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The Seven Necessary Sins for Women and Girls

4.24  ·  Rating details ·  1,024 ratings  ·  192 reviews
A bold and uncompromising feminist manifesto that shows women and girls how to defy, disrupt, and destroy the patriarchy by embracing the qualities they've been trained to avoid.

Seizing upon the energy of the #MeToo movement, feminist activist Mona Eltahawy advocates a muscular, out-loud approach to teaching women and girls to harness their power through what she calls the
Hardcover, 216 pages
Published September 17th 2019 by Beacon Press
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 ·  1,024 ratings  ·  192 reviews

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Jul 26, 2019 marked it as to-read
If the petulant one-star reviews from men who couldn't possibly have even seen this book yet are any indication, I can't wait to read this. :)
4.5 stars

A brilliant firestorm of a book, The Seven Necessary Sins for Women and Girls acts as a radical feminist manifesto that transcends the trappings of white, liberal feminism. Mona Eltahawy takes a bold approach and demands that women access their anger, desire for attention, bodily autonomy, and more to destroy the patriarchy, no kiddy gloves necessary. She draws upon contemporary media and political examples from within the United States, as well as references powerful feminist movements
Nenia ✨️ Socially Awkward Trash Panda ✨️ Campbell

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I realized I'd fallen into the trap of only reading feminist books written by feminists who were white, and since realizing that oversight, I've really tried to expand my views and read books of feminism written by women of color. This is my second feminist book written by a woman who is Muslim (Sohaila Abdulali was the first), although it is the first I've read from an Egyptian author, and I think the way she talks about her culture an
Jenny (Reading Envy)
Sep 28, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Mona Eltahawy was born to an Egyptian Muslim family, and previously tackled misogyny in the Muslim world in Headscarves and Hymens: Why the Middle East Needs a Sexual Revolution. In this book, she takes more of a global view, and writes a manifesto for all women and girls (including trans women and nonbinary people) for taking down the patriarchy. She identifies seven "sins" that need to be committed to dismantle power structures - anger, attention, profanity, ambition, power, violence, and lust ...more
Best summarized in the excerpt "This book is not the place where you will hear the reasonable argument that patriarchy is bad for men and boys too. It is indeed. There are plenty of other books that make that argument and urge men that it is in their own interest to join forces with women to dismantle patriarchy. I refuse to focus on and will not plead with those who benefit from my oppression to join a fight against a centuries-long systemic oppression that not only hurts women and girls and al ...more
Ai Miller
Feb 11, 2020 rated it liked it
Oh folks. I wanted very much to like this book--I'm always down for a good manifesto. I found it difficult to read at first, and I'm not sure why, but then it hit one of my Absolute No-Nos, and I couldn't put it down. It wasn't a hate-read, exactly, but it absolutely clarified certain things for me about certain forms of feminism.

So I will say first: Eltahawy's rightful and righteous anger is compelling, and it's clear she's deeply invested in protecting women and destroying patriarchy as she u
Oct 25, 2019 rated it really liked it
Wow, you really do just get angrier and angrier with each page that you read. And angry in a good way, mind you. I felt such a resonance with Eltahawy's messages that at times I found my hands shaking as I held the book. It's a call to action for every woman and girl (and GNC and non-binary individuals) to claim herself for herself and to fight back.

The seven necessary sins, as Eltahawy outlines are: Anger, Attention, Profanity, Ambition, Power, Violence, and Lust. Each chapter recounts Eltahawy
Mary Anne
Oct 02, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This book recommendation is not for everyone. This is for the women who, as Erin Keane tweeted last year, has the feeling that ""Every woman I know has been storing anger for years in her body and it's starting to feel like bees are going to pour out of all of our mouths at the same time."" I'm not yet done with the book Seven Necessary Sins for Women and Girls by Mona Elthaway, but I feel like some of you also need this book. If your skin is quietly buzzing with righteous anger, Mona is speakin ...more
Supriya Kunwar
Aug 27, 2020 rated it it was ok
Shelves: feminsim
Way too many facts!
Nov 09, 2019 rated it it was amazing
"Anger is that bridge that carries feminism from idea to being, from the thought 'How the fuck is this happening?' to 'This must fucking stop.' "

Yes, Yup, Hear Hear, Hallelujah to each of Mona Eltahawy's 7 Necessary Sins: Anger, Attention, Profanity, Ambition, Power, Violence, Lust.

