Friday, December 14

Egyptian Mozzah

The word "mozzah" in the Egyptian slang dialect stands for "sexy chick" or "diva". And when used as an adjective - as in "that girl is mozzah"- it basically means, "she's hot". But the word "mozzah", whether used as a noun or an adjective, is not really a good word in Arabic. Actually, it is a very clear example of how our modern language itself reflects how the Egyptian society views females nowadays. This word is a live expression of all the negative feelings and disrespect that men have in the back of their minds while dealing with women.. even those they find to be attractive or stunning.

Mozzah was initially used by men of lower classes and those who work in manual labor. This particular social group, as you would expect, had a very narrow prespective.. and its view of women was totally physical. Therefore, when a mechanic used to tell his fiancée that she was a mozzah, all he meant was to praise her beauty and her feminine appeal. It didn't sound inappropriate or vulgar at the time. And girls who were considered "mozaz" (plural) usually had lots of confidence, knowing that they are desired by men. That was due to 2 reasons: 1) Those girls mainly belonged to the same social class. 2) The word itself did not use to have the strikingly negative associations it expresses nowadays. Thus, the word existed peacefully in the vocabulary of this group, and was merely considered a bit crude by those who happen to hear it from outside it.
When combined with the possessive pronoun "my", mozzah becomes "mozzeti", which meant my sweetheart (the old term for girlfriend). Men used to tell their male friends in the neighborhood about their emotional commitments, so that none of those friends would have a crush on their sweethearts. The girl labelled as someone's mozzah was in fact protected by this declaration, and automatically conceived of as this person's future wife. Other men usually kept their limits and would never ever attempt to court such a girl or annoy her. By no means could a man dare do that, except if he was an enemy of that girl's boyfriend. By flattering with someone's mozzah, a man was sending a message of open hatred, and his clear aim was inviting her boyfriend to fight. Having said that, I should add that a mistress was never described as mozzah, or given the title of being somebody's mozzah. Men of those classes were very serious about differntiating between girls for fun (easy girls that were notorious for their multiple relationships) and those they truly loved and wished to marry.

That was just a brief "historical" background. Of course I'm kidding.. It wasn't that long ago anyway. What I meant to say is: that was a thing of the past.
Due to the political and economic factors which were altering very rapidly during the previous decades, many social changes took place.. The most observable of which was what happened to the Egyptian social pyramid, causing it to turn up-side-down. This had its huge impact on all the facets of Egyptian life.. And I would have loved to go through them all, except that there is no room for that here. What concerns us, though, is the disappearance of the Egyptian middle class, which used to hold the whole social structure together.. as well as bearing the responsibility of directing the whole society. The middle class - with its well-defined value system, cultural interests, political involvement, and high awareness - is an indespensible component in maintaining balance and deciding the general social frame of any country. Thus, the collapse of the middle class in Egypt led to massive chaos in the social scene.
Hearing the language spoken in the Egyptian street nowadays, one will notice that it is a hybrid mixture of different classes, different cultures, different backgrounds, different languages, that have absolutely nothing in common; neither between one another, nor between them and their original sources. At the heart of this linguistic mess comes the word "mozzah" to summarize the modern social scene with its explicit definition of the current relationship between genders. It sums up how today's patriarchal society thinks about females, and manifests how words receive different meanings according to the prevailing culture/mentality.

The modern use of the word mozzah has absolutely nothing to do with social class. Moreover, it is commonly used by young Egyptian men while talking about females in general.. in a way where the word "female" became actually replaced by the word "mozzah". It is not categorized as an offensive word, in spite of the fact that it is considered as a kind of verbal harassment when it takes the form of a loud remark from a male stranger. Being called "mozzah" while walking down the street is enough to make any girl turn red and run away. The word now has a straight sexual meaning, and it is used for indecent flirting, or at least with a clear aim of embarrassing girls who are chosen to be victims of those loud flirtatous advancements. When used for this purpose, a guy usually follows it by a sound of a kiss, or a wink, or any similar gesture that would stress its sexual connotation and cause the biggest possible amount of embarrassment to his victim.

