In The Arabian Nights, the king’s beguiling, virginal wife, Scheherazade, cajoles her murderous husband with 1,001 fantastical tales to save her own life. Now writer Joumana Haddad says it’s time to put the stereotype of the submissive Arab woman to death. Haddad—a Lebanese journalist and founder of Jasad, the first Arabic erotic magazine—playfully and pointedly bids Western readers to rethink their perceptions. Ultimately, she calls Arab women to embrace their strength and complexity, and to write their own definition of a new Arab femininity.
Have something to say? Send a letter to email@example.com. This article first appeared in the January-February 2012 issue of Utne Reader.