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Suzy Josep Ameen: Is Egypt Ready to Let Go of the Hymen?

25.1.2018 kello 16:3018:00

As most women in Egypt face daily sexual violence, as group rape and virginity tests are methods used by state security to intimidate, silence, violate and shame women activists, ironically, women’s premarital  virginity, i.e. their intact hymen, remains, predominantly, their “whole life”.  A woman is often required to be both an embodiment of modernity via education and participation in the work force as well as a preserver of tradition through obeying exclusionary patriarchal rules of sexual segregation, veiling, and domestic roles simultaneously. Sadly, “modernity” imported by postcolonial nation states was only applied to the public sphere leaving women at the mercy of their families and an archaic sharia law which is still governing “family” jurisdiction.

The lecture tackles the question of whether challenging premarital virginity among Egyptian women could lead to their empowerment on the personal, social and political levels. The ethnographic part of the study focuses on Egyptian women activists whose lifestyles have direct consequences on their political engagement.

Suzy Joseph Ramez Ameen joined the University of Helsinki’s Gender, Society and Culture doctoral programme in 2017. She holds an MA in Gender Studies from the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London, and an MSc in Film Studies from the University of Edinburgh.


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