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Saving the Modern WomanPolitics of Gender during Egypt’s Transitional Period

Saving the Modern WomanPolitics of Gender during Egypt’s Transitional Period This article looks at how specific gendered practices and ideas about female bodies were instrumentalized in the struggle for political authority during Egypt’s transitional period between 2011 and 2013. It argues that in the aftermath of the uprising, when Islamists won the parliamentary and presidential elections in Egypt, the figure of the “modern” woman gained renewed political significance. By exploring Egyptian English-language women’s lifestyle magazines, the article illustrates how socioeconomically privileged, Cairo-based women crafted “modern” female bodies and engaged in what Lila Abu-Lughod calls the “politics of modernity.” By delving into the world of Cairo’s wealthy and fashionable producers of lifestyle magazines, the article shows how specific bodily techniques and vocabularies of neoliberal feminism helped construct the idea of a “modern” woman. The “modern” female body then provided a location from which other bodies, considered traditional or not yet modern, could be judged. During Egypt’s transitional period, it was not the victimized Muslim woman who needed to be saved but the modern woman who felt that her lifestyle was under attack from Islamists. Based on an analysis of visual images and discourses, the article provides a contemporary example of the use of “modern” gendered subjecthood in creating hierarchies between women. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Journal of Middle East Women s Studies Duke University Press

Saving the Modern WomanPolitics of Gender during Egypt’s Transitional Period

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Copyright
Copyright © 2023 by the Association for Middle East Women’s Studies
ISSN
1552-5864
eISSN
1558-9579
DOI
10.1215/15525864-10256155
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

This article looks at how specific gendered practices and ideas about female bodies were instrumentalized in the struggle for political authority during Egypt’s transitional period between 2011 and 2013. It argues that in the aftermath of the uprising, when Islamists won the parliamentary and presidential elections in Egypt, the figure of the “modern” woman gained renewed political significance. By exploring Egyptian English-language women’s lifestyle magazines, the article illustrates how socioeconomically privileged, Cairo-based women crafted “modern” female bodies and engaged in what Lila Abu-Lughod calls the “politics of modernity.” By delving into the world of Cairo’s wealthy and fashionable producers of lifestyle magazines, the article shows how specific bodily techniques and vocabularies of neoliberal feminism helped construct the idea of a “modern” woman. The “modern” female body then provided a location from which other bodies, considered traditional or not yet modern, could be judged. During Egypt’s transitional period, it was not the victimized Muslim woman who needed to be saved but the modern woman who felt that her lifestyle was under attack from Islamists. Based on an analysis of visual images and discourses, the article provides a contemporary example of the use of “modern” gendered subjecthood in creating hierarchies between women.

Journal

Journal of Middle East Women s StudiesDuke University Press

Published: Mar 1, 2023

References