In casual male conversation, however, "mozzah" can be used to refer to any girl, or to describe a physically attactive babe, or as an indirect way of describing certain seductive features of the female body. The word is seldom used in its possessive form.. and in this case it may refer to the guy's own girlfriend! Yes, you read it correctly.. but it is a way of expressing that the relationship is pure dating.. nothing serious involved. Thus, in fact, it gives the total opposite message that was intended by the original "mozzeti". This time the person speaking is declaring that he does not really care about his mozzah (his girlfriend) . It is anindirect invitation to his friends to consider dating that girl after he gets bored with her, and a green light for those friends if they wish to tell jokes about that girl or exchange any negative remarks about her with her boyfriend!
So, as you have seen, our patriarchal culture has borrowed a word from the low-class dictionary, changed its usage, colored it with various negative paints, made it entirely sexual, and turned it into a weapon against females. Yet, it is not a hidden weapon that circles among men during their private chats.. nor is it condemned by society for its negative implications.. nor is it rejected by the media or movie makers. On the contrary.. It is welcomed into our daily lives and is openly exchanged between people everywhere.. It is now a most used word in Egyptian vocabulary.. and has become closely related to the Egyptian dialect! Now what does that tell you?
The word's influence didn't stop here, though. For as long as the usual scenario goes, whatever is imposed by the patriarchal society is automatically accepted by the vulnerable followers. It becomes a matter of fact. That's exactly what happened with Egyptian females who readily digusted the word as part of their cultural environment. Yes, "mozzah" is undeniably an anti-female word, aiming mainly to humiliate women and destroy their self-esteem. Its purpose is to objectify women and turn them into the purely physical/sexual dolls. They are plainly conceived of as only bodies, made up of flesh that is both desired and despised. A girl gets trapped inside this narrow tunnel.. She has to be mozzah in order to be appealing to men, and at the same time she is humiliated for being one. She has to be objectified twice: as a sexual body, and as an object of verbal abuse.. a source of shame.. a passive recpient of patriarchal violence and hostility.

In spite of all that, Egyptian girls do use the word mozzah in their speech, just like parrots. However, they prefer to live in denial.. and they use it to praise the beauty of each other, or to refer to THEMSELVES when talking about looking exceptionally stunning. For example, a girl might tell her friend that she was a mozzah (looking really good) the previous night, when she was dressed up for a party.. Or she might seek to compliment her friend by telling her that she is a mozzah, instead of saying "you look great". In doing so, girls are responding to the social stress and the constant demand that they should be physically attractive. They know that society wants them to be sexually appealing. And instinctly, those girls need to feel accepted, desired and loved. To achieve that, they are forced to follow the criteria defined by their society. Before anything else, a girl has to be a mozzah. Yet, likewise, Egyptian girls are aware of the lusty, indecent, abusive, degrading, and hostile nature of the word.. That's why in their current vulnerable position, they had to come up with this tactic of self-deceit which enables them to accept the concept of mozzah, while escaping it as a verbal phenomenon. They have reflected their own desperate need for admiration, along with their inability to face the powerful tools which patriarchy uses against them, on the word itself. Just as girls are torn between those two pressures, they split "mozzah" in half. But how far will this self-deceit actually lead them?

To every Egyptian Mozzah reading this: Burying your head in the sand will only make you weaker, more disrespected, more vulnerable, and more shameful. You are not a body, girl. You are not a piece of dilicious meat, or a sexy doll! As long as you don't believe that.. as long as you don't realize that you deserve a better treatment.. as long as you surrender to such assaults and degradation.. as long as you are not ready to stand up for yourself and defend your dignity.. as long as you don't value your mind and soul.. as long as you are following your oppressors.. as long as you don't have the courage to say NO.. as long as you accept being a mozzah.. YOU WILL NEVER BE A HUMAN BEING!


Dr. Eyad Harfoush said...

Dear Fantasia,
Glad I came back to bear the earliest comment on your one-of-kind article. You are getting beyond the talks fanta, actually you are a person who proves there is still some hope in my unlucky homeland. I was seriously considering the fact it is time to leave to a better world over the past weeks, still thinking and have no conclusion. what do u think? e-mail me if you can dear

Dr. Eyad Harfoush said...

