Friday, June 24, 2011

I am an Egyptian Feminist

The word “feminist” on its own is controversial. What is feminism anyway? Who counts as a feminist? Who doesn’t? what do women really want? There is so much to say in relation to one word, most of it doesn’t really have a lot of valuable meaning.



1. the doctrine advocating social, political, and all other rights of women equal to those of men.
2. ( sometimes initial capital letter ) an organized movement for the attainment of such rights for women.

The problem is men and women are NOT equal! If anything, women have to go through way too much more than men, which is okay because they are built to do that. If anything, feminism should not be about having men and women as equals, it should be about understanding and appreciating the differences, and working on making the best use of them so that everyone’s happy.
Before I start setting my ideas out, I think I should first shed the light on some ideas that fall under the misconceptions of what women want and what equality is all about. Firstly, women are not stupider than men, they are not incapable of thinking, they are not inferior scientifically, and they are not in any way less of hard workers. Graduating from a college that hardly had any girls, and the girls there hardly noticed that they were girls to begin with, including yours truly, I’ve seen how girls are treated as stupider, work less, work worse, and are commonly conceived as having to memorize first and try to get it later. WRONG! I will not go on defending these concepts because I will be honest with myself and with everyone when I say that the above applies to some girls. In the same sense, everyone should agree that generalization is a disease and people should not generalize in order not to get stereotyped themselves.
Secondly, women are not irrational, emotional, crazy, or anything else that makes them incapable of making coherent and sound decisions. Before anyone speaks up, remember your mothers who raised you and try to reconsider. Just like men, there are the women who make too much sense, and there are the ones who don’t. When women get overcome by emotion, they’re emotional, when they don’t, they’re cold. Just because it may be more common that women are prone to showing more emotions than men due to the fact that the female hormones affect that part of the brain while the male hormones make them more prone to being showy and reckless does not mean that every decision they make is because they were overcome by emotion or that when they shed their emotions aside that they are cold and heartless. The last misconception I’d like to set straight and it is by far not the last on this long list of accusations, women are not weak, they do not always need protection, they are not more vulnerable to the big bad world. Being a woman is not a cry for help or salvation, so let’s have enough of protective and dominant male for a change. As a final note, I will not go into what God given rights we women have because that would be fit for a wholly different series of posts and would not serve a purpose of opinion since they are more facts than anything else.
Now that some misconceptions are out of the way, we can get down to the business of feminism. What I’m about to say, I do not say on behalf of anyone but myself, although I know a lot of friends who agree to some, if not all of my views. The point is not to fall under the misconceptions of stereotyping all over again!
In my opinion, Egyptian women are not oppressed in any way, they are not underprivileged, they are not without rights. However, they, along with the men, seem to idolize society and its rules. If society says women are not to go out alone after dark, then women don’t go out alone after dark. If society says that women should not work, then they will not work. And if society says that women should prefer cucumbers to tomatoes, then women will prefer cucumbers to tomatoes. Society does not set rules, society creates beliefs that are shoved so deeply down our throats as children, both men and women, that it becomes strange to consider moving out of them. Some of these beliefs may be justified by ideas of safety and religion, others are purely nonsense, however we abide by these beliefs in our natural need to be accepted and to blend in. society has also given us values which are where my idea of Egyptian feminists comes from.
I define myself as an Egyptian feminist. By this I mean I am a woman who cares about the basic values and rules of the Egyptian society. I am not trying to be controversial, I am not calling out for rights that we don’t have. I believe that I have the right to work and excel at my work as long as it does not turn me into a robot and takes away from my personal life. I believe that I am smarter and more competent that some men, and that just because I work does not mean I have taken a man’s place who has the right to work and support his family. If I have taken his place, then I’m simply more competent than he is. I may not need to work for money however I most definitely don’t work for charity or to prove myself, I don’t need to prove myself better than men, I already have proven to be an equal at work even though I have to fight for that belief over and over again with some retro people who don’t believe it. I have the right to support my family if I need to, or to help support it if I need to. I have the right to improve my life by however means I see fit as long as they don’t violate any laws, legal, or otherwise. I also have the right to contribute to the world through my work. In my opinion, there are some jobs that women can’t do like construction working or iron working, which is perfectly normal because men and women are have different structures, but coming from a girl that got the comment “she has the arm of a blacksmith,” I’m in no position to judge if the woman is good at it. In other words, if I want to work, and I can work, and I do a good job at working, and I feel good doing it, then let’s see someone tell me not to work because I’m a woman!
I believe in family more than I believe in money. I’ll work hard to maintain both my job and my home and family along with a social life if I can. If I can’t, I’ll prioritize, and my personal priority is having a healthy family where I get to raise my kids not the daycares. It would be however my decision of when and how I will work my priorities not anyone else’s because no one has the right to tell me where my priorities lie, no one has the right to judge me of not doing a good job either just because I’m juggling my priorities and it’s working for me. I believe that if I’m married, my husband should understand that he should also help around with the house and the kids because I have chosen not to be a full time housewife. If he thinks it’s above him then he should make sure he shuts the door on his way out because there is so much one can take without having the pressure of criticism and pickiness hovering over our heads. I believe that I’ll do a better job at cleaning the house, but if he picks up the vacuum cleaner, his manhood isn’t really at stake here, is it?!
I believe that instead of telling girls to be careful out there on the big bad streets of the city, they should teach them self defense in schools so that they never have to be in positions of victims unnecessarily. I believe that instead of blaming girls about how they dress, they should apply the rules against sexual harassment so that all those harassers out there think twice before they consider harassing a girl on the street; we all know it is not about dress and apparel anymore but it has unfortunately become embedded in a culture that makes women victims and thus has to make men predators so that every idiot with an idea can actually become a predator since nothing is stopping him.
I believe that gossip is for people who do not understand the meaning of productivity because they care more about nosing into other people’s lives. I believe that as long as I’m minding my manners and following with the general laws of society, I should not be persecuted for any action I do. Anyone has the right to form an opinion about me or my actions, but if their opinions are going to cause me trouble, they should keep them to themselves which is my basic human right of not getting hurt for nothing which stems out from both religion and society.
Finally, I believe that I am smart enough to think and form opinions for myself even if I am a girl because having testosterone does not entail proper brain activity.
I’m pretty sure all the above seems valid as basic rights to humans and not to women specifically, which is why I want to tell the antifeminists and the hard core feminists out there: “BUD OUT!”

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