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The Seven Necessary Sins for Women and Girls

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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 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, profane, 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 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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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 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, profane, 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 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.

30 review for The Seven Necessary Sins for Women and Girls

  1. 4 out of 5

    Alexis

    If the petulant one-star reviews from men who couldn't possibly have even seen this book yet are any indication, I can't wait to read this. :) If the petulant one-star reviews from men who couldn't possibly have even seen this book yet are any indication, I can't wait to read this. :)

  2. 4 out of 5

    Thomas

    4.5 stars A brilliant firestorm of a book, The Seven Necessary Sins for Women and Girls acts as a radical feminist manifesto that transcends the trappings of white, liberal feminism. Mona Eltahawy takes a bold approach and demands that women access their anger, desire for attention, bodily autonomy, and more to destroy the patriarchy, no kiddy gloves necessary. She draws upon contemporary media and political examples from within the United States, as well as references powerful feminist movements 4.5 stars A brilliant firestorm of a book, The Seven Necessary Sins for Women and Girls acts as a radical feminist manifesto that transcends the trappings of white, liberal feminism. Mona Eltahawy takes a bold approach and demands that women access their anger, desire for attention, bodily autonomy, and more to destroy the patriarchy, no kiddy gloves necessary. She draws upon contemporary media and political examples from within the United States, as well as references powerful feminist movements occurring across the world. I appreciated how Eltahawy always asked more of feminism than what its most basic definition entails, for example, this quote about what power for women may mean: "What does being powerful mean? It must be more than doing what men do or being what men can be. I don’t want to be something simply because a man can be that thing. Men are not my yardstick. If men themselves are not free of the ravages of racism, capitalism, and other forms of oppression, it is not enough to say I want to be equal to them. Equal to the ways they themselves are victimized by patriarchy? No thanks! I want to be free. As long as patriarchy remains unchallenged, men will continue to be the default and the standard against which everything is measured.” I feel grateful and energized by how Eltahawy maintained a bold, forceful tone throughout this book. Her anger radiates, which makes sense given how she writes about angering topics such as abuse and sexual violence against women, institutional sexism, and more. Her analysis includes an intersectional framework that takes into account the unique experiences of LGBTQIA+ women and women of color. She integrates her commentary about global feminist phenomena with her personal experience of victimization and activism, merging the personal and the political. There were some moments in the book where I felt that bogged down by her transitions or lack thereof between her personal stories and her broader political commentary, such that I felt those moments dry or wanting of a bit more finesse. Still, I’d highly recommend this book to those who want to challenge themselves and confront the patriarchy with rage and ferocity, to those who can handle their feminism with some heat. I’ll end this review with one more quote that dismisses civility in the face of racism: “Racism is not civil. Racism is not polite. And yet here were all those people lined up to insist that we be civil when talking about Trump and his supporters. Those people lined up to insist on civility were, of course, white. For white Americans who have no experience of racism, it is a concept, a theory, an idea to be debated, and not a lived reality to be endured or survived. Fuck that.”

  3. 4 out of 5

    Jenny (Reading Envy)

    Mona Eltahawy was born to an Egyptian Muslim family, and previously tackled misogyny in the Muslim world in Headscarves and Hymens: Why the Middle East Needs a Sexual Revolution. In this book, she takes more of a global view, and writes a manifesto for all women and girls (including trans women and nonbinary people) for taking down the patriarchy. She identifies seven "sins" that need to be committed to dismantle power structures - anger, attention, profanity, ambition, power, violence, and lust Mona Eltahawy was born to an Egyptian Muslim family, and previously tackled misogyny in the Muslim world in Headscarves and Hymens: Why the Middle East Needs a Sexual Revolution. In this book, she takes more of a global view, and writes a manifesto for all women and girls (including trans women and nonbinary people) for taking down the patriarchy. She identifies seven "sins" that need to be committed to dismantle power structures - anger, attention, profanity, ambition, power, violence, and lust. She includes her own stories of violence and protest and arrest and the stories of other women, tying them to data and historical contexts that serve to explain the situations in specific places but also how there is not a place where women can escape structural oppression. It's very readable while being well documented. Her arguments are international and intersectional and do not exclude the United States (since sometimes people in the United States seem to only think women are oppressed "over there.") She explains how sexual violence is used as a war tactic, how double oppression is used in countries controlled by dictators or religion, and how powerful men try to silence teenagers like Greta Thunberg (I was surprised to find her mentioned since I only knew about her in the past week or so.) I would say if you want to understand why women are always wearing those dang Handmaids Tale costumes and protesting as abortion bans are passed, this book puts it in a clear perspective. What does bodily autonomy mean? (She says, "At what age does my body belong just to me?") What if women and girls used the power they have been taught to bury? (She says, "What if girls were taught they were volcanoes, whose eruptions were a thing of beauty...?) What if women and girls refused to yield space to be dominated by others desires or ideas? (She says, "The most subversive thing a woman can do is talk about her life as if it really matters.") I had a copy of this book from the publisher through Edelweiss and it came out September 17, 2019.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Nenia ✨ I yeet my books back and forth ✨ Campbell