Regarding the word Mozzah, forgive my language when I list here some words that carried even worse implications, like "Makana" which refers directly to a "sex machine" another that means a "mattress" in Arabic but I myself shy to write it down, and even some more direct words. Knowing you liked Galal Amien's masterpiece, "Maza Gara LeMisr, I would have seriously proposed if I did not know you reject ploygamy as a feminist :)Greetings and my hat as high as usual to the prettiest minded lady in my Homeland over the era of darkness

Hassan El Helali said...


The one million dollars question is: what is worse... to be a Mozza or to be a Monakkaba?? so much values have changed in our country, one can't tell anymore !!!

raaasa said...

Dearest Fanta—just love this abbreviation, it gives your pseudonym yet another dimension: an effervescent vibrant orange ideal world, lively, fizzy, bright, and exuberant.

Thank you for still another magnificent posting. I am happy to see that you are addressing the morphing of linguistic forms in terms of referring to women. Do you think that language is changing in response to attitudes or vice versa?

I think the offensiveness of the term mozza is that it contributes to viewing women as one-dimensional: strictly as pleasure toys for men.

What terms could women introduce that would view men as one-dimensional? And, more importantly, would we even want to reduce men to only having one dimension? I personally wouldn't, but then, I also wouldn't want a man who sees me as only one-dimensional. In my ideal world, I would like to see people, men and women, as human, complete beings striving towards the potential for good inside of them. (Call me a dreamer:)

I think more productive would be to re-claim the terms used to address women, reformulate them to give them a strong positive meaning in the Egyptian psyche. This could also be a potential topic for “the campaign.” Here, perhaps stickers might be more appropriate and wide-reaching. Something along the lines of “Mozza: a woman whose physical appeal temporarily obscures the fact that her potential is limitless.” This is the first thing that came to mind. Hope my idea comes through. I will give this some more thought.

The point is that it is our language too.

Well-done, Fanta.

egy anatomist said...

enty betgeeby el afkar di menen?:)

Really, wonderful. The most apparent characteristic of this article is that its enjoyable! I dunno why, but I was really enjoyed when reading it. We need that badly Ms Fanta. We need new generation of intellectual analysts who focus their work on the current age. We do miss them and miss the sufficient information and views abt our contemporary times.

As for the word mozza, u left almost no thing 2 b said by anyone. It is very true every word u have said dear. It is exerting great pressures over our shoulders, men and women. IT is very hard 2 resist this sweeping trend. It is very hard for young men not 2 yield to sharing in this humiliation. THe society is dealing those who refuse 2 play with unlimited scorn. Believe me there r many young men in Egypt who have sisters and they respect and love them and believe in their minds and they know clearly that they r not only mozaz, but when it comes 2 other girls and women, they have 2 abide otherwise they woudlnt be complete men.

Kaman, with the continuing deterioration of women's education and awaremness, more and more girls r so happy 2 be Mozaz. and they would be sooo frustrated if they werenent called mozza.. not with the meaning of sexy woman or hot, but as Dr. Eyad mentioned>> sex machine or wtever imposes an exceptional ability of recieving sex not even making it!

I cant thank u enough for the wonderful posts which r full of ideas and insights that really still water and dead hearts and blocked minds.

Go on



egyptian feminist chic said...

fant this is off subject, but i wantd you to read this... i also added it to the comment section in hegab nikab..... horrible horrible story. but it proves everything we have been trying to say... this is what they want to turn egypt into... it was originally in elakhbar in 2001, but has recently been removed (allao a3lamleeh!!) read it for yourself... here'sthe link

raaasa said...

This mozza post has reminded me of a topic that keeps coming to mind: the lessening right of women to public space in Egypt. Let me rephrase that, I mean that it seems that more and more, public space is male space.

This linguistic sexual onslaught is just one more way of underlining male entitlement and domination and limiting female possibilities.