I started reading this book after my husband taped an interview of Eltahawy on morning television here in Australia and I recognized the voice, the anger, the "up with this I will no longer put," attitude that so many
Tonstant Weader
Sep 26, 2019 rated it it was amazing
The Seven Necessary Sins for Women and Girls is an exciting manifesto to advance women’s freedom worldwide. Mona Eltahawy enumerates seven qualities necessary to their liberation, qualities considered the provenance of men and discouraged in women. That’s why she calls them sins. Women who exhibit these qualities are attacked and defamed. Not she says they are for women, not of women. Her argument is these qualities are required to free ourselves from patriarchy.

The sins are anger, attention, pr
Dexter Lawson
Jul 01, 2019 rated it did not like it
Hateful, divisive trash.
Esra Tasdelen
Jan 19, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Simply amazing. Powered me through a difficult time in my life like rocket fuel. Should be required reading for everyone.

Oct 17, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This in an intense, intimidating, important, and inspiring work. Eltahawy's breakdown of how the patriarchy has oppressed people across various demographics (sex, gender, race, religion, class) is enlightening and frightening. Her attempt to globalize the issue forces the reader to think beyond their own lives and think of this on a larger scale. Much of Eltahawy's rhetoric can be viewed as militant, but that's intentional and - I think - a compliment to her.

Reading this also makes me wonder wh
Aug 05, 2019 rated it it was amazing
TRIGGER WARNING: This book contains content relating to sexual violence.

To be honest, when I first received this book from a goodreads giveaway, I was unsure of whether I would like it at all or bother to finish it. Upon finishing the introduction, I was sold on the necessity to complete the book. This is a must read for all people.

The Seven Necessary Sins for Women and Girls is a powerful manifesto and call to action. Eltahawy, an Egyptian-American woman who was sexually assaulted on her holy p
Lili Kim
Oct 01, 2019 rated it it was amazing
So much truth, I shared it with my class! Because this is what we need to be teaching.

Notable lines:

“…I own my body. Nobody else owns it: not the state, the street, or the home, not the church, mosque, or temple.”

“What if we nurtured and encouraged the expression of anger in girls the same way we encourage reading skills: as necessary for their navigation of the world? What if we believed that, just as reading and writing help a girl to understand the world around her and to express herself with
Dec 18, 2019 rated it it was ok
I think her heart is in the right place but it reads like an incoherent blog post.
Jun 23, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Empowering. Unapologetic. Rebellious. FUCK PATRIARCHY.

I have been reading feminist books and authors since I was 14. Not many books can make you feel this empowered though, even less books can fuel your rage so passionately. Sure I liked all the stats, stories and anecdotes but I LOVED Mona's honesty and rightful anger. Her effort to awaken our learned repressed anger and to help us reclaim our position as women both in the private and public sphere is very much appreciated and needed!
Cynthia F Davidson
Nov 12, 2019 rated it it was amazing
“The most subversive thing a woman can do is to talk about her life as if it really matters.” Mona Eltahawy

This quote was my introduction to the author several years ago and I’ve followed her work ever since. Hers is the first quote cited in my memoir, The Importance of Paris, because like Mona I once lived in Saudi Arabia, the Muslim Holy Land. And I needed this Arab Muslim woman’s help to sort through the influences of the eleven years I spent there, and the later ones, in the ‘Paris of the M
Oct 04, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: nonfiction
An actual must read. The feminismprint.