    Instagram || Twitter || Facebook || Amazon || Pinterest I realized I'd fallen into the trap of only reading feminist books written by feminists who were white, and since realizing that oversight, I've really tried to expand my views and read books of feminism written by women of color. This is my second feminist book written by a woman who is Muslim (Sohaila Abdulali was the first), although it is the first I've read from an Egyptian author, and I think the way she talks about her culture an Instagram || Twitter || Facebook || Amazon || Pinterest I realized I'd fallen into the trap of only reading feminist books written by feminists who were white, and since realizing that oversight, I've really tried to expand my views and read books of feminism written by women of color. This is my second feminist book written by a woman who is Muslim (Sohaila Abdulali was the first), although it is the first I've read from an Egyptian author, and I think the way she talks about her culture and religion bring a unique and much-needed view to feminism. Mona Eltahawy was sexually assaulted at Mecca during hajj. She asked herself, if she couldn't be safe here, where could she be? The problem, she realized, was not with her-- it was with men. Yes, I know, not all men. But enough men. Enough to be emblematic of a deep inequality rooted not just in the Middle East or even in the U.S., but globally. Inequality is an epidemic. In THE SEVEN NECESSARY SINS FOR WOMEN AND GIRLS, you can feel the author's anger vibrating from the pages. The focus of the book is of course feminism, but feminism specifically from the perspective of a Muslim woman of color. She talks a lot about racist sexism, and privilege within privilege, which is something I think a lot of white women don't really think about. She also talks about abusers, institutional sexism, and what it means to be a powerful woman. Some will likely be put off by her anger, but I think injustice should make people angry; if we feel nothing and allow ourselves to become numb or complacent, we won't do anything about it. I liked the stories of Eltahawy's activism, and how she flipped the bird-- literally and figuratively in some cases-- to people in Egypt making careers out of oppressing women. I liked the many examples of institutional sexism in multiple countries, including the United States, and how she cautioned against making sexism the poster problem for a specific set of countries, which so many are afflicted with it. I liked how much she seems to like and respect herself, and how she made an active effort to include the LGBT+ (including trans women) in the dialogue, when so many authors don't. I'm giving THE SEVEN NECESSARY SINS FOR WOMEN AND GIRLS a three-star review because I think it's an important read and it was good, but it wasn't fun and it was also very dry. This is more of a women's studies/gender studies textbook than something someone would read for pleasure (although I did enjoy learning about her life and her viewpoints). If you are looking to broaden your viewpoints as well and get new perspectives on feminism, you should read this book. Thanks to the publisher for sending me a copy in exchange for an honest review!  3 to 3.5 stars

  5. 4 out of 5

    Hristina

    Best summarized in the excerpt "This book is not the place where you will hear the reasonable argument that patriarchy is bad for men and boys too. It is indeed. There are plenty of other books that make that argument and urge men that it is in their own interest to join forces with women to dismantle patriarchy. I refuse to focus on and will not plead with those who benefit from my oppression to join a fight against a centuries-long systemic oppression that not only hurts women and girls and al Best summarized in the excerpt "This book is not the place where you will hear the reasonable argument that patriarchy is bad for men and boys too. It is indeed. There are plenty of other books that make that argument and urge men that it is in their own interest to join forces with women to dismantle patriarchy. I refuse to focus on and will not plead with those who benefit from my oppression to join a fight against a centuries-long systemic oppression that not only hurts women and girls and all who deviate from the template of heterosexual, conservative, and, mostly, rich men, but kills them." The Seven Necessary Sins for Women and Girls is a difficult but important book. Each of the essays is crowded with statistics and facts that elaborate on Eltahawy's opinions. It reads like both a TED talk and a conversation with a close friend about the stereotypical roles that are assigned to women all around the world and the "necessary sins" to disrupt them. Every paragraph feels like a storm rolling through your body. It's powerful and unabashed. It's everything feminism is. *Copy received through Edelweiss in exchange for a fair review *Rating: 5/5 stars