I hope this is not too much of a leap in my explanation. To my mind, the less women are seen to be active in public, the less they feel comfortable in public, the fewer will be seen to be active in public, the more the Egyptian psyche will form a narrower opinion of women’s true nature, the bigger the gulf between “good” women and “bad” women, the smaller number of potential safe places for, and choices, of women. Hmmm. What do you think?

These attitudes so much influence the scope of what women do and what they allow themselves to imagine that they can do.

I was reading an article about a foreign woman traveling in Egypt recently and I think it offers some interesting insights. Read it when you are ready to calm down after reading EFC’s attached essay.

blackcairorose said...

While the earlier conotation of the word was mainly sexual, but the word gets more accepted nowadays since the meaning drifted apart bit by bit from its one dimension sexual meaning into a more-than-just-sex one. This is why even girls use the word without feeling an offending aspect.

I find no harm in using it actually because by using it (in the right circumstances) we could disarm it from its chauvinistic falvour. It is a techcnique used worldwide with some unacceptable terms.

A handsome guy was described in as "shedeed" (although girls haven't been as active as men in coining new words) is it degrading to men?

I think coming up with new words to express sexual or snesational aspects of women or men is not that threatining, and we should not sometimes overbear the word with meanings and expalanations.

It is normal every now and then. My mother as example found that refering to boy/girlfriends as "elgaw" in the 70s meaningless while that was a favourit term at the time. This word could have also been described as "unserious" reference to the significant other.

So, what I want to say is that mozza's meaning makes no such big harm, it got developped and to a certain extent disarmed, unlike the other words mentioned in Eyad Harfoush's comment.

First timer here by the way..


Fantasia said...

dr. eyad,
i'm certainly not the only proof.. look at all those around here supporting and contributing with all what they can. and you yourself doc, you are a proof, but you wanna take that away from us. i had the same feelings you have now.. probably i had it visit me many times. i almost lost hope in all kinds of change, not only cultural or social change. i can't claim that i totally got rid of my frustration.. but at least i am sure that it won't possess me any more. wish that even if you decide to leave, it would be for a reason other than losing hope in our beloved country.. it's not over yet.. and it won't be over unless we all give up the fight and declare it was over.
now to your excellent comment on this post.. you are 100% right. there are much more worse used to degrade women and imprison them into their physical side. what you mentioned are a few revealing examples of how far things have gone with our culture and the patriarchal view of women. the reason i chose the word "mozza" is its wide usage that it became part of the egyptian everyday dictionary. while those other words (i don't know if i should say "fortunately") are not said in public and are not generally accepted. the only time i heard the word "makan" being used to women in a movie for instance, was in elsefara f el3omara. but other than that, those other words relating women to the sexual act are not used in the common speech.
yet, a long list can be made if we wish to see the amount of tragedy and deformity which the image of the egyptian woman suffers from. thanks for your concerned interest in this issue. your kind praise and encouragement really mean a lot. all my best regards.

Fantasia said...

dear hassan,
you raised a very good question actually.. and yes so many things have changed that what we witness nowadays is the absence of values, or any common ground that would act as the backbone of a true social structure.. and i am saying true, not good, not sound, not successful.. only true (something that we can call a "social structure").
from my own point of view, i see that being a mozza is just as bad as wearing a niqab.. both women see themselves as bodies.. both derive their sense of existence from how their bodies are perceived. a monaqqabah may not be a mozza in action, but she views herself as such.. that's why she hides behind her niqab. both women believe that their bodies are public property.. one of them decides to expose her goods, while the other covers up from the gazes although she still certifies that the only interest men can have in her is the physical/sexual one. it is not the gaze that matters, it is what lies behind it. those who wore mini skirts in the 60s were not mozaz. nobody saw them as mozaz. they blended in so well and shared in the young dream of their country with all their energies. that's why they didn't see themselves as mozaz either. they had other dimensions.. they got their sense of worth from multiple sources, and they were able to explore their different potentials. but now, we live in the age of the objectification of women. so whatever choices a female may think she has, both poles revolve around a single thing.

raaasa said...


awesome response to hassan. your ideas have taken my breath away.

