Wednesday, October 24

Guilty of Feminism

When exactly did feminism become a dirty word?

Ever since I started blogging angry guys used to shoot the word feminist at me as if it was an insult! Hell, what? So, I am a feminist.. Why does it make you mad? And why the heck do you suppose that calling me a feminist would hurt me in any way? In fact, I am happy to be called a feminist. I wish I was a real feminist (being a women rights activist). Being labelled a feminist is a big honor. Would you be pissed off if people pointed at you in the street and said "Hey, this is someone who believes in human rights"? I suppose not. So, what makes those men assume that calling me a feminist would be counted as a negative remark?

In my attempt tp search for an answer, I remembered a very old incident. My colleagues had arranged an outing (including family members and friends) and it was really huge, we occupied half the restaurant where we met. One of my colleagues had been recently engaged and her fiance came along with her. The guy was so full of himself. He would fit perfectly in the category I previously described in "Your Guide to Dating an Egyptian Man" as Mr. Know-it-all.
Casual talk started until bit by bit they developed into discussions. Of course this guy couldn't miss the chance of having such a big audience, and he was determined to be the star. He started commenting on every single thing being said. I just kept observing him and was feeling satisfied that I was entertained for free (as the food served was not good enough for my taste). After about an hour, the stage became totally his. Many of those who were talking gave up because they didn't want to get embarrassed. He just kept saying "You are wrong" to anyone who disagrees with his opinions about anything.
Usually when the situation sinks into this boring phase I focus on making a polite exit. I was calculating what I had ordered to get ready to leave, when I heard this annoying guy talking about the deteriorating morality in our today's society. According to his genius analysis, the reason was that nowadays mothers go to work and are not spending enough time with their children. At that point I didn't bother saying anything, cause I thought others will take care of that. Just get me out of here for God's sake. To my amazement, nobody did. I found myself saying "You are wrong". He gave me this look of "and who the hell would you be?" but I just looked him in the eye and told him about all the social, political and economical factors behind declining morality. All those who were silent were now cheering. I could see that his ears were about to smoke, and instead of trying to convince me of his point of view, he just gave me a suspicious look and said "Are you a feminist?"

Me (laughing my head off): I believe in feminism, yes.
Him(looking puzzled): So, that makes you a feminist.
Me: Not necessarily. Not all of those who believe in feminism are feminists, but certainly all feminists believe in feminism.
Him(seriously staring): What's this? Philosophy?
Me (sensing the growing tension): Well, philosophy does involve logical thinking, but no, I did not intend to sound philosophical.
Him(cunning smile): You are a feminist. Don't deny it.

I will never forget the way he said it. It was as if he discovered a communist at the time of Sadat. I didn't really bother then. He seemed ignorant enough and I hate wasting my time on those people. But I remembered this now after I received all of "you are a feminist" comments. Well, I carry the label with all dignity. I am not ashamed of the sticker you tagged on me. And let me from now on be "Fantasia the Feminist". What a lovely name! Thanks for the title guys.


Dr. Eyad Harfoush said...

Dear Fantasia,
I think the relatively bad impression of public around feminsim is two reasons:
1- In a patriarchal society males are used to be over-empowered, any trial to negotiate what they think as their right will logically provoke them. This provokes definitely the traditional styled men

2- When feminism deviates sometimes (frequently actually) to turn into anti-male attitude, this raises objections from both traditional and others, me included.

Basically the word ANTI before any ethnic, religious, gender, or social group, usually provokes my fears from un-necessary battles where intellectual and some times physical resources are consumed. Regards

Egypt Rose said...

Hi Fanta,

Egypt Rose is FEMINIST

I as well work in this field and beleive in it.

I do Trust you, Yes I do, and I will do.

any thing differant in Egypt will be attacking, so do not worry

Fantasia said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Fantasia said...

the reasons you mentioned are so understandable. they can justify why men hate feminists, but they don't explain why some men assume that the word itself is an insult. those who call me a "feminist" clearly believe that it is a bad word that shall hurt me in a way, or that I will be alarmed and start defending myself against this accusation. Why? That's what I don't understand.

Fantasia said...

dear rose,
wow, you are so brave to make such a declaration! seriously i'm starting to get worried. may be it's a crime to be a feminist in this country. it seems we're getting ourselves into serious trouble. but feminists don't fear troubles, so i tell them all "bring it on".
your support means a lot to me. always glad to see your comments light up my screen.

egyptian feminist chic said...