  6. 4 out of 5

    Ai Miller

    Oh folks. I wanted very much to like this book--I'm always down for a good manifesto. I found it difficult to read at first, and I'm not sure why, but then it hit one of my Absolute No-Nos, and I couldn't put it down. It wasn't a hate-read, exactly, but it absolutely clarified certain things for me about certain forms of feminism. So I will say first: Eltahawy's rightful and righteous anger is compelling, and it's clear she's deeply invested in protecting women and destroying patriarchy as she u Oh folks. I wanted very much to like this book--I'm always down for a good manifesto. I found it difficult to read at first, and I'm not sure why, but then it hit one of my Absolute No-Nos, and I couldn't put it down. It wasn't a hate-read, exactly, but it absolutely clarified certain things for me about certain forms of feminism. So I will say first: Eltahawy's rightful and righteous anger is compelling, and it's clear she's deeply invested in protecting women and destroying patriarchy as she understands it, which is absolutely understandable. Her chapter on violence in particular asks a lot of difficult questions I think are worth chewing on, even if I am uncomfortable to some extent with their implications (as she wants me to be!) She draws on a huge number of international feminists of color and does not hold back and holding any number of nations responsible for their role in global patriarchy; I don't think anyone is really left unexamined. What I was most enraged by was the ways in which trans women appeared in this book. Twice Eltahawy cites the statistic that the life expectancy of trans women of color is age 35, which is a statistic I'm familiar with as a nonbinary trans person who exists on the internet. That statistic is made up; no study has ever been produced of the life expectancy of trans people, period, and doing so would be incredibly difficult. In her first citation, the abstract of the report notes that the authors "had received information" from unspecified sources of the life expectancy numbers. This is my Big Beef; repeating that statistic is bad enough when it comes from trans people who are living with the threat of death (real or imagined) all the time, but now cis allies are repeating it. And not just repeating it--Eltahawy pairs the statistic with every time trans women make a major appearance in her arguments (first in her chapter on attention, where she notes that attention, a "sin" that women and girls must crave, is dangerous for trans women, and then again in her chapter on lust, where it appears alongside insisting we must consider trans women to be women) so that trans women are always alongside death in the text. This makes sense if you understand the book to be almost wholly surrounding the experiences of cis women, which it is. Eltahawy draws repeatedly on ideas regarding socialization, though she doesn't not necessarily name it as such; these sins, she insists, women are socialized away from worldwide. Yet so many of these claims are around vaginas, menstruation, and little about the experiences of socialization are interrogated with regard to gender difference (though she is careful about race in particular, and class to a lesser extent.) Women must embrace these "sins" they have been socialized away from. Early in the book, Eltahawy insists she is not interested in the damage that patriarchy does to men, which a claim which I admire to a certain extent, but then the absence of trans men and transmasculine people, and thus of the problems they pose to her feminism, mean that she cannot actually interrogate the impact of patriarchy on people who are not cis women, despite her occasional inclusion of trans women (and once, very casually, trans men.) There is no interrogation of the impact of patriarchy on nonbinary people (as if that impact is singular, and impacts equally across all nonbinary people,) though she is quick to include them in her list of "women, nonbinary, and queer people." She includes the activism work of cis gay men in her book; she includes no trans voices at all. (Her chapter on lust also seems to hold little space for asexual people, for folks interested in that, nor does she speak of the potential of sex as a space of reenacting trauma etc, but I don't know that I expected the latter.) Maybe I'm being too harsh because she hit on my Personal Specific Beef with the statistics, but I think the deployment of those statistics, and her inability to grapple with the problem that transgender people (especially trans men) pose to her ideas of feminism seem to indicate a larger problem within cis feminism. Eltahawy is not a TERF necessarily, though I think having her engage deeply in the legacies of radical feminism on her thinking would be really interesting (especially around issues of violence,) and she speaks the language of incorporation, but I'm left again with the understanding that mere incorporation without actually engaging in what the lives of transgender people (and trans women especially) entail in their relationship to patriarchy is not a feminism I find compelling.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Zsa Zsa

    Five blazing sinful lustful angry independent just fuck-the-patriarchy stars ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

  8. 4 out of 5

    Jazmine

    I think her heart is in the right place but it reads like an incoherent blog post.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Amanda at Bookish Brews

    What a fuckin good book

  10. 5 out of 5

    Sarah

    This book may be a good introduction to feminist arguments for a young teen, but will leave adult women saying "Duh" over and over again. Her points are presented in a strange and non-linear order, with a lot of repetition. She asks the reader to be surprised at common misogynistic actions. I am sympathetic to her experiences, but not surprised, and her insistence that I be surprised is confusing and off-putting. This book may be a good introduction to feminist arguments for a young teen, but will leave adult women saying "Duh" over and over again. Her points are presented in a strange and non-linear order, with a lot of repetition. She asks the reader to be surprised at common misogynistic actions. I am sympathetic to her experiences, but not surprised, and her insistence that I be surprised is confusing and off-putting.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Wendy

