Virtual Gender: Moroccan and Saudi Women’s Cyberspace

in Hawwa
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Abstract

This paper looks at how Arab Muslim feminists have deployed Facebook and blogging in recent years as a tool for networking with other feminists and forming different groups. It offers an analysis of the ways Muslim women in Morocco and Saudi Arabia converse online about issues of gender and Islam in the present globalized context. Their topics of discussion include their personal legal status, discourses on feminism, redefining gender roles, sexuality, and a range of other issues. Facebook and blogging allow these women to speak freely to one another and encourage them to form groups. These platforms are useful not only for coalescing around key social and political issues pertaining to women, but also for initiating social change. Women utilizing online social networking are using new forms of feminist discourse—and the technology to fuel such discourse—to promote change from within. What is also happening is a revolution in the way these women are approaching Islam. They are turning to Facebook and blogging not only to debate, discuss, and explain their religion to people who do not understand the concept of Islam, but also to learn about the rights of women elsewhere.

Virtual Gender: Moroccan and Saudi Women’s Cyberspace

in Hawwa

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Dave Eickelman“Inside the Islamic Revolution,” in Revolutionaries and Reformers: Contemporary Islamist Movements in the Middle East ed. Rubin Barry (Albany, NY: State University of New York Press2003) 204.

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