Mona Eltahawy returns to AEWCH to say: FUCK THE PATRIARCHY!

18 Aug

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Friends, does this show have value to you? If so, I ask that you support it on Patreon! The show is funded exclusively by listeners like you, and your contribution is vital and deeply appreciated!Want to buy the books mentioned on this ep? Go to my booklist for AEWCH 121 at It will  help support independent bookstores, and the show gets a small financial kickback, too. 

The tremendous anarchist feminist writer, Mona Eltahawy, returns to Against Everyone With Conner Habib to talk with me about masks, bodily autonomy, poetry, and more.
Mona’s latest book, The Seven Necessary Sins for Women and Girls, is a tour through international feminist resistance, and it is powerful. Her first book, Headscarves and Hymens: Why the Middle East Needs a Sexual Revolution is a total eye-opener.
Her first appearance on AEWCH 50, was the turning point for the show and for me personally; we deepened the conversation on the show permanently – we walked without small talk right into the un-illuminated contours of sex and feminism and patriarchy and autonomy and assault.
This episode is no different.
It is filled with intensities and new discussions on freedom and its nuances and challenges. Are bodies private and if so, how do we make them private without supporting concepts of private property? Should we organize with conservatives? When should we wear masks and when should we take them off? What do we do if sexual assault is subjective, not objective?
One thing I made sure to include was the fierce love of art Mona and I both read poems to each other; Mona chose June Jordan’s excellent “Poem About My Rights” – which she reads so passionately and beautifully! And I chose CP Cavafy’s lonesome “Walls”.
This is an intense episode, and it begins and ends with the direct message: FUCK THE PATRIARCHY


  • Are masks a sort of veiling?
  • Can we organize with enemies?
  • What are many different kinds power that oppress us that make organizing a choice between a rock and hard place?
  • The marginalized and vulnerable people forgotten on all levels.
  • Why poetry matters now.
  • Inventing the power that our freedom requires.
  • Karma as a political perspective.
  • Why equality is not enough.
  • The walls we build around our own lives and the ways we self-stigmatize.
  • Are bodies private or public? And what would it mean if we said, “my body doesn’t belong to you, and yours does not belong to you?”
  • The trifecta of misogyny: state, street, home.
  • “If your community is ready for you, you’re already too late.”
  • Why I haven’t posted nude photos for a long time.


• For more on Mona: Mona has a patreon and she posts so much writing and so many videos on there. If you like her work, please do support her support her Patreon! Mona has also given a hugely popular TEDTalk about being a Muslim feminist , and here’s Mona’s famous essay, “Why Do They Hate Us?

• Here’s information on Barnes vs Glen Theater Inc., the Supreme Court case that said the state of Indiana could enforce g-strings and pasties because if they didn’t, the world would fall apart.

• I talked about the commonwealth of desire and bodies and property on AEWCH 120 with political philosopher Michael Hardt. And I wrote about some of it in my essay about utopianist Charles Fourier. I also talk about it with Sophie Lewis on AEWCH 106.

Shulamith Firestone is a daring and important thinker, and has influenced many of my guests.

• Hilma af Klint is such an incredible painter (see some of her works below) and was influenced by Rudolf Steiner (click here and use the translate option if you don’t speak German for more about af Klint’s esoteric life).

• Here’s what is probably my most popular essay, about how an ex-boyfriend couldn’t deal with me being a sex worker, and how that mirrored culture’s problems with porn: “What I Want To Know Is Why You Hate Porn Stars.”

• I talked about the ethics of consent at length with UK feminist writer Laurie Penny on AEWCH 64.

• If you want a briefing on the despicable smearing of Alex Morse via the degradation of sexual assault, here you go.

• Everyone should read Gayle Rubin’s writing, especially, “Thinking Sex: Notes for a Radical Theory of the Politics of Sexuality“.

• If you missed AEWCH 39 with Lebanese novelist Rabih Alameddine, well, um, don’t! It’s great!


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