Headscarves and Hymens is focused on the mistreatment of women in the Middle East, it is a combination of the author’s personal stories; like how she was groped while on Hajj in Mecca, and stories of other women. The accounts in the book are horrid, heartbreaking and infuriating, kinda makes your blood boil and make you want to take some form of action.
Headscarves and Hymens takes a look at how the Middle East is largely home to societies established on sexism and misogyny, and also how religion is used to control women’s rights, women’s minds and women’s bodies.
Mona Eltahawy illustrates the misogynistic and sometimes savage attitudes towards women in the Arab world, from the Saudi cleric who stated that women should not drive because it damages their ovaries, female genital mutilation (FGM), to the military in Egypt detaining female activists and enforcing “virginity tests” on them, disguised as a medical doctor inserting his finger into the vaginal opening in search of an intact hymen.
In the United Arab Emirates for example, women are basically the property of their husbands and sons, as they “cannot travel alone, cannot drive, cannot even go into a hospital without a man’s permission”. In Jordan, a rapist can avoid punishment if he agrees to marry his victim. In Yemen and Saudi Arabia, girls as young as eight can be married off to older men.
A lot of the topics in this book are difficult and controversial, and it will definitely disturb you and make you angry, cause it’s a book with force. It is a remarkable book, although, it does not address the more important question of what the sexual revolution involves and how it is to be achieved. However, I liked the book and if you’re interested in women’s rights & other related issues, then you should read this book, you might find it bit boring, but it’s worth the read.
Don’t forget to share and comment. Also, let me know if you would like a copy.