Fantasia said...

dear raaasa,
although i never aquainted this nickname i received with the actual beverage which shares the name (don't know why), i really liked your allegories.. sounded so nice and refreshing for sure. made me consider painting the place orange..i mean the blog :)
i so much believe that languages are live creatures, and that they gain their existence from those who use them. yes, languages change as long as their speakers change. but i don't believe that a language can change attitudes, they only exhibit the external shape of human ideas.
as for men being one-dimentional, which will never happen, i don't want that either. don't be deceived by the questions i put on the poll.. many of them do not reflect what i think at all.

wonderful, wonderful thoughts you mentioned in your second comment, dear.. and i can't agree more. yes, men seek to limit our possibilities and intimidate us.. they use many tactics to achieve this aim.. many of their poisonous spears are directed towards our self-image and self-esteem. bad enough, women are passive recepients of all those attacks.. allowing themselves to be penetrated and always react in a very expectable manner.. that is giving in to whatever men want them to believe about themselves. can u imagine that? a person who actually believes that another one knows about her more than she knows about herself?! that is beyond vulnerability.
yes, public space belongs to men.. not only public.. private space as well belongs to men. every family is dominated by one or more of its male members. there is no space for women.. even in afterlife, in heaven or in hell, it is all the same.
thank u for that link.. was very interesting to read. i expected something along the lines she mentioned in the end, and i could certainly hear all the warnings that she had been told as i was reading. men want us to live in fear of the boogeyman all the time. they say it is for protection, but actually it is for distracting us and weakening our desire in independence.
This part is so revealing as well:
"I had countless conversations with Egyptian men, conversations that strangely but inevitably made their way around to sex, virginity and marriage.
In Egypt, as in most Islamic nations, sex is not a topic for idle discourse, yet with astonishing regularity I found myself conversing at length about the topic with Egyptian men, conversations usually more philosophical than lewd, conversations these men confessed they would never dream of conducting with an Egyptian woman."
hehehe.. now all the world knows that egyptian men are sexually obsessed. they think a foreign woman is the only woman who knows about sex and that she is willing to talk about it 24 hours/day.. pathetic!
thanks dear. waiting for more thoughts on the new "anti-mozaz campaign".

Fantasia said...

dear anatomist,
so happy you liked my humble attempt to analyze the social tendencies behind the modern use of "mozza". actually, it's the first time that someone asks me about how i get those ideas.. mmmm.. guess i can't come up with a complete theory right now.. my mind has a world of its own it seems.. still trying to figure out how it works, but the secret remains unsolved till now. however, it is possible for me to trace the ideas linked to each seperate post. the idea for this one, for example, has been hovering around for over a month. what sparked it though was being called mozza by someone who meant i as a kind of praise. i remembered back when i was in college, boys never used this word with girls they know.. but being friends, they applied the double standards you talked about in your comment. they were kind enough to tell us what is a mozza and which girl is to be considered a mozza. i noticed the rapid change which made the word surface, and its wide presence strongly felt. but when the word found its way to me, i couldn't help rewinding my male colleagues' explanation of the word. i automatically asked her, "would you let a guy compliment you with the same word?" she didn't get it at first of course.. not before i told her about the many times i was offended by being called "mozza". she confessed that men, and i use her words, "make it sound so bad". hey, i thought it belonged to the male vocab.. that is, they give it the meaning, they have full control over it, they decide whether it is bad or good. what the hell does "they make it sound bad" mean? is it a good word originally? says who? it is as if i tell a girl "you are faras".. can i then tell her that men make it sound bad, but "faras" stands for being fit and energetic! that's how the idea started in my head.
i can certainly understand everything you said, from the pressure on guys to join in the humiliation game to having double standards while dealing with females. it is true. and it is also true that girls only made things worse by instantly giving in to the whole mozza concept and being so eager to compete for the title, but not the word! double-deceit is the best name for it.
i am trying to address both sides as much as i can. and i know this will take long time and lots of effort from many people. yet, the positive reaction i wish for in the time being is merely to see those who don't approve of such things taking action against it and quit following the crowds. there must be some kind of opposition.. even a weak opposition is better than none.
thanks a lot for your comment, and allowing me to reveal some of what goes on behind the scenes.

