Thursday, March 31, 2011

Vriginity Obessesion

I wrote my last post on the usage of the virginity issue in the Egyptian political scene, I considered it sexualistaion and objectification of women, but these lofty words are not enough to describe the pains and the tragedies associated with virginity issue. The ugly face of the patriarchal society we are living in appeared again , that unfortunately the issue of virginity seems to be dominant on the agenda of the Egyptian politics lately. Recently brutal facts appeared, thanks to the great efforts of El Nadeem center of rehabilitation of the victims of violence. El Nadeem center uncovered the crimes committed by the army against the female detainees of the break into of Tahrir square on the 9th of March. The testimonies showed that the army doctors violated the bodily and sexual rights and integrity of the female detainees by testing their virginity .

To cut it short , let's say that this is beyond disgusting , and it shows the obsession of a whole society by inch of membrane and the rooted tendency to evaluate women according to their sexual activity . I really cannot imagine what parochial mentality can control a society to judge women morality according to her usage of her vagina. I cannot see more humiliation than the virginity test which classify women either into respectable women or whores .

I strongly believe that women have the full and free well to discuss how , when and with whom to have sex, and I think that the obsession of women " honor" is just attempt by the family, partner and the community to impose their control on women and regulate their behavior according to what so called social norms .

The obsession by virginity reminds me with the chastity belts in the medieval times , that when a society categorize women according to the existence of their hymens or not , it is exactly the same like hanging unseen chastity belt in each women genitals and taking the keys from them . The unseen belt might be based on religion or tradition, but whatever reasons behind it this unseen belt , it transforms women into a commodity to be evaluated , sold and enslaved.

I am not pro or anti pre martial sex, however I am a vocal advocate of women autonomy , women should decide whether or not to be engaged in sexual relations and the consequences of their decisions should not stigmatize them .

Finally , I am still traumatized and speechless that the state of women's hymen can be used against her in a legal case in a court in Egypt, I cannot believe that woman can be judged because she decided to exercise my rights over her own body. I know that virginity is a taboo in Egypt and it will still be for very long time, but taboos are not eternal facts , they are moveable yet resisting rocks . I wish that one day our society will come to an understanding that the autonomy of women is not promiscuity and it will not disturb the balance of the universe .

Honor of a woman is beyond blood and felsh

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

the virginity and the constitution

My friend Doaa Abd elAal sent me a video of amending the constitution, which is the hot political topic in Egypt. The opposition to this amendments called  it trail to rebuild the constitution, but the term used in Arabic was "Terqee'" aka rebuilding the hymen.

And that was visualized in a video of a woman seems not " good enough " according to the Egyptian conservative standard and she was described that she was doing all what she wants , mainly having sex before marriage . The scene after that an innocent bride and her groom and the video ends by you deserve better than that.

The bottom line is this is sexism, the Ad used the women sexuality and judged women who choose certain choices that that is not accepted by the society that the are not " good " women, I just want to ask why this primary questions is still valid, I feel that many things changes and some things seems to be unmovable rocks like the issue of virginity.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

replying on the Anti Million Mrach article by Marwa RAKHA

I read Marwa Rakha post on the Million women march. I enjoyed reading the opposite point of view of mine; I felt she is saying everything I am disagreeing with.

Lets start with the holding the march itself, i believe that the women who struggled to achieve the liberty of Egypt side by side with men should not be banned from claiming their right to public sphere to advocating for their rights as women and as citizens, we can debate whether the time is appropriate to hold this march or not but Marwa discourse of refusing any women marches is just not logical and denying women their rights in the public sphere.

Another point was raised that the people who harassed the women rights activists are not the Jan25 people, who said we were expecting those people, we knew before the protest that the ordinary Egyptian citizen will be there, with all the complexity of misogyny and patriarchy and those are the people who the feminist movement will be targeting in its struggle to end discrimination in Egypt, we had many good, valid rational discussion yesterday with many women and men, I remember a discussion I did with a woman she approached me and she said I seem like a good girl , mainly because I am veiled and she said to ma women have gained every single rights, go home and mind your business, I used the family law deficiency to show her theta legal reform is needed and she agreed with me. Yes the situation escalated and yes there were some feminists very snoppish and they were rude and provocative, but these are personal manners not be questioned when you address a movement.

I have to say that the problem that I found with Marwa's article is her part when she said if a woman is happy in her suppressed life, I as a feminist should not bother to fight for her. I have to admit this is a very weird critique and a very weak one to a main principle of feminism which is the women sisterhood, that a feminist can advocate for other women rights if they are encountering discrimination even if the woman is not aware by what she is facing, educating her, articulating her interests and advocating for her rights is the core of feminism.

I am still advocating for calling for women rights as women and as citizens and I think that’s the argument which is saying that feminists are representatives of delegates of women is just too ridiculous that I can not even argue with .

Women in Egypt are and will be visible with many different point of views and that the beauty of the Egyptian feminist movement

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Women day march : between overwhelmed and brutal

I came to the internet café, tired from carrying the banner, I was thinking I will get rest then go back to the "celebration". It was planned to have bands playing. But rather something else happened.