Is what I wrote at the start, but I cannot stop thinking of the violence chapter... or wherever the war thing got mentioned? I think it's just... too simplistic to brush off war as a "guy" thing. I hate war as much as the next person, but given the situations that surrounds Turkey these days? I cannot stop thinking about how it isn't really a partiarchy thing. War is a deeply imperialist, capitalist thing. So... eh. But the rest is quite good. It's like sel
Oct 15, 2019 rated it it was ok
Shelves: essay, didnt-finish
This book may be a good introduction to feminist arguments for a young teen, but will leave adult women saying "Duh" over and over again. Her points are presented in a strange and non-linear order, with a lot of repetition. She asks the reader to be surprised at common misogynistic actions. I am sympathetic to her experiences, but not surprised, and her insistence that I be surprised is confusing and off-putting.
Aug 12, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: edelweiss, feminism
A powerful book, full of food for thought and a call to action.
I think it's a must read for contemporary women.
Highly recommended!
Many thanks to the publisher and Edelweiss for this ARC, all opinions are mine.
Seymour Glass
Mar 11, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Required reading for women and femmes. Angry, forceful clarion call for change; the chapter on violence is one of the most brilliant arguments I've ever read.

ETA: The day after I finished this, Harvey Weinstein has been sentenced to 23 years for his sexual abuse of women. Change is slow to arrive but it is on its way.
Vanessa Fuller
Apr 05, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Yes! Yes! Yes!

Feminism that is inclusive and unapologetic. Yes!
May 20, 2020 rated it it was amazing
THIS is the anthem and manifesto for women and girls today. I can’t recommend this enough. “The Seven Necessary Sins for Women and Girls” by Mona Eltahawy. Hatred isn’t civil and doesn’t deserve a civil response.
Sarah Olson Michel
Oct 28, 2019 rated it liked it
I really enjoyed certain aspects of this book - Mona Eltahawy's perspective and experiences, and especially her chapter on violence - but at times, it felt as though she wasn't saying something new. Reading this book, it was difficult to immerse myself in the text when I felt as though I were reading the same ideas I see on Twitter every day. It just didn't feel significant enough to fill a book - as if a piece were missing, or the argument that these sins are necessary didn't quite hit a note t ...more
Nov 15, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I loved this book. Eltahawy structures her compelling argument in an interesting way by looking at the qualities usually discouraged in girls and women such as anger and ambition. She goes through them one by one and implores us to reject the patriarchy or as she puts it "Fuck the patriarchy". She wants to be outrageous and shock us with her profanity and her advocacy of violence but her message is well argued and makes for a fascinating read.
Nov 17, 2019 rated it really liked it
Extremely powerful and very detailed

" There are several studies that show that people use profanity are more intelligent than those who are "polite." But I don't swear because I want extra gold stars for my IQ. I swear because I insist that my language be as free as I want to be. I say "fuck" because I will own thatbwors when I want. I own my own body, and I own my own language. Patriarchy insists it controls our mouths...Fuck the patriarchy. "

" for too long, men have called us names designed t
Jelena Milašinović
Mar 11, 2020 rated it it was amazing
There are not enough words to describe how grateful I am that Mona Eltahawy wrote this amazing, powerful and emotional book. The Seven Necessary Sins for Women and Girls is one of the most important books that I've read in my life, and I cannot recommend it enough.

At the moment anything that I could attempt to write about the book itself would not be enough, not be good enough to say what I think about it, how I feel about it. It exists. It's here for everyone to read, and everyone should read i
Natalie Park
Apr 05, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: audio
This book is an inspiration and I loved the mix of passion, intelligence, anger, bravery, and compassion that this book holds. A must read!
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Mona Eltahawy is an Egyptian-American journalist based in New York. She is a feminist.

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17 likes · 10 comments
“What would the world look like if girls were taught they were volcanoes, whose erruptions were a thing of beauty, a power to behold, a force not to be trifled with?” 9 likes
“Patriarchy refuses to believe that girls and young women can be angry, attention-seeking, profane, ambitious, powerful, violent, and lustful.” 1 likes
More quotes…