The idea for this book came about during a conversation I had in 1993 with a Somali refugee who had formed a London-based Somali organisation. On the day in question this normally calm man was clearly preoccupied. It emerged that he had recently learnt that his wife, who had stayed in Somalia when he fled the country, had been captured by militia, imprisoned in a villa with many other women and girls, and repeatedly raped and sexually violated for months during some of the worst violence in Mogadishu in 1992.

Recently reunited with his wife after two years he had found her greatly changed. She had been unable to tell him about her ordeal but had eventually confided in a female friend.

This woman’s experience pointed to a side of the Somali conflict that the outside world, and many Somalis themselves, were largely unaware of – the extent to which gender-based violence, most notably rape, had been used to prosecute the war.

It was this story that led CIIR to begin research for a book with the aim of ensuring that women’s experiences of gender-based violence in the war would not be forgotten. Early on in the research for the book, however, it became obvious that there was much more to tell about the impact of the war on women’s lives. It was also clear that one of the most powerful ways to document such history was for Somali women themselves to tell it. The result is this book, which seeks to contribute to understanding about the war’s impact on women as seen through the eyes of women themselves. Here women write and talk about the war, their experiences, and the difficult choices, changes and even opportunities the war has brought. In the process they describe the position of women in Somali society, both before and since the war.

The contributors come from different parts of Somalia, including the towns of Brava, Mogadishu and Baidoa in the South, the region of Puntland in the north east, and Somaliland in the north west. Also represented is the Somali-speaking region of Kenya’s north east, and Somali women refugees from the vast Somali diaspora in Yemen, Canada and Britain. That the book contains more contributions from women of northern Somalia and pastoral cultures than from the south and non-pastoral ones is the result of difficulties in collecting

contributions rather than of intentional bias. Together the individuals represented here give an insight into most sides of Somalia’s clan divisions. They met as a group for the first time at a workshop in the UK in 1997 to share their views and develop the book’s themes.

Some of the contributors are academics and researchers, some are health professionals, social and community workers, teachers, artists. As educated, professional women they represent a tiny minority among women in Somalia where female literacy is around 12 per cent. But what they speak of is relevant to the majority of Somali women. The war has rocked, and in places cracked, the foundations of society – the family – and in Somalia women, whatever their relative wealth or poverty, gain their social value from their role as wives, mothers and sisters.

All of the contributors have been forcibly displaced by the war; many have become refugees or asylum seekers; some still are unable to return home and remain refugees. Others have built new lives for themselves in parts of the country where they may have had no previous experience but where, because of their clan identity, they are relatively safe. Almost all have endured agonies of separation and loss. For most, their nuclear family – mother, father and children – has been riven by the conflict between clans, forcing them to make heart-breaking decisions in order to save themselves and their children. For many this has meant separation from partners and children as each sought refuge in their own clan territories or outside the country.

The contributors have in common their experience as war – affected women. But most also share a resolve to overcome their adversity and help others by whatever means they can. ‘I lost everything and witnessed killings and saw dead people lying in the street’, says one. ‘I became traumatised and suffered from stress and deep depression yet somehow I developed an inner strength and have not given up hope.’

Some of the stories in this book are painful to read and some material will upset many Somalis who may believe it shames their culture. Many contributors struggled with the rights and wrongs of talking about certain events but concluded that it is more important to tell the truth than protect cultural sensitivities. The accounts in this book are part of a wider collective memory of the war. It is a memory still being built more than 10 years on: as the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP)’s 2001 Human Development Report for Somalia notes, sexual violence remains a critical issue in many parts of Somalia. On the positive side, there are Somali human rights organisations in Somalia today where none existed before the war and some are trying to tackle the issue of sexual violence. The Dr Ismail Juma’ale Human Rights Centre in Mogadishu, for example, monitors and records incidents of sexual violence. Hopefully the work of such organisations will help prevent a recurrence of the kind of atrocities that happened in the early years of the war.

