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The Seven Necessary Sins for Women and Girls

4.17  ·  Rating details ·  360 ratings  ·  78 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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 ·  360 ratings  ·  78 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. :)
Nenia ⚡ Aspiring Evil Overlord ⚡ 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 and
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 ...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 ...more
Rebecca McNutt
Oct 06, 2019 rated it it was ok
I think any decent man would agree that sexual harassment and inequality towards women and girls is wrong. This book is a slap in the face to equality, and it's so caustic, spiteful and reaching for a fight that I'm not even sure I would personally consider it "feminism" in any true sense of the word. This book does make some good points which need to be talked about and addressed, especially regarding the way we view modern feminism and women in the world, and that's very important. ...more
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
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 ...more
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
Nashwa S
Nov 24, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: nonfiction
I think we need people like Mona Eltahawy in the world. She talks about the hard truths without sugarcoating it for anyone. Being a journalist for many years, the author has been arrested and intimidated and now talks about seven ways women need to destroy the patriarchy. Not work with it but to scare the patriarchy and giving women the space they deserve.

I think this book should be required reading especially for men who seem to think that women don’t have it that bad or men’s rights are
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,
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
Dexter Lawson
Jul 01, 2019 rated it did not like it
Hateful, divisive trash.
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
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
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
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.
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
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
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.
Sara Wilson
Oct 27, 2019 rated it it was amazing
An important work! I loved it and I am so glad I listened to Eltahawy read it!
Jennifer Stoy
Wonderful. A loud, profane and angry manifesto against the global patriarchy in all its forms.
Oct 12, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Articulated a thought I've had about violence and who is sanctioned to use it.
Sarah Olson
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 ...more
Oct 06, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Just read it.
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. As a reader, I am sympathetic but not surprised and her insistence that I be surprised is confusing and off-putting.
Dec 22, 2019 rated it it was amazing
6 out of 5 stars!!!!!!!
I honestly can't believe how there aren't many people talking about this book (just 221 ratings and 52 reviews???? What the heck??????) since it talks about such an important topic. This book isn't just about feminism, it's about the brutal consequences of patriarchy for us all, it doesn't really matter how you identify yourself as.
I honestly can't explain
Venessa ✨

There have been books about women's anger being used as a catalyst to fuel a movement (Good and Mad: The Revolutionary Power of Women's Anger and Rage Becomes Her: The Power of Women's Anger immediately come to mind), but nothing in this genre comes close to The Seven Necessary Sins for Women and Girls in terms of practicing what you preach. I listened to the audiobook, read by Mona Eltahawy herself, and I could hear the anger in her voice as she talks about the injustices women face, and it
Sep 29, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
some chapters fit their titles thematically better than others, while others seemed to cram a lot of not-quite-related topics together (such as "Lust" being both about claiming sexual bodily autonomy and also queer or gender non-conforming identities which are not necessarily related to sex at all) but I don't know how much of that was just wanting to stick with the 'seven necessary sins' framing of the whole book versus the writing being a little sloppy. i do think that Eltahaway's writing has ...more
Christine Kayser
Dec 26, 2019 rated it liked it
I got this as my first book in the Feminist Book Club subscription. It was a difficult read at times, as you might expect, but it felt like an important read. I was disappointed in the chapter on the first sin as it revolved around how to raise our girls that way. As a childless woman, I couldn't connect and it was a struggle to get through to the next chapter.

I enjoyed it overall and agree with her premise that there are some things women aren't supposed to do, according to society, but I had
Esther King
Jan 09, 2020 rated it really liked it
The perfect book if you’re looking to break free of the chains of the endless streams of white feminism, this covers the seven deadly sins in relation to feminism and the movement beyond America. The election of demagogues around the world is discussed, and the potential of women to overthrow those who have been long-term persecutors through patriarchy is a fascinating concept. There’s a lot to be learned from this book, not least of which is simply allowing oneself as a woman to feel the ...more
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Mona Eltahawy is an Egyptian-American journalist based in New York. She is a feminist.
“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?” 5 likes
“ is imperative to understand how civility, decorum, manners and the like are used to uphold authority...and that we are urged to acqquiesce as a form of maintaining that authority. Whether we are urged to be civil to racists or polite to patriarchy, the goal is the same: to maintain the power of the racist, to maintain the power of the patriarchy.” 1 likes
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