Headscarves and Hymens

Eltahawy, Mona

  11 Reviews

Journalist Mona Eltahawy appeared on the world stage following the 2011 Egyptian Revolution when she was assaulted by riot police. Her response - in the form of an article - ignited debate so controversial that Time magazine named her as one of its People of the Year. In this book, this award-winning commentator continues her fearless discussion on the repression of women's rights in the Middle East, bolstered by information about the socio-political and religious contexts and the catalysts of the Arab Spring.

Refreshing and authoritative, it is both a thought-provoking examination of female oppression and a passionate advocacy vehicle for change. [Larger font]



MILT 002
Everyone found the book confronting and brutal in parts. It generated some of the best discussion, but all agreed it was not a book to enjoy!
AUCK 422
We were all disturbed by the shocking statistics, but we thought it might have carried more impact if the material had been better organised. Some of us felt that religion was less to blame than perhaps a universal need for power and control. Some found it difficult to empathise with the writer.
The book was thoroughly discussed! 2 didn't read it, while the others found it very disturbing but persevered. One of us was very angry indeed, and felt powerless to help stop the custom of FGM, as we all did. No consensus was reached on the question of whether of not we have the right - or power - to interfere in the customs of another culture; people feeling strongly on both sides. It is a very complex book, and we found the notes very helpful, and the questions made for interesting discussion points.
AUCK 055
This book caused a very animated discussion - some gave up reading it halfway while others commented how much they had learned about women's plight in the Arab world. All agreed that it would take time and effort to effect a change.
This book confirmed much of what we already knew about the treatment of women in the Middle East, but parts were more brutal than we realised. The book was not always easy to read due to the way the author did not always follow a coherent path, but jumped around a lot - better editing would have been good. State sanctioned brutality - not related to any religious writing! Power and control!!
NELS 050
Lots of discussion over this book. Although some had to push through to read it, they were quite moved by it. Much talk about women, domestic violence, culture and belief.
This is quite an informative but shocking book. Something the world needs to know about, but uncomfortable reading and repetitive at times.
It is a very worthy subject and deserves publicity. However we didn't feel we were the right audience - she was addressing Muslim countries, particularly men. The material was very repetitive and many members didn't finish it. It was written as a record of the women's movement and as such did not make for easy reading.
AUCK 037
Most group members hadn't finished the book as it was so repetitive. All agreed with the direction and position of the author, but found the polemical style just too much. A challenging read with plenty of examples of the grimness of the lives of many women living in Islamic societies. Some good discussion however.
WELL 079
Good discussion. People were glad to have read it as it was very informative. I found it depressing as change has to come from within the religion.
TAUR 009
A very interesting book - contentious and confronting. We found it difficult to read - it's disjointed and repetitive. It led to a very spirited discussion and I hope a greater understanding of the position/life of women in the Islamic world. Definitely a 'good' book club choice.