the current trend in egypt is opression... opress women and feel good about yourself!!!! lots of men feel threatened by a woman who stands up for herself and is not afraid of being heard!!! they want a woman to be submissive and obediant!!! she has to be able to cook their food, clean their house, pamper them and make them feel superior!!! unfortunatly lots of egyptian mothers raise their sons this way!!! thinking he is better than everyone else, and the woman he chooses to be his wife, needs to thank god for such a privelage!!! so she needs to serve this man with devotion so he may or may not be pleased with how well she is taking care of him and pampering him!!!! this is why we are seeeing the increasing number of spoiled brats who feel a false sense of entitlement. i am looking at friends around me who are recently married , and a large portion of them after graduating from college, and being excited about starting a career.... end up quitting work, and covering their hair, because they got a "3arees" who they have never met before, who says hey will marry her if she quits work and covers her hair, because after all a womans place is a home where she will sit and serve her husband and give birth to his kids... which for some reason, they believe it is their nature, as this is why god created women... so why fight your natural insincts and look for freedom, independance and a career ?? god wouldnt want that!! the sad thig is that this is in Cairo, in affluent well off neighborhoods where everyone is highly educated, and these same girls mothers all have careers!!! but the wahabi brain washing is just exerting too much power!!! even these women are encouraging the youg women to be "obedient" to their husbands.... although i have to admit that i have seen several moms feeling disapointed with their daughters choices! but their daughters are too far down the brainwashed path, so it is too late to save them! i have tried telling several friends... just say no to this guy, and you will meet someone else who will love you for who you are, who will be happy to be with a successful woman, and thier response is that a "3arees" is a gift from god, if i say no, god will punish me and i will never get married!!!! i dont want to be a spinster (3anes)which is another derogatory term that women accept blindly for some rediculous reason!

having said all of this....i can understand why some men feeling that a woman is strong or independant scares them half way to death!!! they are so insecure that opressing women has become a norm for them and a woman standing up for her rights and the rights of others is just incomprehensible!! as for some reason it will make him less of a man!!! i realy hate these morons!
I wish there were more women like you , cause then maybe all egyptian women would stand up and be counted and not be treated as doormats!!!

of course i am not saying all egyptian men are like that, there are many many wonderful men who appretiate a strong woman by their side, who will support you and help you, and be happy to know that you can stand up for yourself, and that you will be there for him, and support him at his times of need....

by the way i just found your blog, and i love it!!!

An Egyptian feminist chic!!

Amre El-Abyad said...

Go go..give the bastards some good time. You ought to have filmed the whole scene with the prick, so as to use it in your women rights work.

اجندا حمرا said...

dear fantasia

impressive post as usual

yeah feminist for some means an accusation,a dirty word like u mentioned

it is always associated in the minds of some people as a meaning for being manly and behaving in an agressive way

people sometimes refer to a strong female who is able to speak her mind as someone agreesive,a man hater

like that finacee of your colleague,there r lots of guys like him who pretend they know everything even if he doesnt cause he thinks that if he said about something he doesnt know he will be less than others

i do think it is natural not to know all the answers and it is the brave one who asks about something he doesnt know whether a male or a female instead of pretending he is
أبو العراف

i hated when some try to undermine the whole to be a star and trying to get them down by his harsh comments

we can present our points of views which can differ from others and it doesnt mean we r wrong in the end

everyone is entitled for his or her point of view and should stick to it if he belives in it and it's ok to listen to others and communicate in a friendly polite way

people who r trying to get others down will continue to exist ,we r not trying to make them disappear but now i can say they r making us stronger

everytime now i get a criticism ,i think i gradually became immune to it and i m trying to turn it into a positive energy instead of allowing it to eat me alive

thank u fantasia for the strong post and hey it's a lovely name fantasia the feminist:-)

Fantasia said...

egyptian feminist chic,
OMG! you're a loaded gun, sis. i liked everything you said and was over the moon reading your comment. there are girls out there who haven't given up the fight, and that's good news for me. coz i also am surrounded by friends who are never sick of disapoointing me. we all grew up together and we had the same education (level). we all had great ambitions and high hopes. we all believed we had what it takes to succeed and ascend to high positions. But now I'm on the verge of standing all alone.
One by one I saw each girl committing suicide.. forgetting all about her dreams and talent, and throwing herself into a conventional marriage. And what drives me crazy is that they are all miserable. Some of them got divorced, but only after it was too late to save what's left of their old selves.
I wouldn't have been that disappointed if they had made rational choices in marriage or if they were happy after all. But seeing your dear friends change over time and wear away in misery, is so heartbreaking.
Yet, I haven't heard one of them say that God will punish her for rejecting 3arees. That's brand new! Have girls grown that pathetic?!
I don't think you can unbrainwash someone.. but I believe that knowing exactly the risks that are facing girls, and where they can slip, you can equipe them with knowledge of how to make wise decisions. You can ring the alarm. You can make them immune to brainwashing. That's why our collective experiences and insights are very important in sketching the new female image.
If there are more feminists in Egypt, we can save lives. We can show young girls that happiness comes in so many different ways. We can make them understand why God created females. God can never be someone who creates half the poeple to serve the other half. That is a psycho, not a God. God is Just, and he must love justice. God wants us to value his most precious gift: the human brain. If we don't respect our brains we are committing a huge sin.
Thanks for giving me the chance to say all the above. Wish to see more of your comments. My readers' contribution is very essential for this blog. It is all about female voices (and male voices wanting change) coming together. Let's light the way to other girls out there before the darkness of ancient traditions swallows them up.