    "Anger is that bridge that carries feminism from idea to being, from the thought 'How the fuck is this happening?' to 'This must fucking stop.' " Yes, Yup, Hear Hear, Hallelujah to each of Mona Eltahawy's 7 Necessary Sins: Anger, Attention, Profanity, Ambition, Power, Violence, Lust. I started reading this book after my husband taped an interview of Eltahawy on morning television here in Australia and I recognized the voice, the anger, the "up with this I will no longer put," attitude that so many "Anger is that bridge that carries feminism from idea to being, from the thought 'How the fuck is this happening?' to 'This must fucking stop.' " Yes, Yup, Hear Hear, Hallelujah to each of Mona Eltahawy's 7 Necessary Sins: Anger, Attention, Profanity, Ambition, Power, Violence, Lust. I started reading this book after my husband taped an interview of Eltahawy on morning television here in Australia and I recognized the voice, the anger, the "up with this I will no longer put," attitude that so many of us have, living in the patriarchy. As familiar as my own breathing. So I started reading and how wonderful to meet this uncompromising, indefatigable, courageous woman. The book takes us through her own journey as an Egyptian Muslim woman who now lives in the US, her experiences of oppression and sexual assault. But importantly she introduces us to those brave women in many countries taking on institutionalized patriarchy, its leaders and followers. Her arguments for each of the necessary sins are indisputable and sound, backed by copious evidence and statistics. But they, of course, cause controversy because Ms. Eltahawy champions fighting back, "by any means possible" to coin a phrase used by Malcolm X about the fight of African Americans for their freedom. Malcolm X was no feminist, but his point about the ethics of encouraging African-Americans to be "peaceful" whilst living in the face of violent racism is not lost on any of us. Ms. Eltahawy's chapters (each of them) will ruffle feathers because the patriarchy mandates that women be docile-not angry, unassuming-not attention-seeking, civil and polite-not profane, satisfied with less-not ambitious, weak and dependent- not powerful, patient and long-suffering- not violent, and chaste-not lustful. And no greater proof of that than Ms. Eltahawy's visit to Australia. Whilst in Australia, Ms. Eltahawy was on a feminist panel talk show on the national broadcaster. That show has now been pulled from its catch-up platform because of the complaints of some of the audience that has the broadcaster conducting an investigation about the show. Haha. Jeez, Louise. We have a US President who swindles charities, calls white supremacists good people and grabs women by the pussy, we have an Australian Prime Minister who was fired from his job in Tourism Australia for malfeasance and refuses to tackle Climate change, but what gets investigated is a feminist panel discussion. That same broadcaster aired an interview of Trump's chief strategist, Steve Bannon, a full-on racist, with hardly a peep. It wouldn't pull that interview from its catch up option. I was not surprised. Of course, the foot soldiers of status quo politics need to silence the voices of women. Exactly as Malcolm X would have to respond to his white interviewers with their outraged questions about him advocating African Americans fight back, I saw the attempts by the female moderator to "control" the women's speech on that panel discussion. The backlash is predictable. This book asks the question Richard Pryor so hilariously intoned in one of his albums, "How long? How long? How long will this bullshit go on?" Well, Mona Eltahawy argues that waiting for those who benefit from patriarchy to give up controlling women, their speech and their bodies is a fool's errand. It is time to fight back. Have patriarchy be afraid of feminism. "And when will we revolt against our marginalized, pseudo-maverick status and assert our majority, our indispensable-to-the-species power-and I do mean power: our verifiable ability to change things inside our own lives and in the lives of other folks as well?" And rather than conforming to the rules set out by the patriarchy, to be free to create our own rules, to be profane as a weapon in the war. "Racism and bigotry are not polite, and I refuse to be polite in my fight against them." "Who does civility serve? ...I refuse to be civil to someone who refuses to acknowledge my humanity fully." Tim Minchin has written a song about the Pope, where he says "Fuck the mother-fucking Pope" at least a hundred times and in the song he says, and I am paraphrasing here, that if you are more offended by my language than by centuries of pedophilia, then you are morally corrupt. Well, people who tell women to stop saying fuck rather than listen to their stories of sexual assault, economic assault, degradation, and humiliation, then those people are NOT worthy of air time. "Patriarchy also insists that it and it alone determines when something is offensive." Yes, it does. And that doesn't include the slaughter and torture of women on a daily basis. But women being free, to say and do as they wish, that is offensive. "What would the world look like if the energy spent policing language, especially female language, was invested instead into policing the very real harm of patriarchal-and often racist-violence?" A great read. A necessary read. I think all women and girls need to understand it is okay to be angry about the confinement of their lives and learn to fight back.

