#DearSister And #MosqueMeToo

By: Dilyana Mincheva  

In February 2018, the Cairo based Egyptian-American journalist, gender activist, and writer Mona Eltahawy tweeted in response to the already viral social media campaign #MeToo her Muslim-specific and inspired by personal experiences response: #MosqueMeToo. Eltahawy described how she was sexually assaulted during pilgrimage to the holy spaces of Islam in her teenage years and invited other fellow Muslim women to share their experiences of assault on social media. #MosqueMeToo is in fact a continuation of a 2017 viral hashtag campaign, #DearSister, which Eltahawy initiated as a response to an email written by a stranger who attempted to rectify her Islam. Both #DearSister and #MosqueMeToo campaigns aim to provide virtual platform for the voices of these Muslim women who are expected to submit to practices of patriarchy, misogyny, and sexism, wrongfully framed as Islamic by religious scholars, peers, and cultural communities. In this paper, I analyze the digital archive created by Eltahawy’s campaigns and her broad journalistic activism within the framework of feminist utopia. As all utopian thinking, Eltahawy’s project has its radical horizon, which is positive and, perhaps, in a climate of political division, much needed: the concept of global feminist uprising led by Muslim women and women of colour, but articulated in universal language of relevance to women everywhere. Yet, Eltahawy’s project has its dark and dangerous sides: its insistence on a particular pathway to liberation may lead to closed singularities, exclusion, and further division. This ambiguity is at the centre of my analysis.

Islam, Feminism, Utopia, Solidarity, Twitter, Facebook
Media Cultures
Paper Presentation in a Themed Session

Dr. Dilyana Mincheva

McMaster University