Over the past year, I have criss-crossed the Arab world for the BBC, making a series of short films on some of the women and men who are rewriting the rules – in and out of the bedroom.
It’s easy to look at the sexual landscape of the Middle East and North Africa and see only doom and gloom, from family preoccupation with female virginity to crackdowns on LGBTQ populations to media censorship ostensibly in response to online porn.
Such hardline attitudes are reflected in opinion polls, such as the recent survey for BBC News Arabic of 10 countries in the region and the Palestinian Territories.
Carried out by the Arab Barometer research network, the survey generated a few surprises – most respondents, for instance, accepted a woman’s right to lead their country – but the overall picture was conservative and closed-minded on matters of sex and gender.
Most still think the husband should have the final say on family matters, and “honour killing” is deemed more acceptable than homosexuality in six of the seven places where this question was asked.
….Read full article at BBC