اجندا حمرا said...

good morning fantasia

i just want to wish u a very happy eid

yur new post needs lots of reading cause it is very important
promis im gonna get back and comment on it

just didnt want to miss wishing u a happy eid

kol sana wenti taiba ya gameela

Fantasia said...

dearest feminist chic,
i gotta tell you that i still can't get over my shock at reading this. it's not because i didn't know about such people, their way of thinking and their lifestyle.. but because it was too painful reading it from someone who is a helpless victim, crying out in hope that anyone would listen and do something before it's too late. that woman's curse is in fact very much related to what this post discusses.. she saw her looks as her only asset in life. her low, or let me say absence, of self-confidence made her incredibly weak. her weakness just kept increasing every time she allowed this man to gain control over her. consequently, not only was she unable to defend herself, but also was totally helpless and unable to defend her children.. seeing them destroyed one after the other. her suicide attempts come to culminate this state of weakness and total paralysis. she was aware that it was all her own fault, yet her years of silence have caused things to move beyond repair. she faces this reality while talking to her neighbor:
إنني أعترف بأنه لولا استسلامي، ولولا عجزي، ولولا ضعفي، مااستأسد زوجي..كما استأسد، وماوصلت وأولادي إلي ما وصلنا إليه. إنني وحدي المسئولة عما أصابني، وحطم حياتي، وأوصلني إلي الحالة التي أتمني فيهاالموت علي البقاء في هذه الحياة
how many women are in the same position? according to her estimation, they are thousands. according to mine (and keeping in mind that it has been 6 years since she wrote this message), they are hundreds of thousands. what can be done to save the others? what can be done to help those women?
i believe the first step is to reach for the brakes before we reach the bottom of the hill. let's stop things from deteriorating any further. if we can at least freeze things for some time, this in itself will be a big achievement. let's not keep silent.. let's not become passive audience, only watching what's taking place around us. let's not act as proof of the absence of any kind of resistence. let's not be counted among those who welcome our entry into the dark ages.
that is if we seek realistic, tangible, down-to-earth results.. if we don't wish to merely go on with wishful thinking in our ivory towers, as in the befittting description of this miserable woman.
hanan turk is working on increasing the number of those victims to double her profits.. extremist preachers are working on increasing them to sell their casettes and books.. TV sheikhs work on increasing them to become more famous and richer.. satellite channels work on increasing them to have more audience.. investors in SMS and mobile services work on increasing them to keep the texts flowing in and out. there is a whole business out there.. and it is growing as fast as this deterioration goes. the more promising this business becomes, the more greedy its owners become, and the bigger the number of investors who will wish to join in to have a piece of this big cake.. then the pressure will double.. and the force pulling us backwards will double.. many times. the worse is yet to come, believe me.

Fantasia said...

