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- KurzbeschreibungA Kirkus Reviews Best Book of the Year
As the "Arab Spring" and its aftermath sweep streets and squares, parliaments and presidential palaces of the Middle East, Shereen El Feki-an award-winning Canadian-Egyptian journalist-has been looking at unrest a little closer to home: in the sexual lives of Arab men and women. The result is an informative, insightful, and engaging account of this sensitive and still largely secret aspect of Arab society.
Sexual attitudes and behaviors are shaped by politics and economics, religion and tradition, gender and generations-not only a reflection of the conditions that led to the uprisings, but also a measure of hard-won reforms in the years to come. Highly personal, rich with original research and remarkable stories, Sex and the Citadel gives us unprecedented and timely insight into a part of the world that is changing before our eyes.
- AutorShereen El Feki
- VerlagRandom House LCC US
- Seiten368 Seiten
- Gewicht277 g
"What is it?"
Six pairs of dark eyes stared at me-or rather, at the small purple rod in my hand.
"It's a vibrator," I answered, in English, racking my brain for the right Arabic word. "A thing that makes fast movements" came to mind, but as that could equally apply to a hand mixer, I decided to stick with my mother tongue to minimize what I could sense was rising confusion in the room.
One of the women, curled up on a divan beside me, began to unpin her hijab, a cascade of black hair falling down her back as she carefully put her headscarf to one side. "What does it do?" she asked.
"Well, it vibrates," I added, taking a sip of mint tea and biting into a piece of syrupy baklava to buy myself some time before the inevitable rejoinder.
How I came to be demonstrating sex toys to a coffee morning of Cairo housewives is a long story. I have spent the past five years traveling across the Arab region asking people about sex: what they do, what they don't, what they think and why. Depending on your perspective, this might sound like a dream job or a highly dubious occupation. For me, it is something else altogether: sex is the lens through which I investigate the past and present of a part of the world about which so much is written and still so little is understood.
Now, I grant you, sex might seem an odd choice, given the spectacle of popular revolt playing out across the Arab world since the beginning of this decade, which has taken with it some of the region's most entrenched regimes-in Egypt, Libya, Tunisia, and Yemen for starters-and is shaking up the rest. Some observers, however, have gone so far as to argue that it was youthful sexual energy that fueled the protests in the first place. I'm not so sure. While I've often heard Egyptians say their fellow countrymen spend 99.9 percent of their time thinking about sex, in the heady days of early 2011, making love appeared, for once, to be the last thing on people's minds.
Yet I don't believe it was entirely out of sight. Sexual attitudes and behaviors are intimately bound up in religion, tradition, culture, politics, and economics. They are part and parcel of sexuality-that is, the act and all that goes with it, including gender roles and identity, sexual orientation, pleasure, intimacy, eroticism, and reproduction. As such, sexuality is a mirror of the conditions that led to these uprisings, and it will be a measure of the progress of hard-won reforms in the years to come
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