Judith Gardner

Our biggest thanks go to the women whose words are published here, for allowing their experiences and topics of study to be shared through this book and for their patience while the text was being finalised. We were in contact with many more women than are represented in this final version, and we would like to thank all those who showed an interest in the book and who helped along the way. These include Zamzam Abdi, Faiza Jama, Sara Haid, Faisa Loyaan, Sacda Abdi, Amina Adan, Qamar Ibrahim, Safia Giama, Faduma Mohamed Omer ‘Halane’ plus Anab Ali Jama and the other women of Sheffield Somali Women’s Association and Welfare Group.

Thanks too to all those who shared their expertise and helped to shape the final manuscript: Amina M. Warsame, Dr Adan Abokor, Faiza Warsame, Mark Bradbury, Adam Bradbury, Judith Large, Pippa Hoyland, Ruth Jacobson and Dr David Keen; and to Joy Lawley for her invaluable commitment to the project over six years.

Among those whose voices are missing is Zeynab Aideed, whose oral account of her experience as an internally displaced person was one of the inspirations behind the book.

This book was made possible through the generous funding support of the Department for International Development, Comic Relief, NOVIB, Christian Aid, CAFOD, UNICEF Hargeisa, and ActionAid Somaliland.


My father (Tom), "new" mother (of twenty-four years, Lee), and sister, Gail, offer a base of love and stability from which all my writing flows. Watching my father traverse his eighties with skis and tennis racquets offers me hope; seeing him suppon my mother through bouts of cancer teaches me love; feeling us grow closer as we grow older brings me peace. Watching my mother go from a hospital bed to a church organ strengthens my own faith and courage; experiencing the way she listens has modeled for me the glue that unites a family while allowing each member to feel heard. Knowing that my sister has patience and compassion for the children whose lives she touches through teaching lightens my worry for our future.

Joyce McHugh has managed my in-home offices, computers, and speak­ing engagements, and served as a closet editor – weaving precision, clarity, and flow through every page of this book during its dozen or so drafts over the past four years. Marilyn Abraham, my editor, has the soul of an earth mother and the editorial axe of a warrior, and seems to know exactly when to use each. Her faith in this book remained steadfast even as it became its own child.

Every chapter of this book has haunted me as I saw how my observations conflicted with what is considered politically correct (PC). The support of three people – Nathaniel Branden, Jeremy Tarcher, and Elizabeth Brookins – helped me past the political cowardice that is PC. Nathaniel s intellectual strength, Jeremy’s creative social consciousness, and the balanced insight and love of Liz combined to remind me that although I beat a different drum, it brings balance to the orchestra.

The letters from hundreds of men who wrote that Why Men Are the Way They Are put their feelings into words assured me that the direction I was taking was helping men open up, and letters from hundreds of women who wrote that Why Men Are the Way They Are allowed them to feel closer to men reassured me that 1 was deepening love rather than dividing families.

Lisa Broidy and Dayna Miller searched thousands of publications and double-checked the accuracy of the more than 1,000 sources in this book. When in the future / read their writings, 1 will trust what 1 read. Thanks also go to Maria Robb and Mary Colette Plum for their research assistance, as

well as lojulianna Badagliacca, Monika Chandler, Melissa Rosenstock, Karen Wilson, and to Richard Doyle for his careful legal research in his publication The Liberator

Special thanks are due Steve (Goss) Asher for his daily supply of clippings, to Steve Collins for thoughtful commentary and tireless double­checking of data; to Eugene August for his balanced commentary to most every chapter; to Donna Morgan and Spring Whitbeck for bringing their gifts of gentle peace to office management; and to Keith Folan for introdu­cing me to the computer.

This book was greatly enhanced by the insights of thirty additional readers, including the in-depth commentary of Suzanne Frayser, Ron Henry, Natasha Josefowitz, Aaron Kipnis. Judy Kuriansky, and Sari Locker, as well as to the chapter reviews of Rob Becker, Randy Burns, Tom Chad – bourne, Ferrel Christensen, Deborah Corley, Greg Dennis, Sam Downing, David Gilmore, Herb Goldberg, Bruce Hubbard, Rikki Klieman, Ziva Kwit – ney, Alex Landon. John Macchieno, Roman Mathiowetz, R. L McNeely, Becky and Tony Robbins, Chris Ruff, Jim Sniechowski, and Bill Stephens.