dear black cairo rose,
welcome and hope your first time here made you consider frequenting fanta's world. i'd like to thank you so much for the thoughtful ideas you expressed in your comment. you do have a point for sure.. and it is shared by many. in fact, that's why i wrote this post in first place. if all people saw the word mozza to be negative, i wouldn't have bothered to introduce this long argument proving its harmful influence.
so it is really good to know that you still believe so after reading my post. for me it proves that readers can see that i am not biased or single-eyed.. that i am open to different views.. and it also proves that my argument was not lecture-like or pushing the reader to adopt my own point of view. for really my aim is to arouse minds, not to stuff them with my beliefs.
now allow me to share with you how i see things from my perspective. and i would also ask you to please read my reply to hassan elhelali and egy anatomist's comments, where i mentioned my point in details.
the technique you kindly refered to, by which girls can actually come up with their own usage of "mozza" in order to disarm it, is only seen by me to be a way of self-deceit. why? first, because girls do not use the word with this purpose at all. second, because there is no propotion or any possible counterbalance between genders in our society that would make such a "disarmament" process possible, or even credible. third, because girls are still embarrassed when a male addresses them using this word. fourth, because the word itself is not the problem, but the concept behind it, when places the highest value on the female body.. ultimately making the female kind sub-human.
now, why would a handsome guy be pissed off if he was described as "shedeed"? simply because it goes hand in hand with the manly image.. that of power, masculinity, strength, manly attractiveness. but what if you called him "2ammoor" for instance? or "mesamsem"? would he accept it?
of course your mother's account of a word like "elgaw" is right, and deserves all respect. but we must bear in mind the society of the 70's if we wish to reach a correct analysis. in the 70's girls were much more respected, encouraged to take part in public life, and did not wear the veil. "elgaw" was not used to refer to girls only, but to guys as well. it was not a means of humiliating a particular gender or used as a weapon in the hand of the other to make them feel superior. it refered to a casual relationship, in a society which didn't link casual relationships with sex or with indifference towards the person refered to as "gaw". moreover, the word itself comes from "love" which in arabic is called "hawa" meaning "where the heart goes".
so, can we possibly compare this word to "mozza" in any way? now a girlfriend is called "el7etta eltarreyyah" which means "a soft piece of meat". can we consider this to be the same as "elgaw" of the 70's?
afterall, as i told dr. eyad, my choice of the word "mozza" was due to its strong presence and wide usage. it stands for a whole culture.. a new culture.. which contributes to female inferiority by seeking to objectify her and turning her into a doll who can only be of a sexual use.
those are my personal reasons for believing what i believe. they do not mean that i reject other points of view, or that i consider mine to be the best. it is just an attempt to explain things the way i see them, which is not a scientific fact or absolute truth of course. i would really appreciate it if you continue to send my your feedback and sharing your own perspective.

Fantasia said...

dearest agenda,
happy eid to you, dear agenda. all my best wishes.. may you have a blessed and joyous eid.
looking forward to your comment, and your new posts as well.

raaasa said...


kul sana wa inti tayiba!

joyous season and blessed holidays to all!

Fantasia said...

dear raaasa,
happy holidays and best wishes for this season. thanks for your sweet greeting.

Mina Riad said...

"as long as you accept being a mozzah.. YOU WILL NEVER BE A HUMAN BEING!"

Loved that line. it says it all!

EGyptiaN GHOST هنا مدونة الشبح المصرى said...

Nice blog. I will keep reading. Please take the time to visit my blog & HAPPY A NEW YEAR

MerMaid said...

Hello Fantasia
how are you? Really nice post and i read it all although it is really long just like the previous ones but its the one i like the Most.
You are one hundred percent right,This word makes me sick and i disrespect evryone who says it even my friends and i keep on telling them that its not nice to describe your self or other girls in this vulgar word.
I do suffer in this society ,suffer its stupidity,ignorance and people.
but why didnt you mention the suffer of the girl to acheive her goals in this stupid society??
which faces the dreams of me and you and others by Destruction and denial??
i wanna know your answer for this question
what will u do if your family wants you to get married and give up all what u dreaming for??

Fantasia said...

mina riad,
thanks so much. glad you liked this final thought. hope you will continue to give me your feedback.

Fantasia said...

egyptian ghost,
welcome and hope you will become a frequent visitor of fantasia's world. happy new year to you and best wishes. expect me soon on your blog :)

Fantasia said...

i'm doing great, thanks for asking. it is such a pleasure that you liked this post and were keen to read it all in spite of its length. your feelings about this word are shared by many girls, yet unfortunately female ability to face patriarchal attempts to degrade them is very limited, or almost non-existent.
i was so surprised that you thought i didn't address issues of girls suffering in our society! as a matter of fact, this whole blog is dedicated to this particular aim. most of my previous posts expose the huge amount of suffering that girls are subjected to and how they are being victimized. check the blog's archive and you'll find plenty of them.
moving on to your question, i prefer to answer it in detail on my other blog "Advice Column". the reason for this is that i have been asked the same question by many girls. some of them discussed that they frankly thought nothing was wrong with their parents' point of view.
You can check my answer there tomorrow.
thanks for your comment and your important question. hope you will always enjoy what you read here and add your own thoughts as well.

egyptian feminist chic said...

