I am currently working on an art project in relation to my doctoral thesis which focuses on cyberfeminism and democracy-building in the aftermath of the Arab Spring. I am particularly interested in the blatant “gender paradox” following the series of uprisings, which was evident in women’s limited political representation and access to decision-making in the post-revolutionary context in spite of their active participation in the Arab Spring revolutions. Such a paradox was also evident in the extreme violence directed against female protestors during and after the uprisings, and the backlash against many of women’s already secured rights- that is from before the outbreak of the Arab Spring. As part of an art project I undertook last semester, I attempt to represent/convey the idea of the “gender paradox” through several images and photographs where I act as the main “protagonist” to symbolize the idea of the “aborted” gender revolution. I have also produced a video compilation featuring all these photographs, where many women, including both activists and non-activists, “speak back” to the work to share their insights and tell more stories of the revolutions. In this work, I not only draw my inspiration from these digital stories where women tell their painful stories of the revolution, but also from interviews I conducted with several feminist activists throughout the region during the past four years to convey this idea of the backlash against women’s rights in the aftermath of the uprisings and the necessity for the gender revolution to continue.
Cyberfeminism, North Africa, Arab Spring, Democracy-Building, Gender Paradox, Gender Revolution
2019 Special Focus: The Future of Democracy in the Digital Age
Ph.D. Candidate and Course Instructor, Communication, Concordia University, Canada