  12. 5 out of 5

    kirabobeera

    Wow, you really do just get angrier and angrier with each page that you read. And angry in a good way, mind you. I felt such a resonance with Eltahawy's messages that at times I found my hands shaking as I held the book. It's a call to action for every woman and girl (and GNC and non-binary individuals) to claim herself for herself and to fight back. The seven necessary sins, as Eltahawy outlines are: Anger, Attention, Profanity, Ambition, Power, Violence, and Lust. Each chapter recounts Eltahawy Wow, you really do just get angrier and angrier with each page that you read. And angry in a good way, mind you. I felt such a resonance with Eltahawy's messages that at times I found my hands shaking as I held the book. It's a call to action for every woman and girl (and GNC and non-binary individuals) to claim herself for herself and to fight back. The seven necessary sins, as Eltahawy outlines are: Anger, Attention, Profanity, Ambition, Power, Violence, and Lust. Each chapter recounts Eltahawy's own experiences with each of these "sins" as well as stories from other women, girls, and movements around the world. Most importantly, Eltahawy focuses heavily on the middle East and non-Western countries where many of these struggles go unnoticed purely because they are non-Western. It is beautiful—and enraging—to read about the courage and the horror that exists in this patriarchal world. At times, I found myself taking a step back and thinking, "Well, perhaps there might be a better way to compromise..." but Eltahawy won't take that for an answer. She says that we should not be subservient, we should not try to make patriarchy "comfortable," we should act out and take what is ours, what is rightfully ours and what has been systemically taken away from us for years and years. Eltahawy inspired an inner rage (a "pilot light of anger," as she calls it) that readily forced me to challenge my own ideas of feminism and activism. I highly recommend reading this book to set that anger aflame, or to (in some cases,) reignite it. Challenge your ideas of Western (and non-Western) patriarchy and the many forms that it takes on. Reevaluate your own relationship with feminism and what it means to you and the women in your life. More than anything give this book to the men in your life. It will make them uncomfortable, it will challenge their own notions of "traditional" masculinity and force them to confront the ways in which they benefit from global patriarchy. There is nothing to be lost, for whomever reads this, there is only so much to be gained.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Sarah Olson Michel

    I really enjoyed certain aspects of this book - Mona Eltahawy's perspective and experiences, and especially her chapter on violence - but at times, it felt as though she wasn't saying something new. Reading this book, it was difficult to immerse myself in the text when I felt as though I were reading the same ideas I see on Twitter every day. It just didn't feel significant enough to fill a book - as if a piece were missing, or the argument that these sins are necessary didn't quite hit a note t I really enjoyed certain aspects of this book - Mona Eltahawy's perspective and experiences, and especially her chapter on violence - but at times, it felt as though she wasn't saying something new. Reading this book, it was difficult to immerse myself in the text when I felt as though I were reading the same ideas I see on Twitter every day. It just didn't feel significant enough to fill a book - as if a piece were missing, or the argument that these sins are necessary didn't quite hit a note that resonated. Yes, women are angry. Yes, they are ambitious, and they lust and cuss and lash out. So what? Men may not know this or give us enough credit for it, but women know it, and women seem to be the target audience of the book. I really loved the chapter on violence because Eltahawy's writing is persuasive and impactful and resonates with the reader. But I felt she could have said more, or shed some light on the issues she discusses that made us see them in a new way. I wouldn't read it again, but I also wouldn't shrug it off as unimportant, but Eltahawy is certainly addressing important issues for women around the world today. I did appreciate her global approach.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Oyinda

    All the stars, praise, and exaltation to Mona Eltahawy and her amazing book. I had high expectations going into this book, and I was so please that it surpassed all my expectations. I love this book so much, for so many reasons. I learnt so much from this book, including the harsh realities of women and girls in many parts of the world. I also learnt a lot about the political climate in Egypt and the government’s treatment of women. I also learnt about new amazing women fighting the feminist figh All the stars, praise, and exaltation to Mona Eltahawy and her amazing book. I had high expectations going into this book, and I was so please that it surpassed all my expectations. I love this book so much, for so many reasons. I learnt so much from this book, including the harsh realities of women and girls in many parts of the world. I also learnt a lot about the political climate in Egypt and the government’s treatment of women. I also learnt about new amazing women fighting the feminist fight, and about harmful practices against women and girls all over the world, such as menstruation huts. I felt so many things while reading this, sadness and anger topping the list. I was sad and angry about the oppression women and girls have to endure. Our only crime, it seems, is existing. There were so many lessons to take away from this book, because it shed light on so much for me. Mona Eltahawy really delved into issues regarding Islam and women, and the laws and customs women have to be subjected to in some Islam-practicing countries. I have a Muslim father and I’m no stranger to some of these laws, but the stakes are so much higher for women in other parts of the world. Issues like wearing the hijab, women leading the Muslim prayer, and praying while on your period were explored in this book. I cried so many times while listening to this audiobook and I had to keep taking breaks so I could regain my composure. Mona highlighted a lot of women and girls killed as a result of patriarchal laws and traditions in different parts of the world. Class and race were also predominant talking points in this book, as she talked about white women and where their allegiance really lies. She also talked about women who act as the gatekeepers of patriarchy. I can’t encapsulate the enormity of this book in this review, so I advise that you all read it ASAP!

