Friday, June 8

A Woman for Love

She is the woman in the past of every Egyptian man. She is the one in the shadow. She hides in his imagination and memories. She is the woman who is cursed for being smart, or talented, or independent, or free thinking, or daring, or beautiful. She is attractive and intriguing. She's the one with whom you can never get bored, and with whom you can really have a conversation going. She may have a sense of humor and a quick wit. She may understand you from a glance and she may get under your skin in a blink of an eye. She's all that a man dreams of.. in love, only love, just love, no more.

When it comes to having a family, a man totally shifts his criteria. He wants the meek, the shy, the conservative, the veiled, the dependent, and, most important, the submissive. He wants someone who can never be his equal or pose a challenge to his mind. He looks for someone who is born for the home, with no ambitions of her own, no ideas of her own, and certainly no individuality. He looks for his mother, who was always there to take care of everyone while forgetting herself in the process.

It is amazing how the same man forgets his old love and what used to like in a woman. The spark of intelligence in his woman's eyes he now finds scary. How can he live under the same roof with such a tigress? How can he tame a woman who has her individual personality and independent thinking? She poses a threat to his manhood. She will never practice the blind obedience of his mother and grandmother. And she will definitely cause trouble.

But do these factors mark her as unfit to be a wife? I believe, in our male dominated society, they do. An Egyptian wife has a specific image. It is like a mold, if a woman can't fit into it, then she can't become a wife. If she really wants to have this "honor" she has to give up all her qualities and conform to societal demands. She has to become the typical woman who only cares about cooking, cleaning, satisfying her husband and getting him children. She must follow the footsteps of her master and never take decisions on her own. She must agree that she is less than him in everything. And she must raise her male children to think that she, as well as their sisters, are less than them.

So it's a woman's destiny to lead a life of sacrifice. She can sacrifice herself, her personality, her dreams, her ambitions, her humanity, or she can sacrifice her love, her right to start a family, and her motherhood. Her choices are limited into being a woman for love, or a tamed wife. I am afraid that in our societies a woman is squeezed into one of those two categories; she is either one or the other, but never both.


Eyad Harfoush said...

Dear Fantasia,
How many times shall I raise my hat in respect to your articles? in both idea and its presentation?

I agree to every letter, this is the Egyptian man double personality disorder, including myself, with a small difference, My she was 2 Shes:
1- The German Falcon: She could not accept to live in Egypt, and I had no plans by that time to imigrate
2- The Lebanese Mary Magdalene: Her parents did not tolerate the idea of giving their daughter to a muslim man

So, I wanted the spark wallahie, but the sparks escaped from my hand, leading me into a traditional marriage, the rest you know of course without saying.

Miss Egyptiana "Trapped Soul" said...

the problem is that:
after having a traditional marriage, with the typical mama model, the man gets bored...

thirsty for the woman in the shadow... thirsty for an intelligent conversation, and a beautiful unlimited personality, for the challenge an independent woman provoke.

that's when he start to look at what he lacks !!!

but you know what... i rather stay single till my end of days, than be a woman to love or a deformed creature with no identity but her man's... both are terrible... the first is used and the second is abused

if he doesn't have enough guts to contain me, and accept me the way i am ... so he is out

as for you eyad
it was known since long that you are not an example... you and few like you are thinking this way... but the mass are not ...

The Alien said...

most Egyptians think this way, a mama model wife, but they must realize that life can't continue this way, they will soon look for the other type.

the problem is that most girls now are from the mama model type, that what must be changed, we must help our girls to become the independent type.

اجندا حمرا said...

dear fantasia,
ya postatek ya fantasia:-)
everytime i check your blog ,i m amazed at your wonderful selection of articles and i dont wanna sound boring ,repeating the same words over and over again but i truly admire everything u write:)
to comment on this important post,i should say that me too feel surprised how the criteria of what a man has on his mind for his future wife shifts ,it's ok to have a lover who is smart,independant who speaks her mind,who is not that religious but all of this changes when he starts looking for his future wife
she has to be the complete opposite of his lover,i dont know why?maybe it is the double personality of arab men they live within ,maybe because arab men in general feel threatened around independant women,they want their wives to be always following them not the other way around,as u can see when this happens and a wife has got a much stronger personality than her husband ,his friends start saying words like u r not man enough to rule your wife,as if it is a kingdom and she is a slave which is really true for wives here in the arab world
they r like slaves and their husbands r their masters
that's why arab men try to get some balance,they want everything the wife who can follow them,satisfy their needs,give birth to their childern,never say no to them ,always up to serve them but at the same time they want some fun and they dont wanna destroy the image of see el said infront of their wives so what's the solution?to have another much brightful girl,independant ,he can have a decent conversation with,who takes care of herself and her body,someone for his own amusement but at the same time she has her own life
but unfortunately this brightful girl will always stay in the shadow cause her man is not proud of her being under the spot light with him,she will always be his girl toy:(

Fantasia said...

So sorry to know about your painful experience. Hope you will have a better luck in the future. Don't give up on your dreams.
Thanks for your words. This is really encouraging and motivating.

Fantasia said...

