About the author and blog

This is the personal blog of Alicia Izharudin, a Senior Lecturer in Gender Studies at University of Malaya in Kuala Lumpur.

I graduated with a PhD in Gender Studies from the School of Oriental and African Studies in London in 2015 where I studied the gender politics of Islamic filmmaking in Indonesia. Before embarking on a life dedicated to Gender Studies, I was a geneticist and biochemist after receiving a first-class degree in Molecular Biology from the National University of Malaysia. I pursued a Masters by Research in Biochemistry in Oxford University and visiting position at the Scripps Research Institute in San Diego before turning to postgraduate studies in Gender Studies with a specialisation in Southeast Asian Studies at SOAS. I joined University of Malaya in 2015.

In 2017, I became a Carnegie Council for Ethics in International Affairs Pacific Delegate in Indonesia and National Focal Person for the ASEAN Intergovernmental Commission on Human Rights (AICHR) in a regional public policy framework on women and natural disaster. In 2019, I took up a Research Associate and Visiting Senior Lecturer position at the Women’s Studies in Religion Program at Harvard Divinity School.

This blog charts my intellectual life from 2008 – the year I made the full transition from the biological sciences to social science and humanities. It began as a place where I practised my writing on feminist issues and where I learned to develop my voice. Over the years it became much more than that as I personally transformed from a reader of feminist books to blogger to feminist scholar. The tone of writing in this blog has also changed, marked by frequent absences as I grappled with my identity as a young scholar.

The blog has become an archive of my intellectual development and political views. I don’t think my feminist views have changed very much except they have become much more academically informed over the years. My blog was also conceived as part of a mission to create resources on gender and sexuality in the Malaysian context, it is twinned with my Wikipedia efforts in English and Malay.

I hope my blog is a useful resource for people who are interested in feminist debates and issues related to gender at the intersection of religion and culture. It is a place for conversation and I look forward to having with one with you!

For interviews and queries of an academic nature, drop me a hello

alicia [dot] izharuddin [at] gmail [dot] com

Follow me on Twitter


28 thoughts on “About the author and blog

  1. Salaam alaikum Cycads,
    You ought to have a email link on your site somewhere so people can communicate with you administratively.
    Along those lines, I figured you might be interested in speaking out against the National Fatwa Council of Malaysia’s fatwa against tomboyism (assuming you disagree with it).

    Story is here:

    My own denunciation of it here:

    By the way, love your site. I too found it through MMW and now check in regularly to see what’s new. Yours is a very cool voice in the mix of the Islamsphere.


  2. Salaam,

    Thanks for the link! I find it outrageous that there’s even fatwa against so-called ‘tomboy-ism’! Firstly, being a tomboy is completely subjective – from having really short hair, liking sports, finding boys smelly, not liking pink and make-up, or generally just being a little on the rough side can all go into the tomboy basket.

    Secondly, perhaps fear of women behaving like men, and thus possessing qualities undeserving of women i.e. defying authority/patriarchy underlies this fatwa.

    And lastly, this idea that tomboy-ism and alleged lesbianism is really about the intolerance towards this evil and non-existent thing called female sexuality. This reminds me about the case many years ago of two women, Rohana and Azizah, getting married in Malaysia. Before they made the headlines, the ‘tomboy’ of the two (can’t remember which one) disguised as a man in order to get married.

    Their marriage was eventually annulled, the tomboy was ‘rehabilitated’ into becoming a ‘normal’ woman, and later made the news again after declaring that she intends to marry a man and confessed that she had led her former partner on. All of this got a lot of attention unlike a quickly forgotten news story soon after about two men getting married in secret.

  3. Great blog.

    Had to comment after reading the comments above and your post on mail order brides.

    My wife is Asian (Japanese). She’s not subservient, not demure, totally the opposite of the “Asian-woman stereotype.” She also happens to be a tomboy.

    Thought you might be interested in my most recent post, “Life with a Japanese Wife” at japaninsight.wordpress.com



  4. Thanks for the kind comments, Tim. “Life with a Japanese wife” does sound interesting! My boyfriend should write something like that. But I’m quite sure that it’ll read like a Gothic horror story.

  5. I appreciate your post about Malaysian mail-order brides. I…tend to be a very vocal opponent of mail-order marriage. Nothing could be more mercenary and delusional. To me, it’s a sign of incompetence and cowardice.

    Anyways, good day to you.

  6. [smile]…I found your little blog during a good search for clothing style of egyptian and arabic women for a story I’m creating.

  7. Salam;

    saya sudah baca artikel saudari di merdeka review. secara prinsipnya, saya bersetuju dengan isi tulisan saudari dan terutamanya tatacara agensi-agensi kerajaan menangani ‘hu-ha-hu-ha’ penganjuran seksualiti merdeka serta tuduhan-tuduhan liar yang melampau seperti ‘pesta seks bebas’ dsb. yang mana telah mengakibatkan objektif pengajuran SM yang dimulakan pada 2008 itu telah dipesongkan 360 darjah dan saya masih lagi berfikir, siapakah yang mendapat keuntungan dengan segala mak nenek riuh rendah ini.

    dan, perkasa sekali membuktikan kejaguhan rasisma mereka dan istiqamah menjadi jaguh pula dalam mewujudkan ‘ketegangan yang tidak perlu’ dalam pola kemasyarakatan majmuk tanahair yang sudah sedia dan senantiasa kacau dengan konflik politik PR-BN.


  9. hi

    i am also a researcher. currently on state feminism….
    glad to have people with similar interests because there are way too few people to share thoughts on feminism back home….


  10. Very nice write-ups. Strong point of view that cuts through the skin and makes a patch with the inner soul. Maybe right, maybe wrong; in any case I find the words written with honesty. Works for me.

    Now, Lee(my Made In China Puppet crow) & me, we’re going to cover(as in really cover) Malaysia in mid-July and it’d be great to get some perspective from you. Oh and, I’m spectacularly spectacled.

  11. Always find your articles very interesting and well grounded.I send my best wishes thro Greg to you. As a woman who have been in the feminist struggle for decades, it is frustrating for me to realise that such struggles have been quite confined mainly to the urban English educated Middle class women. Did not seep to the working class women,thus preventing the spreading of feminism into a ” movement.” With the backlash of patriachal conservatism, it further impedes understanding of feminism among the general malaysian population. All in all, i wish you the best of luck in your endeavour. Cheers. Rohana

  12. Hi! I just started an instagram page dedicated to Malaysian social issues, particularly for Malaysian women. I am very pleased to have found your blog! I will always reference you of course if I were to take any information from here. I wish you all the best! Hope to see you if you ever areange another feminist gathering.

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