In my rest and happiness while writing the last post, the misogynist demonstrations which were a combination of thugs or regulars people started to be very provocative, they shouted male protesters that they should wear veil as sign of their femininity and that they are gays because they are supporting women cause. On the other side the long provocative pathetic dialogues between the protesters and the regular people on the street started to get violent verbally, they started calling them whores, agents of Suzanne Mubarak and the west. Then the harassments, I mean the physical ones started, when I was listening to the stories of the "survivors" I just recalled the organized sexual harassment crime in the referendum of 2005, I remembered when sexual harassment is the weapon against women.

So the fear made everyone leave the square and we were scattered in Cairo streets. What a day, it was weird I felt very optimistic in the beginning in the march from the press syndicate to Tahrir, It was liberation, then I had mixed feeling, I was irritated by the feminist divas and I was annoyed that the regular women are not there it was very elitist, I hated the mania of western media to cover the event, and then I started to be frustrated and angry when Egyptians played the wicked game of using religion to suppress women and the ending sentence for this dramatic day was brutalizing women.

Since the beginning of revolution my favorite words were "overwhelmed" and " brutal", I was half skeptical, half optimistic, now I feel there that Tahrir ethics was temporary and we are back to earth , Tahrir and all Egypt streets is not heaven we have to fight as hard as it get to achieve equality



Women March day 2011 diaries

Today I was heading to Tahrir square, again to protest.

This time I will protest against the despotism, lack of full citizenship and the weak fake democracy we are witnessing and I add to my list special things because today is the international women day I added patriarchy and misogyny

Today is the million march for women rights, let's start that the name is super duper optimistic, million chanting for women rights is a wild dream for Egyptian feminists, may be after a longer battle that number will be a reality. This is my first disappointment I went in time to the press syndicate to attend the march with the Coalition of Women Ngo which Nazra is part of. The important figures of feminist civil society came , the main stream civil society did not show up only few here or there and that’s typical women rights is not on the agenda of the human rights movement, they put is other reasons

Then I was distracted by the amount of the media and that they want to take some photos of a weak demonstration and go to their offices, and that lead to a shadow demonstration stealing from the lights of our demonstrations .

then the glorious moments started , we walked from the press syndicate to Tahrir square and I felt powerful and empowered , I was carrying slogan of a civil non sectarian , non religious state and I was happy that this is the streets of Egypt , the notorious streets of the harassments , and talking about a harassments , stupid guy took advantage that I am looking forward and he scared me and he excreted the anger in my, he was rescued by other protesters, he thought a typical move like this will scare a girl and make her scream, I did screamed but in anger.

Anyhow back to the glory, we invaded the streets and we owned it then we started to collect the piece of the protest in Tahrir, and we are chanting for constitutional, legal and political equality, and for full citizenship

The happiness did not stay for long time, the anger in the streets and the fierce replies to the chants of women rights chants, many misogynist reaction were raised, like women place is home , go and cook and politics is men work

Then I am tired and chilling up in the internet café , I will be writing more

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Million March for women

I have to start saying I do not like the annual celebration of the International Women day and I see it uncreative and quiet lame, the women rights Ngo gather with a small audience to talk about women rights, but as everything in Egypt , things are changing.

This year the women rights activists and feminists are organizing a Million March on women rights.

Many might say that this is not the right time to talk about certain sectors of the society and we should build a home land to every one women and men, I would say that yes it is time of raising the slogans of equality, justice and citizenship and acknowledge the role of women in doing so in their international day and later on in their national day in 16 of March. We should learn from the history of the feminist movement , they participate in 1919 and they were participating in post 1952 coup but then they were brutally silenced , women will not be silenced in this revolution .

Women are asking for a better Egypt for everyone, they will call for equal participation in drawing the political, constitutional and legal future fore Egypt, they confirm that they are against fundamentalism and militarization. Women will not only call for the eradication of violence against women but also for the full citizenship for the Egyptian minorities.

We will call for rights for everyone not only women

Friday, March 4, 2011

Meeting my first sweetheart

Today is the religious wedding of my dearest school friend, I am very happy for her, that she is happy and she found a right match too.

I hate the weddings whether it is the social and the religious, they both are built on exploitation of fake emotions, and I like the small controlled gatherings with warm talks and real engagement with family and close friends.

Many school mates were there, we all changed, I did not see couple of them in a while, the life took us in different ways, and still we try to meet every now and then. This time was different, I met my first sweetheart there, he was the same just looking more masculine and more mature, and he introduced me to his wife. She is just a nice girl, ordinary eyes, I had a kind first impression about her, but I also noticed she is typical the girl that I refused to be like her, she is just too peaceful, easily guided , obedient only a house wife with no perspective, I do not despise house wives , but that is my night mare .

I felt in love with him when I was 15, we were in the debate team and I still remember his arguments against women work and good for him he applied it in his life. He is married to a "good" woman from his point of view. I felt bad that I was alone without a date; I felt that I chose my life and I found a good man to accompany me in my life trip, even if he is not there physically.
i am happy that i had the right to choose and i am happy with my choice