  15. 5 out of 5

    Mary Anne

    This book recommendation is not for everyone. This is for the women who, as Erin Keane tweeted last year, has the feeling that ""Every woman I know has been storing anger for years in her body and it's starting to feel like bees are going to pour out of all of our mouths at the same time."" I'm not yet done with the book Seven Necessary Sins for Women and Girls by Mona Elthaway, but I feel like some of you also need this book. If your skin is quietly buzzing with righteous anger, Mona is speakin This book recommendation is not for everyone. This is for the women who, as Erin Keane tweeted last year, has the feeling that ""Every woman I know has been storing anger for years in her body and it's starting to feel like bees are going to pour out of all of our mouths at the same time."" I'm not yet done with the book Seven Necessary Sins for Women and Girls by Mona Elthaway, but I feel like some of you also need this book. If your skin is quietly buzzing with righteous anger, Mona is speaking your language, not in quiet, polite language, but with rage and judicious swearing, and the power that comes from shedding the voices telling you to be quiet, to be nice, to smooth things over. Mona is an Egyptian-born writer and is very clear that her brand of feminism requires standing against white supremacy too. Her angry fire leaps off the paper and takes no prisoners. This book is not for everyone but it is for some of you.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Jessica

    I was interested in this book when I read that the author was partially inspired to write it after being groped in a nightclub at age 50 and then beating up her attacker. But, the book is just basically RAGE AGAINST THE PATRIARCHY. And not that I don't feel that same rage as well, but I just can't live constantly being so angry I could explode at any moment. Eltahawy models the book after the seven deadly sins, but frames it as things women and girls SHOULD be doing to fight patriarchy. While I I was interested in this book when I read that the author was partially inspired to write it after being groped in a nightclub at age 50 and then beating up her attacker. But, the book is just basically RAGE AGAINST THE PATRIARCHY. And not that I don't feel that same rage as well, but I just can't live constantly being so angry I could explode at any moment. Eltahawy models the book after the seven deadly sins, but frames it as things women and girls SHOULD be doing to fight patriarchy. While I don't really disagree with her message I feel like this book would be off-putting for all but the most radical feminist. And that might be her point - to make people uncomfortable to hope they look and really see what is going on in our world. I agree with the quote, "If you're not angry, you're not paying attention." and Eltahawy brings attention to a lot of real, important issues. Overall, while I agree with most of her major points I wouldn't really recommend this one. Some quotes I liked: "Attention is power. When you command attention, you command power, and so patriarchy has muddied the waters around attention with the word 'whore.' A word intended to shame is used to convince women that to want attention is to want something shameful. Much like sex." (p. 37) "In the summer of 2018 Tokyo Medical University (TMU) was forced to admit it had 'systematically lowered the scores of female applicants to keep the number of women in the student body around 30 percent,' Agence France Presse reported...Unsurprisingly, the university blamed women for getting in their own way. The determination to limit to 30 percent the number of women admitted to the medical school, said an unnamed source to the newspaper Yomiuri Shimbun, was due to 'concerns female graduates were not going to practice medicine in employment.' [Because obviously they would have children and quit working]" (p. 89-90) "We must refuse those crumbs [patriarchy gives some women]. Those crumbs are offered as compensation for a host of oppressions that patriarchy employs to maintain itself. I don't want crumbs; I want the whole cake. And I don't want patriarchy's cake - we must bake our own." (p. 108) "If every act of violence against women were reported on the news, it would be recognized for the epidemic - the war - that it is. Instead only 'especially' violent attacks are reported and not even all of those, which tells you that society does not care and/or is immune to them." (p. 136) "The national US average prison sentence of men who kill their female partners is two to six years, while women who kill their partners are sentenced on average to fifteen years, despite the fact that most women who kill their partners do so to protect themselves from violence initiated by their partners." (p. 145)

  17. 5 out of 5

    Esra

    Simply amazing. Powered me through a difficult time in my life like rocket fuel. Should be required reading for everyone.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Tonstant Weader

    The Seven Necessary Sins for Women and Girls is an exciting manifesto to advance women’s freedom worldwide. Mona Eltahawy enumerates seven qualities necessary to their liberation, qualities considered the provenance of men and discouraged in women. That’s why she calls them sins. Women who exhibit these qualities are attacked and defamed. Not she says they are for women, not of women. Her argument is these qualities are required to free ourselves from patriarchy. The sins are anger, attention, pr The Seven Necessary Sins for Women and Girls is an exciting manifesto to advance women’s freedom worldwide. Mona Eltahawy enumerates seven qualities necessary to their liberation, qualities considered the provenance of men and discouraged in women. That’s why she calls them sins. Women who exhibit these qualities are attacked and defamed. Not she says they are for women, not of women. Her argument is these qualities are required to free ourselves from patriarchy. The sins are anger, attention, profanity, ambition, power, violence, and lust. Each chapter explains why that particular “sin” is necessary, giving examples of organizers around the world who have used those values to work to emancipate women and girls. The campaign to advocate for menstrual products for girls employed profanity, for example. The campaign for women’s access to Hindu temples during the years they menstruate used power. The book is full of feminist heroes I have never heard of and fabulous women’s organizing around the world. The Seven Necessary Sins for Women and Girls is a fabulous manifesto that encourages women to free themselves from patriarchy. Eltawahy is ambitious. She does not limit feminism to women being like men, but women being free. She points out to the power of leveraging LGBTIQ organizing and civil rights organizing by POC with feminist organizing. She shows the power of intersectional alliances and intersectional organizing. You cannot read this book and not feel fired up for freedom. I received an ARC of The Seven Necessary Sins for Women and Girls from the publisher through Shelf Awareness. The Seven Necessary Sins for Women and Girls at Beacon Press Mona Eltahawy author site https://tonstantweaderreviews.wordpre...

