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Beach Politics

Beach Politics: Gender and Sexuality in Dahab

Mustafa Abdalla

The objective of this study is to explore sexual interactions between Egyptian men and foreign women in Dahab, South Sinai, and their constructions of sexuality, risk, and reproductive health. It examines these interactions at the intersections of globalization, tourism, and the hegemonic demands of family and gender within the Egyptian society.

Central to my analysis are the ways in which working class Egyptian men living in Dahab rely on their sexuality as a survival strategy in the face of an increasingly globalized economy. It argues that in the cultural context of tourism and class struggle in Dahab, ‘urfi marriage and sexuality emerge as counter-cultural strategies for surviving poverty in Egypt in the face of an increasingly globalizing economy.
It further shows that the gender struggles that emerge between these Egyptian men and foreign women complexify colonial theorizations of sexuality that highlight relations between European men and native women in modified and post-colonial forms. In Dahab, foreign women negotiate their sexuality as simultaneously class privileged tourists and targets of Egyptian patriarchy, while Egyptian men confront the violences of globalization on white women’s bodies.