Fantasia said...

amre el-abyad,
thanks for your encouragement. i wish i had known that all this would happen, i might have brought a camera then. maybe one day i will direct a film and include that scene in it, who knows?

Fantasia said...

dear agenda,
always a pleasure to hear from you. thank you so much. you are transmitting your positive energy here as well. yeah, many thanks to those who attack us. it's not a rosy world and we must meet those if we are trying to do something positive. being attacked by the retarded losers who want to throw us back into the past and label us "harem" is certainly something to be proud of. we are able to shake them and interrupt their sleep. they are annoyed cause our voices are being heard. and we won't shut up.
as for some men trying to ruin the reputation of feminists, again it is so natural and expected. what's making me laugh is their stupid assuption that we are going to hate being called feminists! should we change what we know about feminism because they don't like it? should we also believe that it is bad? should we crumble under male authority that declared feminism to be notorious? i don't understand these guys! it's both funny and sad.
your strength will always be valued by the strong, while the weak will feel threatened by it.
keep your strength, and keep your comments coming. your support keeps this blog going.

The Alien said...

الحكاية دي بتحصل مع حاجات تانية كتير .. مش بس حقوق المرأة
يعني مثلا هتلاقي علمانية بقت كلمة وحشة
والناس البسيطة ف الشارع لما تسمعها بتتجنن
وأساسا هما مش عارفين يعني إيه علمانية

الموضوع موضوع مصالح
واللي ليهم مصلحة وخايفين عليها ممكن يعملوا أي حاجة عشان يحافظوا علي مصالحهم


Miss Egyptiana "Trapped Soul" said...

allow me to declare with pride

Miss Egyptiana Trapped Soul is a FEMINIST

if asking for my rights is bad, so i am bad :D

i do agree with eyad in the way the word feminist is perceived in our society

that reminds me of a story: once my dad was talking to my mother about me, and he said ... the way she thinks is scary for men ...

but the question is, why would they feel thrilled in front of a smart woman ?!, a woman who calls for her rights, and doesnt accept to be treated as another one in the herd???

Fantasia said...

the alien,
that's correct. people condemn certain terms without caring to check their meaning, just cause they "heard" it is not good. our culture is based on what we hear. people don't care to seek knowledge on their own, they just follow the stream.
those who don't like secularism or feminism, are the same people who hinder our development. why do we allow them to have higher voices and decide for the masses? there isn't enough being done to bring people back to their senses. if they are too lazy to know where the truth is, then at least we should be present and be heard beside the forces of darkness who spead false ideas.

Fantasia said...

happy to receive all the brave declarations. yay! that's the spirit.
your dad certainly knows what he's talking about. he is a man and he knows about what men consider to be scary. "a free-thinking woman".. that's more scary to men than meeting a cannibal in person. and especially when this woman knows about her rights and is willing to attain them. now this is double scary!
it's a cultural thing, it is under every man's skin. he just freaks out when he smells a strong woman in his life. a kind of allergy. he feels threatened. as if you are going to snatch his crown from above his head. men are so power-struggle oriented. they take everything to be an invitation to fight. even a friendly conversation will be turned into a power-struggle. they just need to tap their breasts like King Kong and scream out "I'm a man".
you remember when sonya in the play tkhareef asked her husband to stand in the blacony and say "hey ana ragel"? that's exactly what they wish they can do every morning. lol. pathetic!

Anonymous said...

Fantasia, You are not a feminist baby. You are a sick woman that is it

Miss Egyptiana "Trapped Soul" said...


i wonder if you are a man enough to show your self instead of hiding behind a screen name

the sick is you ... if u cant understand what the message of this blog is ... stay away and dont bother us with your SICK comments

Fantasia said...

dearest egyptiana,
thanks a lot for your outstanding support and care. i guess i got used to such comments. no matter how many times you tell those people to get lost they just keep coming back. leaving an anonymous comment like that reflects the kind of person behind it. he may think that being anonymous protects him in some way! but what about his image in front of himself? he knows he is dispised and he certainly knows that his insults make him so low in the eyes of others. so even if they don't know who the hell he is, how can he escape from himself? it is enough that he has to face this reality. that's why people who have no problem with being disrespected and dispised won't bother if you tell them they are uninvited. this person knows very well he is not invited. he has no dignity to prevent him from making a fool of himself. if that makes him feel any better, so why should we care? probably he had issues back in his childhood or something. you can't tell where those sick people come from. maybe humiliating himself is a kind of therapy, or he just feels the urge to let out his worst dark side for relief of the pretence he wears in front of everybody in real life. such a person is looking after angry reactions. that's his drug. so let's just turn him over to another dealer by ignoring him and his likes.

I want to congratulate you once more for the excellent post on violence against women. you nailed it. your style was so powerful as well. this is something that we should talk more about on our blogs. i shall follow your footsteps soon. keep interacting dear.

"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