Book Summary

Headscarves and Hymens

Why the Middle East Needs a Sexual Revolution

Introduction: Open your eyes to the systemic oppression of women in Arab countries.

Arab women live amid hostile, misogynistic environments.

When it comes to misogyny, Arab women and Western liberals remain largely silent.

While there are many reasons to wear a headscarf, Arab women have little choice in the matter.

Virginity is held sacred, thus Arab girls are “protected” with dangerous, often deadly, genital cutting.

Arab women face sexual harassment and physical abuse both in public and at home.

Arab feminists are using the internet to reach out to other women, sparking meaningful change.

Even during liberating revolutionary movements, women have had to combat sexual violence.


Every day, women and girls in Islamic countries suffer horrific abuse and repression while the world looks the other way. To encourage change and achieve equal rights for women, Arab women need to claim their rights and Westerners need to stand with them in solidarity.