One Lebanese woman is trying to resurrect Arabic erotica — again

Published May 31st, 2015 - 08:53 GMT
Activist Joumana Haddad is a renowned writer, but one of her accomplishments often goes under the radar. (AFP/File)
Activist Joumana Haddad is a renowned writer, but one of her accomplishments often goes under the radar. (AFP/File)

Activist Joumana Haddad isn't just known as a writer; she was listed as this year's "world's 100 most powerful Arab women" for her prolific work, most famously "I Killed Scheherazade: Confessions of an Angry Arab Woman."

But Arabian Business' acknowledgment of her influence failed to include one particularly controversial work of hers: starting the first Arabic erotica magazine.

Beirut-based print magazine Jasad stopped publishing in 2011, only three years after it began. This December, the renowned editor-in-chief wants to make a comeback.

Haddad had her own struggles with addressing erotica in the Arabic language. In her interview with Bitch Magazine, she said she learned to write erotica in French first. When she began writing in Arabic, she did it to "reclaim" her native language.

"The violence that has been imposed on the language has also been imposed on the minds of Arab people. You grow up in a society where you are scared of words, scared of thoughts, scared of acts," Haddad told Bitch Magazine. 

Ultimately the goal of the magazine is to be more open about women's sexuality in a respectful way, and to demonstrate the Arabic language can be used to convey these scenes — no hemming, no hawing


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