Feminism in the Middle East: An analysis into Western, Islamic, and Secular Feminism


  • Ananya Vohra Arts Undergraduate Student




Middle Eastern Politics, Liberal Feminism, Islamic Feminism, Secular Feminism, Orientalism


This article showcases the diversity of feminism in the Middle East and its effects on Middle Eastern women, particularly Muslim women. I argue that though Western feminism has provided important conceptual tools for understanding and fighting patriarchal systems, it has ultimately supported the othering of Middle Eastern women. As such, Islamic feminism and secular feminism have played an important role in discrediting Western generalizations. In this paper, I first explain how the logic of Western feminism is inherently rooted in Orientalism, promoting an inaccurate and oppressive image of the Middle East. I then illustrate how Islamic feminism has been used significantly to conceptualize feminism within Islamic traditions and religious beliefs. Lastly, I showcase the prominent discourse between Islamic and secular feminism to prove movements are important to women’s liberation and can benefit from joining forces.