: 5 hrs and 38 mins
  • 4.6 out of 5 stars (127 ratings)

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Headscarves and Hymens

By: Mona Eltahawy
Narrated by: Mona Eltahawy
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Publisher's Summary

When the Egyptian journalist Mona Eltahawy published an article in Foreign Policy in 2012 titled "Why Do They Hate Us?," it provoked a firestorm of controversy. The response it generated, with more than 4000 posts on the website, broke all records for the magazine, prompted dozens of follow-up interviews on radio and television, and made it clear that misogyny in the Arab world is an explosive issue, one that engages and often enrages the public.

In Headscarves and Hymens, Eltahawy takes her argument further. Drawing on her years as a campaigner and commentator on women's issues in the Middle East, she explains that since the Arab Spring began, women in the Arab world have had two revolutions to undertake: one fought with men against oppressive regimes, and another fought against an entire political and economic system that treats women as second-class citizens in countries from Yemen and Saudi Arabia to Egypt, Tunisia, and Libya.

Eltahawy has traveled across the Middle East and North Africa, meeting with women and listening to their stories. Her audiobook is a plea for outrage and action on their behalf, confronting the "toxic mix of culture and religion that few seem willing or able to disentangle lest they blaspheme or offend." A manifesto motivated by hope and fury in equal measure, Headscarves and Hymens is as illuminating as it is incendiary.

©2015 Mona Eltahawy (P)2015 Macmillan Audio

What listeners say about Headscarves and Hymens

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    4 out of 5 stars

Tasteful and Enraged

"Once again, women are the cheapest bargaining chip" the author states.

Here is a woman who clearly speaks to women without disparaging them, or unnecessarily doing so with men. Mona Eltahawy 's voice speaks fitting, apt words -both when confronting or encouraging. Men, she doesn't hit you over the head with it.

If I were to chose a phrase for the book, it would be the French les mots justes [those "just right" words, phrases].

Eltahawy speaks against every form of oppression to women. She confronts dogmas, Arab cultures, and patriarchy (everywhere) in light of an egalitarian ideal, all while maintaining her view of Islam -understated in this audio.

As a male from a somewhat conservative American home, this was slightly painful at times to listen to -but a transformative, rectifying pain. I was lightly aware of feminism before listening to this speech but it deepened this awareness. I can only imagine that a woman of the middle east will find both anger and hope here. (More anger, even rage will probably be found first for such a listener but, later, the equal measures of hope can come through it.) Buy it if you can take in a flow of deep, though justly placed anger, interspersed with tales of courage and compassion. Turn to a paper copy if anger/informative confrontation is too much for your ears.

Headscarves & Hymens challenges over-arching religion &/ military governments. This never interrupts the flow, nor the centrality of women, just as central as men to our world. If she values men less than women, that doesn't come through in this audio book.

5 people found this helpful

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Do you ever find a book that you can't stop nodding along to in agreement?

This is Headscarves and Hymens. Mona Eltahawy's passionate voice combined with her knowledge and experiences in the Middle East provide a great narrative. There is no filter; no excuses to "protect" a certain culture from stigma. Love, love, love.

3 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars

Thought provoking

An exceptional look into what resistance looks like from a woman who grew up in an islamic world. You don't have to agree with her but you will no doubt be left with more compassion towards the fight for human rights that is taking place among muslim women

2 people found this helpful

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On the Saudi Government Stance on Women's Rights

Mona says that the Saudi government avoids granting women their rights because it's afraid of them. That it fears them becoming powerful.

In my opinion, it's the other way around. The government ignores women's calls for their rights particularly because they're not powerful. It's not threatened by them. It has no reason to reconcile with them. However, the government is very interested in keeping the conservatives happy because they're powerful and have shown their teeth before. It's a zero-sum-game.

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incredible.

amazing. truly insightful, masterful reading by the author herself.
my heart goes out to all the women struggling for their rights in the middle East.

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  • L.
  • 05-11-16

Worth the read

Heart breaking, but vitally important to creating change in our culture. I wanted more which is the only reason for a 4 star.

1 person found this helpful

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women's freedom

Great to learn. frustrating to hear the truth. written well and with heart.

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Incredible!!!!

Mona Eltahawy is an inspiration and the work she put into the content of this book goes beyond expectations. This content is rarely talked about, and to see it on paper is the language and the foundation we need for a revolution. A global one!

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Essential reading.

This is a spectacular book.
Essential reading for anyone interested in Middle Eastern and Arab histories and issues.
Mona seamlessly sways between her personal stories and those of others and the general experiences and challenges, and the atrocities women still face on daily basis in the region.
Mona presents persuasive arguments that are balanced between the role of culture, religion and politics in how these factors are constantly used to control, oppress, subjugate and even humiliate women.
Highly recommended.

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Inspiring

One of the best books I have ever read and should be required reading for all.