Literature, Poetry & Art


Some of the first expressions of feminist thought before it was even called that have been immortalized in creative works such as writing and art. One woman's words and ideas could take on a greater meaning as they became circulated among other women. It has been a source of power and activism in places where women are not usually in the public eye.


Iraq: Creative expression of Iraqi women.

Palestine and Israel- Sherna Berger Gluck wrote An American Feminist in Palestine: The Intifada Years. This book explores four months of living in Palestine as an American Feminist. Gluck narrates personal encounters of Palestinian lives and how they are affected by the Palestinian-Israeli Occupation. The book is dedicated to Palestinian women.

Lebanon


Due to Lebanon's position as an educational center for the Middle East, it has consequently attracted a large amount of artists and writers who thrive in the environment of social debate and convergence of philosophies. Because of this environment, one can find a large assortment of art galleries and publishers in Beirut. A list of art galleries in Lebanon, I have labeled a few on the map. Also here is a women's organization called Nour Arab Women Association which focuses on women's issues, publishing books on health and a variety of other topics writers in, you can find an extensive list at lebweb.com which will include a variety of publishers who deal with a variety of genres and writers.
Visit the Lebanon part of the wiki to learn more about Lebanese artists and writers.


Syria

Syrian women have used literature and poetry as a part of their feminist activism. Women have particularly used literature to tell their stories and speak about their individual experiences. Literature acts as the voice of Syrian women as religious laws and traditions attempt to silence these them. Writing can be used a way to express themselves without any restraints to reach both men and women to create empathy for a deeper understanding of what these women go through.

~*~ Syria Homepage ~*~


Saudi Arabia


Morocco
The largest selection of literature on the subject of feminism in Morocco is written by the widely known feminist, Fatima Mernissi. Please follow the link to read more information about this woman and her works, including Dreams of Trespass, a memoir of her life during the harem years in Morocco.
Moroccan Poetry is beginning to be recognized internationally for its beauty and for the rare glimpse into the minds and world of Moroccan women and men. The following link: Moroccan Poetry is a great site to begin with if you are interested in seeing poetry by Moroccan women as well as men.
As discussed under the topic of education, most Moroccan women, especially those in rural areas, can't read. Oral storytelling is an important part of Moroccan culture and has served as a way for women to not only entertain each other, but also to share stories of courageous, powerful heroines, such as Aisha in the folktale “Who is Cleverer: Man or Woman?” found in Opening the Gates. However, even folktales told by women to women can “subjectify women to a patriarchal ideology,” according to Yasmina Sarhrouny who has analyzed two Berber “wondertales.”
In Morocco, women's clothing is often concidered an art form, and rightfully so, with the intricately embroidered scarves and sleeves and even undergarments. A girl's dowry would often consist of embroidered cloth pieces for the home (table cloths etc.) and clothing. Other textiles were often embroidered and some older pieces sell for very large prices throughout the world. (http://moroccanmaryam.typepad.com/my_marrakesh/2006/12/morocco_and_tin.html). Like many other middle eastern counties (as well as African etc.) henna or mehndi is also a treasured traditional artform, one that has been spreading to the west and becoming immensely popular. Morocco has its own traditional patterns for henna to be used in weddings, births, and many other ceremonies or times in a woman's life (henna is not usually used on men.)