Shame a Litmus Test to the Revolutionary Affects: the Female Protestor and the Reconfiguration of Gender Normativity


  • marta agosti SOAS



Egypt, sexual violence, rape, gender, affects, social movements


Tahrir Square was the critical event that prompted a new generation of Egyptian feminist and human rights activists to join citizens in the streets to claim a new social and gender contract. While female protestors were an essential part of the revolution, their bodies powerfully triggered the economy of shame to ostracize some activists and to underpin, as Williams explains structures of feeling that sidelined the need to address rape in the square. This paper argues that the female protestor is a focus of political violence whose experiences illuminate the matrix that sustains and normalizes sexual violence in a society. This allows us to connect female body politics with broader socio-economic and political conflicts and with processes of state reconfiguration in marginal/liminal spaces.


marta agosti, SOAS

Marta Agosti
holds a PhD in Social Anthropology from SOAS University of London. She conducted fieldwork from 2014 to 2016 in Cairo among young secular feminists groups; as a practitioner, she has been working and researching in the Arab Region since 2005 for NGO’s and United Nations (UNFPA) and lived in Cairo from 2008 to 2016. Her research has focused on gender, body politics and citizenship, which resulted in her thesis The Female Protestor: Sexual Violence and the Making and Unmaking of the State in Egypt post January 25, 2011 in 2018. With a BA in Humanities, Marta also holds a masters degree in development by the Universidad Complutense of Madrid.





agosti, M. „Shame a Litmus Test to the Revolutionary Affects: The Female Protestor and the Reconfiguration of Gender Normativity“. Middle East - Topics & Arguments, Bd. 14, Juli 2020, S. 66-76, doi:10.17192/meta.2020.14.8247.