Consultants such as Devors Branden, Helen Fisher, Maurice Friedman, Fred Hayward, John Hoover, Joseph Kinney, Michael Mills, Marilyn Milos, Jim Novak, Joe Pleck, Jon Ryan, Murray Straus, Ivan Strauss, Robert Wade, and Richard Woods have all added to both my knowledge and the book.

Finally, in addition to Marilyn Abraham, I wish to acknowledge the dedicated efforts of these other "Simon & Schuster Women": Dawn Marie Daniels, Joann DiGennaro, Marie Florio, Eve Metz, Victoria Meyer, Carolyn Reidy, Isolde C. Sauer, and Jennifer Weidman.


Once seen as synonymous with ‘anti-feminist’ postfeminism is now understood as the theoretical meeting ground between feminism and anti-foundationalist movements such as postmodernism, post-structuralism and post-colonialism.

In this clear exposition of some of the major debates, theorists and practitioners, Ann Brooks shows how feminism has moved away from its foundations in the liberal humanist models of the Western Enlightenment since the period of the Second Wave and how the challenges of subaltern discourses have forced it to redefine itself and to become more responsive to a range of political and ethical challenges. Individual chapters look at postfeminism in relation to

• feminist epistemology

• Foucault

• psychoanalytic theory and semiology

• postmodernism and post-colonialism

• cultural politics

• popular culture

• film and media

• sexuality and identity.

For all students looking for guidance through the sometimes murky waters of contemporary feminist theory, this book will provide a reassuring first port of call.

Ann Brooks is a Senior Lecturer in Sociology at Massey University, New Zealand.


Looking across the array of ongoing public debates concerning television, it is striking to note how fiercely contested the ones revolving around human sexuality and its representation tend to be. From one society to the next, alarm bells are recurrently being sounded, not least by those intent on holding television culpable for undermining what they consider to be proper moral values or standards of taste and decency. Typically, much is made of the perceived power of television to influence public attitudes unduly in this regard – witness, for example, the extraordinary furore ignited when singer Janet Jackson’s ‘wardrobe malfunction’ left her breast briefly exposed on US television. ‘It took the Bush administration 10 months to launch an inquiry into the apparent failures of intelligence in the lead-up to the war on Iraq’, remarked journalist Marina Hyde at the time. ‘It took them less than eight hours to launch a full-scale probe into the apparent failure of Jackson’s undergarments in the course of a televised performance during the Super Bowl halftime’ (Guardian, 7 February 2004).

Jane Arthurs’s Television and Sexuality is a welcome exploration of this hotly con­tested terrain. It succeeds in drawing together disparate strands of critique into an innovative interpretive framework, always with an eye to engendering fresh insights into the cultural politics of sexuality. In the course of showing how – and why – the boundaries demarcating what it is appropriate for television to depict are fraught with tension, Arthurs devotes particular attention to the ways audiences are addressed as both sexual citizens and sexual consumers. Accordingly, she examines how different television genres – including comedy, drama, news, current affairs, science docu­mentaries and ‘soft-core’ pornography, among others – legitimize, to varying degrees, certain uses and pleasures for imagined communities of taste within the constraints of wider regulatory codes. Television in a digital age, she argues, has a crucial role to play both within the personal sphere in the formation of our sexual selves and as a public sphere that contributes to political debate about sexual practices and their


representation. Indeed, it is in unravelling the connections between the personal and the public, she believes, that television’s impact can be most effectively discerned for analysis. In charting ways forward, Television and Sexuality seeks to challenge familiar assumptions about sexual citizenship in ways that resist the dangers of state paternalism without, at the same time, capitulating to the narcissistic individualism of consumer culture.

The Issues in Cultural and Media Studies series aims to facilitate a diverse range of critical investigations into pressing questions considered to be central to current thinking and research. In the light of the remarkable speed at which the conceptual agendas of cultural and media studies are changing, the series is committed to contri­buting to what is an ongoing process of re-evaluation and critique. Each of the books is intended to provide a lively, innovative and comprehensive introduction to a specific topical issue from a fresh perspective. The reader is offered a thorough grounding in the most salient debates indicative of the book’s subject, as well as important insights into how new modes of enquiry may be established for future explorations. Taken as a whole, then, the series is designed to cover the core components of cultural and media studies courses in an imaginatively distinctive and engaging manner.

Stuart Allan