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 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.
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.