Pre-thinking:

As you watch, pay attention as to the double standards for men and women in the Arab world. Note the different expectations for men and women. Try to connect sex and sensuality to the bigger picture of cultural expectations.  Are women seen as inferior? Why is having an occupation with a considerable income looked down upon for woman? What is the result?

Why you should listen:

Dividing her time between London and Cairo, TED Fellow Shereen El Feki works on issues related to health and social welfare in the Arab region — including intimate attitudes toward sexual (and political) freedoms, as explored in her new book, Sex and the Citadel.

Who is she:

Half-Egyptian and half-Welsh, El Feki was brought up in Canada. She started her professional life in medical science, with a PhD in molecular immunology from the University of Cambridge, and later worked as healthcare correspondent at The Economist. She also is a former vice chair of the United Nations’ Global Commission on HIV and Law. While she has worked in regional media as a presenter with the Al Jazeera Network, and continues to write on social issues in the Arab world, her passion lies in projects that aim to better understand, and surmount, the social challenges facing Arabs, particularly young people.

Questions:

  1. Why does looking in their bedrooms tell you more about a person then say their occupation or looking around their living room?
  1. Is sexual conservatism in the Arab world in any way similar to what parents in the United States would teach or expect of their daughters?
  1. What does she mean about marriage being a mask for prostitution?
  1. Explain how a culture that is so conservative with sex can have  a book called the Encyclopedia of Sex written by religious scholars?
  1. How long would it take for a sexual evolution to become a culturally normal view?
  1. What is the relationship between sexuality and politics?

A little-told tale of sex and sensuality with Shereen El Feki

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