  19. 4 out of 5

    Dexter Lawson

    Hateful, divisive trash.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Katie

    There is much in the world that is fucking awful and the roots of that go squarely back to the global patriarchy we all exist under, because the pushes to limit civil rights and freedoms – particularly of LGBTQ folk – are the ways patriarchy attempts to control. Patriarchy harms everyone, but as Eltahawy rightly points out, it harms some more than others. With that in mind, and with her own incandescent rage firmly lit, Eltahawy wrote The Seven Necessary Sins for Women and Girls as a manifesto f There is much in the world that is fucking awful and the roots of that go squarely back to the global patriarchy we all exist under, because the pushes to limit civil rights and freedoms – particularly of LGBTQ folk – are the ways patriarchy attempts to control. Patriarchy harms everyone, but as Eltahawy rightly points out, it harms some more than others. With that in mind, and with her own incandescent rage firmly lit, Eltahawy wrote The Seven Necessary Sins for Women and Girls as a manifesto for throwing over the patriarchy in seven actions. While I found the sins themselves instructive (and not unexpected) what I was really struck with in this book is Eltahawy’s insistence on bringing as many intersectional and often underreported examples as possible to the forefront in order to illuminate examples of how each sin was needed to fight back against the harm patriarchy inflicts. It reminded me of Our Women on the Ground: Essays by Arab Women Reporting from the Arab World in that it told me stories I should have already known from a voice on the inside. Seven Necessary Sins is the call to arms twin to Anne Helen Petersen’s Too Fat, Too Slutty, Too Loud: The Rise and Reign of the Unruly Woman as Eltahawy calls us to defy, disobey, and disrupt in order to harness our power against that which denies us freedom – not to survive it, but to dismantle it. full review: https://faintingviolet.wordpress.com/...

  21. 5 out of 5

    Mosh

    This in an intense, intimidating, important, and inspiring work. Eltahawy's breakdown of how the patriarchy has oppressed people across various demographics (sex, gender, race, religion, class) is enlightening and frightening. Her attempt to globalize the issue forces the reader to think beyond their own lives and think of this on a larger scale. Much of Eltahawy's rhetoric can be viewed as militant, but that's intentional and - I think - a compliment to her. Reading this also makes me wonder wh This in an intense, intimidating, important, and inspiring work. Eltahawy's breakdown of how the patriarchy has oppressed people across various demographics (sex, gender, race, religion, class) is enlightening and frightening. Her attempt to globalize the issue forces the reader to think beyond their own lives and think of this on a larger scale. Much of Eltahawy's rhetoric can be viewed as militant, but that's intentional and - I think - a compliment to her. Reading this also makes me wonder what role - if any - I can have in this fight. I am, for the most part, everything feminism is fighting against: white, straight, and male (just add Christian and I'd be the quadruple threat). Eltahawy argues that women (cis and trans, of color and not, of every religion) need to stand up to everything the patriarchy has done and then tear it down, an effort I fully support, but wish I could do more to assist with. In addition, I have to wonder about her "no compromise" attitude. I recently saw a clip of Ellen DeGeneres explaining and justifying her friendship with George W. Bush, a man whose political view would have deprived Ellen of her right to marry the woman she loves. Degeneres defends her friendship with him by saying her mantra is to be kind to everyone, not just those with whom she agrees. But how do you open the conversation? How do you address the issues with those whose views are polar opposite? Can we agree to disagree? Not on these issues. Will Eltahawy's mentality drive a deeper wedge within our societies? I honestly don't know what the correct answer is. The only issues I have with this book are stylistic ones. Eltahawy, on occasion, turns the text to be more about her and less about the circumstances (where *she* spoke, what hashtag *she* started, places *she* went). I understand that much of this book is infused by her experiences, but I find her tone occasionally pulls focus from the issues she's writing about. I wish I had annotated this book as I read it, because many of the specifics that stood out to me at the time are escaping me. I'm left with generalities of how I feel about this book without specifics to support them.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Leda

