Politics4Her presents a new section: Women4Reading, where the talented, educated, and avid female bookworms share reviews. This is an opportunity to encourage women from all around the world and all backgrounds to read more and therefore discuss literature pieces with a feminist lens.
Joining our team of beauties with brains and women warriors we have Aicha El Alaoui and Hajar Habi.
My name is Aicha El Alaoui. I grew up in Morocco but I am currently studying International Relations at King’s College London. During my studies, I have realized how important it was for me to better understand the world around me through different perspectives. The interdisciplinary nature of my bachelor allowed me to explore philosophy, political science, economics, and law to analyze the complex yet fascinating dynamics shaping our daily lives. As time went by, I developed a particular interest in the political economy of the MENA region which I hope to specialize in eventually. I have often been told that politics/IR is not for women because of gendered assumptions on feminine/masculine careers. Frustrated by these beliefs, I became interested in feminist thought and more specifically in the impact of language/discourse politicization on gender inequality.
I have been an avid reader since my early years of childhood as my grandfather taught me to read before starting school and shared with me his love for learning with excitement and passion I will never forget. When he passed away, he left behind an impressive collection of books including rare editions and a library with thousands and thousands of gems. Having the privilege to keep his literary treasures and my everlasting love for books growing day after day, I feel endowed with a sense of mission to spread this passion for reading and discovery which has shaped me into who I am today. This is why I have chosen to create my own book blog along with my bookstagram a few months ago to share the books that I read and interact with fellow bibliophiles! I am beyond excited to start writing book reviews on this blog where I aspire to share my thoughts on both works related to my field of study and literary delights I loved.
My Favorite Book of All Time: “The Unbearable Lightness of Being”, by Milan Kundera
A Book that Changed my Life: “Quiet”, by Susan Cain or “A Thousand Splendid Suns”, by Khaled Hosseini (so hard to choose!)
My Favorite Feminist Book: “Bananas, Beaches, and Bases”, by Cynthia Enloe
My Favorite Quote: “To love. To be loved. To never forget your own insignificance. To never get used to the unspeakable violence and the vulgar disparity of life around you. To seek joy in the saddest places. To pursue beauty to its lair. To never simplify what is complicated or complicate what is simple. To respect strength, never power. Above all, to watch. To try and understand. To never look away. And never, never to forget.”
– Arundhati Roy
My name is Hajar Habi, I’m 34 years old. I was born and raised in Casablanca, Morocco. I didn’t study politics and I was never interested in it. Politics was a synonym for lies and a continuous struggle for power I didn’t understand. Later, I studied economics when all I was really passionate about were astrophysics and philosophy; fortunately, I could still continue educating myself on these topics through reading. Books have always been there since my early childhood, they entertained me as a kid and when I started looking for answers to my existential questions as a teenager, I turned to books again. The right to life should be followed by the right to education, it is at the same time a right and a responsibility. I personally don’t know any other way to (peace)fully exist that doesn’t start with understanding the world around us and each other in all our diversity. As an introvert, literature has always been my natural habitat and the opportunity to have passionate discussions about everything that mattered to me: the meaning of life, justice, dignity, freedom…
I have always been a feminist, as a woman who grew up in a highly patriarchal society, it is difficult to escape sexism on a daily basis. Being a feminist is nothing more than asking for my right to live as an independent soul that is not in any way defined by men’s perception, needs, wishes, desires, fears, apprehensions, worries, or lack of self-confidence. In September 2018, I decided to take a break and moved to Viêt Nam where I joined a social enterprise, our mission was empowering young women in Viêt Nam and Laos through sustainable tourism. It was a very rewarding experience but I was still worried about my own country’s issues and how I could contribute to support my own community, aka all patriarchy’s victims but also reduce social injustice, educate and share knowledge, change mentalities… I have shared book reviews on Youtube since 2012, I used to read all kinds of books but I focused on feminism and race issues over the last few years. I also became aware that everything is political and to quote one of my favorite podcasts “Intime & Politique”, “Saying “I”, for a woman, is political.”
My Favorite Book of All Time: “Vilnius Poker”, by Ričardas Gavelis
A Book that Changed my Life: “Surveiller et Punir”, by Michel Foucault
My Favorite Feminist Book: “King Kong Théorie”, by Virginie Despentes
My Favorite Quote: “Rather than love, than money, than fame, give me truth.”
– Henry David Thoreau