Gendering the Politics of Alienation: Arab Revolution and Women’s Sentiments of Loss and Despair


Jabiri, A. 2018. Gendering the Politics of Alienation: Arab Revolution and Women’s Sentiments of Loss and Despair. Feminist Review. 117 (1), pp. 113-130.
AuthorsJabiri, A.

The article suggests that from the start of the revolutions in the Arab region in late 2010 a connection between the law, state, political economy, gender norms and orientalist
ideology has formed the foundation of women’s systematic exclusion from politics. As a consequence, women’s alienation from politics – a necessity for the restoration of
old regimes of power – took on various forms, including: externalising, exceptionalising, and celebrating women’s revolutionary acts and contributions to revolutions. This article examines these processes that created the ideological and
material conditions of women’s alienation, estranging their political involvement and exposing them to various forms of violence
The article suggests that alienation of women from revolutions relied on gender normative ideology to create women’s supposedly unique and distinct interests; according to this ideology, women attempt to satisfy such interests through dancing, nikah al-jihad or the desire to be sexually harassed. Women’s power and needs were
moulded as distinctly different from those of men. Hence, forms of alienation diminished women’s roles as initiators, producers of revolutions, rendering women apart. This article shows that, whilst forms of alienation differed in various political phases and often contradicted each other, the intent of each form of alienation was to show a defect, a mistake in women’s acts, and thus establish the supposedly ‘correct’ characteristics of women protesters based on women’s intrinsic nature. Through this, gender normativity was reproduced to serve the political class(s)’s specific interests,
2 determining the linkages between the alienation of women from politics, the alienation of the revolution from its people, and the entire sphere of politics. The sphere of politics not only relates to political activism and conflict between revolutions and counterrevolutions, it is also a battlefield for the (re)production of knowledge.

JournalFeminist Review
Journal citation117 (1), pp. 113-130
PublisherPalgrave Macmillan
Accepted author manuscript
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)doi:10.1057/s41305-017-0085-4
Web address (URL)
Publication dates
Online16 Mar 2018
Publication process dates
Deposited08 Aug 2017
Accepted11 Apr 2017
Accepted11 Apr 2017
Copyright informationThis is a post-peer-review, pre-copy edit version of an article published in Feminist Review. The definitive publisher-authenticated version Jabiri, A (2017) Gendering the Politics of Alienation: Arab Revolution and Women’s Sentiments of Loss and Despair. is available online at:
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