Saturday, January 23, 2010

Women, Sexuality and name calling.

I have always being questioning why the people obsessed with sexuality; I know that is a very vital part of our human nature. Why all the degrading swears are related to the sexually oppressed persons, whether it is a female in heterosexual relation or gays in homosexual relation (this is the mainstream patriarchal vision of roles in sexual relation). Why is important to act sexually in a socially approved manner, although sexuality is so private and it is confined in the private sphere and why gender roles in sexual relations are prescribed by the society and it is very challenging to resist this pre-made roles or figures.

A recent accident influenced my thought. I was going to the office early in the morning in a rush hour of crowded Cairo. I was crossing the road slowly in a green light; a man in fancy car was horning to me to cross faster to let him pass although his light was red. I just thought that he is violating my right so I walked slowly on purpose. He called me "Labwa" the lioness. I was angry and almost said a nasty word. But the policeman intervened and told him it is her right to walk in the green light, and watch your mouth. I looked to the man in a very rough way and left peacefully physically, and emotionally hurt, for committing no guilt. I just claimed my right n the street.

"Labwa" is a nasty word, because it means that a woman is sexually very active and if one partner is not fulfilling for her, so she might engage polygamous relation, she is breadwinner, she hunts the animals, while the lazy male lion is enjoying sun and flexing his muscles. And she is the main care giver; she is taking care of the babies. So the moral of the story in a nutshell is do not be economically independent, do not be sexually proactive and do not express your desires to your partner and do not search for satisfaction if your partner is not fulfilling you (I do not believe in open inclusive relationships and I believe in monogamous relationships, however I see people still have the right to adopt the kind of relation which suits them).
So although the man told me "Labwa" to insult me, however I was quite proud to called "Labwa" because it denotes that I am an independent women, I do not gain my legitimacy and agency from being attached to a certain man and I am the one to judge how much I am satisfied or not in my relation and I have the right to exist from and relation and seek satisfaction with another partner, if not fulfilled.

This is a humble attempt to deconstruct the name calling, social stigma and its relation with women and sexuality. I am sure that there is literature on this topic; however I think we need to highlight such questions and create new answer sensitive to our current lived reality, to add our own contribution to the feminist thought. We need to construct feminist epistemology to confront with the mainstream common patriarchal cultural norms on sexuality and its accepted or rejected gender roles and figures I think we need to rethink the rationale of name calling and why do we attach social stigma to the oppressed: sexually, economically and ethnically.

To be followed with other posts, about the change of accepting homosexual relations and sex workers. And body issues and politics of veiling and revealing in the contemporary Egyptian society.

Personal note: I am astonished that I am discussing this in public. I am adopting a new strategy to get the private public. Bare in mind that comments are monitored on this blog. Offensive unconstructive comments are not welcomed. So save my time and yours.

I dedicate this post to two of my dearest friends Maria, who suffered once from my obsession by, swears and Mozn for bearing me as a very disturbed and nagging friend for more than 7 years. Thanks ladies!!!

Stay tuned!!



Cairene said...

Interesting observation ya Fatma :) but I want to also add to this a couple more points:
- Basically social stigma of men by calling them "women curses" is in my opinion related to the motherly relation a man has with his mum, the mother's honor, or basically her existence as the woman symbol in his life, makes the social stigma related to women when men are cursed a deep feeling, of shame, and so on.
Another point, concerning the man calling you "L" I don't think he knew any of the definitions you said, he probably know that she's sexually active, thus wrong, thus it's a curse, again why do men in our society brag about being sexually active, while sexually active women are cursed!
I think we can find a hundred observations in daily incidents, only that I think not every private matter can go public =)
Keep us posted, and always write :)

Fatma Emam said...

i agree with what you said, i am happy that i had the courage to talk about such subject, also writing in English is helping to overcome the social judgements.
no way i will publicise everything,
كدة الفضايح ها تبقي علي عينك يا تاجر

mozn said...

Congratulation Toty you became a third wave feminist ya 7abibty
as you know I love private issues to be discussed publicly but at the same time we have to bare in mind why men with all their social background saying so
He said so because he can not see you or any woman other than sexual object ,
I do think we have to be emotionally independent and not to be just a reaction for men
any way, I appreciate your courage to discuss such an issue and thank you for dedicating your post on sexuality for me :)

Fatma Emam said...

wallahi shokran ya set zoona :D
i am the third wave ya fandem, not only the public private pinary, but the celebration of the authenticity and questioning it as well
ya zoona i tagged you because you highlighted the rationale of name calling specially when it comes to women sexuality. thanks for the hints and the support