    Empowering. Unapologetic. Rebellious. FUCK PATRIARCHY. I have been reading feminist books and authors since I was 14. Not many books can make you feel this empowered though, even less books can fuel your rage so passionately. Sure I liked all the stats, stories and anecdotes but I LOVED Mona's honesty and rightful anger. Her effort to awaken our learned repressed anger and to help us reclaim our position as women both in the private and public sphere is very much appreciated and needed! Sometimes Empowering. Unapologetic. Rebellious. FUCK PATRIARCHY. I have been reading feminist books and authors since I was 14. Not many books can make you feel this empowered though, even less books can fuel your rage so passionately. Sure I liked all the stats, stories and anecdotes but I LOVED Mona's honesty and rightful anger. Her effort to awaken our learned repressed anger and to help us reclaim our position as women both in the private and public sphere is very much appreciated and needed! Sometimes I found the book triggering, I even cried. I was called to remember vividly every exchange and experience I've had with sexual assault, harassment, and misogyny. This book hits you hard with truth: nothing will ever change if we do not actively fight back! It is extremely tiring to pretend to be polite when fighting patriarchy and to constantly convince yourself that everything can change through *dialogue* and *peace*. Although it is very convenient to be delusional about reality, we should acknowledge the war against us for exactly what it is: terrorism and everyday violence. We will not let ourselves be burned because this time the fire is ours. Ni Una Menos.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Rachel

    TRIGGER WARNING: This book contains content relating to sexual violence. To be honest, when I first received this book from a goodreads giveaway, I was unsure of whether I would like it at all or bother to finish it. Upon finishing the introduction, I was sold on the necessity to complete the book. This is a must read for all people. The Seven Necessary Sins for Women and Girls is a powerful manifesto and call to action. Eltahawy, an Egyptian-American woman who was sexually assaulted on her holy p TRIGGER WARNING: This book contains content relating to sexual violence. To be honest, when I first received this book from a goodreads giveaway, I was unsure of whether I would like it at all or bother to finish it. Upon finishing the introduction, I was sold on the necessity to complete the book. This is a must read for all people. The Seven Necessary Sins for Women and Girls is a powerful manifesto and call to action. Eltahawy, an Egyptian-American woman who was sexually assaulted on her holy pilgrimage as a teenager continues to speak against the disadvantage the standing patriarchy imposes upon women and others around the world. Her seven well-cited essays will make you continuously stop to process what you have read. She lays out who is responsible for women coming to true freedom in the world and how exactly she proposes it will become possible.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Lili Kim

    So much truth, I shared it with my class! Because this is what we need to be teaching. Notable lines: “…I own my body. Nobody else owns it: not the state, the street, or the home, not the church, mosque, or temple.” “What if we nurtured and encouraged the expression of anger in girls the same way we encourage reading skills: as necessary for their navigation of the world? What if we believed that, just as reading and writing help a girl to understand the world around her and to express herself with So much truth, I shared it with my class! Because this is what we need to be teaching. Notable lines: “…I own my body. Nobody else owns it: not the state, the street, or the home, not the church, mosque, or temple.” “What if we nurtured and encouraged the expression of anger in girls the same way we encourage reading skills: as necessary for their navigation of the world? What if we believed that, just as reading and writing help a girl to understand the world around her and to express herself within it, expressing her anger was also a necessary tool for a girl making her way through life.”

  25. 5 out of 5

    Lesley

    A necessary, eye-opening and inspirational book for all women and girls. Anger, Attention, Profanity, Ambition, Power, Violence and Lust are the necessary sins that I will continue to commit. Fuck the patriarchy!

  26. 4 out of 5

    Orla

    such an empowering, refreshing collection of essays from the one and only Mona Eltahawy i currently want to go kick a man so hard in the balls that he shits himself! 😁

  27. 4 out of 5

    Ally Muterspaw

    Wonderful, manifesto style writing that gets into the heart of how women and girls can combat patriarchy through the means of how it oppresses us. I rarely read feminism centered nonfiction that doesn't have the desire to cater to men's approval. Insightful book that has a multicultural lens. Wonderful, manifesto style writing that gets into the heart of how women and girls can combat patriarchy through the means of how it oppresses us. I rarely read feminism centered nonfiction that doesn't have the desire to cater to men's approval. Insightful book that has a multicultural lens.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Seymour Glass

    Required reading for women and femmes. Angry, forceful clarion call for change; the chapter on violence is one of the most brilliant arguments I've ever read. ETA: The day after I finished this, Harvey Weinstein has been sentenced to 23 years for his sexual abuse of women. Change is slow to arrive but it is on its way. Required reading for women and femmes. Angry, forceful clarion call for change; the chapter on violence is one of the most brilliant arguments I've ever read. ETA: The day after I finished this, Harvey Weinstein has been sentenced to 23 years for his sexual abuse of women. Change is slow to arrive but it is on its way.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Vanessa Fuller

    Yes! Yes! Yes! Feminism that is inclusive and unapologetic. Yes!

  30. 5 out of 5

    NV

    THIS is the anthem and manifesto for women and girls today. I can’t recommend this enough. “The Seven Necessary Sins for Women and Girls” by Mona Eltahawy. Hatred isn’t civil and doesn’t deserve a civil response.

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