The seven necessary sins for women and girls

Mona Eltahawy, 1967-

Book - 2019

"A bold and uncompromising feminist manifesto that shows women and girls how to defy, disrupt, and destroy the patriarchy by embracing the qualities they've been trained to avoid. Seizing upon the energy of the #MeToo movement, feminist activist Mona Eltahawy advocates a muscular, out-loud approach to teaching women and girls to harness their power through what she calls the "seven necessary sins" that women and girls are not supposed to commit: to be angry, ambitious, profan...e, violent, attention-seeking, lustful, and powerful. All the necessary "sins" that women and girls require to erupt. Eltahawy knows that the patriarchy is alive and well, and she is fed the hell up: Sexually assaulted during hajj at the age of fifteen. Groped on the dance floor of a night club in Montreal at fifty. Countless other injustices in the years between. Illuminating her call to action are stories of activists and ordinary women around the world--from South Africa to China, Nigeria to India, Bosnia to Egypt--who are tapping into their inner fury and crossing the lines of race, class, faith, and gender that make it so hard for marginalized women to be heard. Rather than teaching women and girls to survive the poisonous system they have found themselves in, Eltahawy arms them to dismantle it. Brilliant, bold, and energetic, The Seven Necessary Sins for Women and Girls is a manifesto for all feminists in the fight against patriarchy"--

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Location Call Number   Status
2nd Floor 305.42/Eltahawy Checked In
Boston : Beacon Press [2019]
Physical Description
202 pages ; 24 cm
Includes bibliographical references and index.
Main Author
Mona Eltahawy, 1967- (author)
Review by Booklist Review

Feminist activist Eltahawy (Headscarves and Hymens, 2015) returns with a sharp manifesto for fighting the patriarchy. She presents seven sins for female and nonbinary readers to use for disrupting the social systems keeping them down: anger, attention, profanity, ambition, power, violence, and lust. These seven behaviors, Eltahawy argues, have kept men in positions of authority for too long. When women and girls take these sins for themselves, there is no telling how quickly the trifecta of patriarchy (at state, street, and home levels) will crumble. Eltahawy uses examples of sinning female figures from all over the globe to convey how defiant behavior drives change: U.S. Congresswomen Ilhan Omar and Rashida Tlaib, Mexican American poet Erika L. Sánchez, Ugandan scholar Stella Nyanzi, and Saudi Arabian refugee Rahaf Mohammed, among others. In her introduction, Eltahawy shares the spark behind this book; at 15, she was sexually assaulted during her pilgrimage to Mecca. When, at age 50, Eltahawy was groped on a dance-club floor in Montreal, with all of the anger from her first attack coursing through her veins, she beat her attacker to the floor. That night, Eltahawy learned that there is no time or space for feminism that doesn't terrify men. Brilliant and electrifying.--Courtney Eathorne Copyright 2010 Booklist

From Booklist, Copyright (c) American Library Association. Used with permission. Review by Publisher's Weekly Review

In this fed-up, rage-fueled "big fuck-you to the patriarchy," activist and journalist Eltahawy (Headscarves and Hymens) thrusts "tools to fight back" into the hands of women and girls: in themed chapters, Eltahawy exhorts her peers to embrace their power through the energy of anger, attention seeking, profanity, ambition, power, violence, and lust. She lets no one off the hook, calling out the Muslims who defended the man who sexually assaulted her while she was on hajj and the racist Americans who vilified Muslim men during her #mosquemetoo response, feminists who accept the crumbs offered to them by the patriarchy and promote milquetoast ideas of "girl power," U.S. Republican white women complicit in misogyny and racism, and women who call for civility in discourse or who disavow violent responses to violence. But Eltahawy's arguments come through with as much intelligence and clarity as passion and evocative imagery; they are built on facts about racism, capitalism, and homophobia, as well as her own and others' experiences. Eltahawy not only gives frustrated women permission, but demands that they "defy, disobey, and disrupt." This bold, rampaging manifesto is far past the edge of mainstream feminism, but it's so viscerally motivational that even those more moderately inclined may find themselves intrigued. (Sept.)

(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved Review by School Library Journal Review

Gr 9 Up--When Eltahawy was sexually assaulted as a teenager, she resigned herself to sadness. When she was sexually assaulted as an adult, she fought. Eltahawy's rage permeates the pages of this book--her manifesto. The seven "sins" she refers to are anger, attention, profanity, ambition, power, violence, and lust. Each patriarchally deemed taboo is a separate chapter that includes current examples of women embracing the sin and what happens when they do not. The overall narrative creates a seemingly bleak picture of the state of women's rights around the world. Unlike many current feminist titles, the author does not position the United States as front and center. Plenty of attention is given to the struggle for equality in the Middle East and around the world. From violence against women during the Arab Spring to the election of Donald Trump, Eltahawy shows just how much women continue to suffer from inequality and how they can take action and bring about change. Admittedly, due to the author's literary style and editorial approach, this book won't be for everyone. Some readers may be uncomfortable with the book's generous amount of profanity. VERDICT Eltahawy is thought-provoking and uncompromising. Young women who especially respond to Eltahawy's voice can use the author's ideas to create their own brand of feminism.--Cathy DeCampli, Haddonfield Public Library, NJ

(c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. Review by Kirkus Book Review

A striking anti-patriarchal manifesto.Written "with enough rage to fuel a rocket," the second book from Egyptian American activist Eltahawy (Headscarves and Hymens: Why the Middle East Needs a Sexual Revolution, 2015) presents a platform of female empowerment and gender equality supported by seven essential traits (anger, attention, profanity, ambition, power, violence, and lust) every woman should have in her feminist arsenal. The author advises women on how to individually resist and collectively deconstruct society's "universal and normalized" patriarchal hierarchy by employing an interlocking series of "sins," traditionally tabooed beliefs about women's outward expressions of contrary opinion or personal power. Eltahawy's opening is strong, with a chapter on how anger and rage are key components in the fight alongside ambition, sexual expression "outside the teachings of heteronormativity," and an insistence that attention be paid to female voices instead of promoting efforts to silence them. The section on power seeks to engage women in business and social leadership. Eltahawy is at her most controversial when discussing what she believes are the leveling benefits of physical violence in the face of patriarchal crimes. Sprinkled throughout the narrative are moving personal stories, histories, and profiles that further reinforce her plan to dismantle the rampant injustices against women. The author's prose is feverishly enthusiastic and laser-focused, powered by teenage emotional trauma from repeated sexual assaults while on pilgrimages to Mecca, where she was warned to stay silent but ultimately vocalized her outrage. She channels the rage about her violations toward the empowerment of other women in their embrace of feminism that is "robust, aggressive, and unapologetica feminism that defies, disobeys, and disrupts the patriarchy." Her urgent narrative encourages women of all ages to resist classic compartmentalization and to raise their voices and demand equality within every sector of society. "Let us always tell girls they can be more than," she writes.A vociferous, highly motivational call to arms for the feminist movement. Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

Copyright (c) Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.