That's a valuable addition. I believe you made the best choice. If one loses herself there is nothing there to win. So if a woman sacrifices her identity in order to satisfy social demands, she will never beat the emptiness inside her soul. You can't give happiness if you don't have it. That's why marriage in these cases are miserable and turn into tragic stories.

Fantasia said...

the alien:
Your comments always act as a wake up call to girls. The man that an independent, smart, productive, and ambitious girl deserves can never be the traditional type and therefore he won't be happy with her playing the traditional role. Girls don't have to be submissive. A man who doesn't understand a girl's nature is unworthy of her. She'd better work on herself and think wisely about her future.

Fantasia said...

Keep the inspiration going. Yes, those negative models surround us in great numbers that we came to take the double nature of men as a norm. That's why what is supposed to be a psychological illness is treated as a natural rule in our sick society. Therefore a girl shouldn't contribute to this ugliness by adding the loss of her identity and giving up her ambitions. Families are miserable because they are created by miserable partners. Such families can never form a healthy society. Women have to be conscious enough that they hold the keys for change. Don't ever settle for less and don't give up to the sick double nature of men. Have the say in holding up to your dreams and making them a reality by your persistence. We need strength. We need a value shift. Thanks dear for the brilliant insights.

اجندا حمرا said...

i dont know why it came to my mind while reading your comment ,the image of a parent who gives up his daughter for a khaleeji husband who's gonna pay him money
to this extent ,some parents can sell their own flesh and blood just for few thousand pounds?
i know some families here r so very poor but it doesnt justify what they r doin
it is like they r saying our daughter is for whom who's gonna pay more
such a degrading thing for a woman ,a woman like this can never raise childern who r stable mentally and emotionally
thank u dear for your brilliant posts and for inspiring me always to write :-)

nousha said...

nice post!
I passed through a time when I was about to sacrifice my "being" to fit in this mold, but el hamdlelah at the last minute I stopped...

As Sahar El Mogy mentioned in "Noun", every girl has the option of either returning to the sardine tin or to be herself.

My only fear is that one day I would wake up, 38 years old, going through the same experiences (only more mature)...
Still, I still have hope that there would be someone who's personality would fit to mine just like puzzle pieces :-)

Fantasia said...

It is a shameful crime that some families sell their own daughters in this way. Women are objectified and therefore they are treated as goods that can be sold. Poverty alone is not the cause, it is a whole way of thinking, which makes a woman considered less than human.
Thanks for your nice words. Always glad to exchange views with you, agenda.

Fantasia said...

You've escaped once, but the real test is still ahead of you.
Why do you fear growing old without a man, even if with more maturity? What's the problem if you are 38 or 58 and single? I wish you would find the one who appreciates you for who you are. But if he doesn't show up, this doesn't mean that you start considering compromises, or pity yourself cause you're not married.
Self-development will always bear its fruits. A successful career is much better than a miserable marriage. Marriage doesn't provide safety anymore. You have to face the world fearless. Don't count your age, but count your successes, they will never let you down.

Ravine85 said...

As much as I love your posts, they're always so depressing to me because they remind me of hard it really is to find any sort of real affection in this day and age in Egypt.
I've never really compromised myself till now to qualify as "the lover" or as the "potential wife",I'm proud of that and I don't have any intention of changing that any time soon but I've been feeling a little scared like Nousha recently. Working hard for yourself is the best thing to do without a doubt but the idea of a future without companionship (simple because suitable companions are gradually ceasing to exist) is a pretty bleak one sometimes.

اجندا حمرا said...


that's right dear,women till now the majority of them specially those living in the country side r treated like goods that can be sold and what breaks the heart is that their families r the ones who r doin so .regardless of how educated the daughter is,her family will always look at her as if she is nothing but someone who should get married to someone who will take the responsibility of taking her burden,such a lousy view of females

i agree with u dear poverty is not only the cause but still it is among the main causes plus the way of thinking no argument about that
the way of thinking is a very powerful thing that is not an easy thing to change,that's why i always say if people can change the way they think and regards lots of issues maybe we can see lots of tolerant point of views towards sensitive issues like religion,sexuality ...etc

it's my pleasure dear to exchange views with u too
keep the good work dear,i love visiting your blog and interacting with u so plz dont be late in posting we all miss u:-)

Mo said...

You've got a point there - but maybe you have represented extremes to make your point clear.

Do you remember anyone ever telling you that you should marry your best friend? I believe that is the best piece of advice you can give to a single person.

I, as a man, would never go for that tasteless passive woman you are describing. But a woman that thinks will give you a hard time - yes, sometimes. But I would expect my clever witty woman to know when to push and when to pull so that we maintain a decent level of understanding and comprimise. Unfortunately, some of these women are weak at heart - and they think that giving in once means giving in every time - and that is the type of woman that I believe men don't want to be around.

It's not a struggle for power, but some mistake it for such - and end up with the weak partner you described in your post.


mirnei said...

Wow,what you are saying is true ,but i guess more and more cleared and cleaned minded men are appearing in Egypt nowadays,

Also when you love a guy or most important he loves you he truely changes . . . the issue is always stay focused on your freedom and involved in your actions

"When I dare to be powerful - to use my strength in the service of my vision, then it becomes less and less important whether I am afraid" - Audre Lorde