A blogpost I would write if I weren’t busy prepping for teaching and grading papers

by zunguzungu

I would start with the example of Bill Maher mansplaining Mona Eltahawy on his show the other day (on how she should be afraid of the Muslim Brotherhood), I would then briefly gloss the idea of “mansplaining ” – noting, in passing, some of the conversational topographies of its use on the blogosphere – and I then would move on towards Saba Mahmood’s point in her Politics of Piety that the assumption that a woman should adopt a certain attitude towards something like “Islam” not only relies on a particular (and usually very limited) definition of Islam, but also presumes that “woman” has a particular set of interests, which a (usually male) secularist can then proceed to explain to her, in the process assuming (in classic mansplaining fashion) a knowledge and authority he does not have, but can rely on his (usually white) maleness to provide him with as he lectures someone like Mona Eltahawy, who even though she is like eight times smarter, more articulate, informed, and charming-er than him, labors under the burden of being not a white-male-real-American, and who therefore is not quite as knowledgable as him. This is the only explanation for why being an Egyptian woman is precisely the reason why Mona Eltahawy needs to be told by Bill Maher what an Egyptian woman should think/fear/believe/do.