hey fantasia, kol sana we enty tayeba, we kol el "readers " tayebeen :)

after reading the post and all of the previous comments, i realy have noting to add.... you discussed it so well, from every possible angle!!!! however i just wanted to add something related to the whole "derogatory" terms used for women....

the word that realy realy bothers me is "3anes" I have aways wondered why do people tolerate such a word???? it degrades women, and takes them down to a level where they have no value because they have no man... and why women use it and accept is just beyond me!! men who dont get married are okay.... there is no equivelant term for men. an older unmarried man is a bachellor, but for a woman, it is shameful, she is looked down on by society, and we use a dirty word to describe her. this is grossly unfair, since in current times and in most civilizatons, the men are the ones who propose, so if the right man doesnt propose, there is realy nothing a woman can do... i believe a lot of women marry the wrong person, and live in agony for the rest of their lives to avoid this ugly word... so in short we punish women for something that is not their fault.... and sometimes rumors will spread about why he is till single... bad rumors that can affect her reputation... thus making her chance of ever finding mr. right even less!!!

wanna know another word ??? "hareem" and every time i hear it i think... where do they think they are??? it sounds like slave girls ... maybe like in haroun elrasheed times, yet an increasing number of men are using this term to refer to women... and no one cares, no one is upset.. sometimes i wonder am i the only one who feels like we need respect?? and of course "weleya" how men use it a lot, regardless of social class... i remember i used to hear it in old arbic movies... and this is where i thought it belonged... until i grew up, and heard men using it, and women responding to them without batting an eye.... the list goes on and on....

i join you in saying that a woman is not a peace of meat!!!! her value does not depend on having a man...her value does not depend on how she looks, or if men find her sexy. A woman needs to be valued as a whole, her intellect needs to be acknowledged. her intelligence needs to be appretiaed. men need to learn to not only look for less successful women, or to bring down their spouses if the women are successful. we need a society overhaul! and it will not begin until women respect themselves, thus forcing men to respect them.

I say we boycott offensive derogatory language. we boycott any term that undermines anyone in society based on who they are and what they believe.... we boycott people who use these terms, or people will never realize they are wrong... every one deserves respect, and it is about time people stop acting like it doesnt concern them. if anyone hears a derogatory comment, even if it doest apply to you. talk to people about it, and how offensive it is.encourage people to talk to others about it ... and so on and so forth.... word of mouth spreads faster than wildfire.... so the more people believe that we need to stop using these terms, the faster these terms will disappear!

مروة الزارع said...

Very good information, I did not know before

Thank you for this article

But I dont like some pictures

Greetings to you and wish you a happy new year

Fantasia said...

dearest feminist chic,
kol sana wenti tayeba, and happy new year. thank you for this sweet greeting to me and the readers.. thanks also for what you said about this post. i really hope it was that comprehensive. there is so much to say about this whole cultural bogus and the way we create illusionary de factos. i believe this is the worst kind of violence against women, as each and every one of us is a victim of such false beliefs. we are forced to see ourselves in a certain way and then see the world through those artificial eyes! it is a total mess. we are lost inside this jungle of bogus where we witness our own dehumanization and humiliation.
i agree with everything you said about the words "3anes", "7areem" and "weliya".. such an ugly language which targets our self-esteem to guarantee our eternal submissiveness. and i totally support you in calling for boycotting these terms and expressing our disgust openly. we shouldn't take that anymore.. not our generation.. not the hard working, intelligent, active participants, and devoted female citizens of the 21st century. it will be a huge disgrace when future female generations condemn us for allowing this to happen at our lifetime. so let us all stand against this verbal abuse and take action to stop this dehumanizing language. lets make everybody realize that we are not willing to accept this.. and say it loud and firm: "NOT ON OUR WATCH"!
thanks for the valuable thoughts. inspiringly active and sincerely involved as usual EFC!

Fantasia said...

dear marwa,
what a wonderful and pleasant surprise. thanks for your visit, your comment and your nice greeting.
i'm sorry if you didn't like my choice of some pics, although i can't tell which ones. we actually have quite a limited variety to pick from, and i am trying to do the best i can with the limited time i have.
glad to know that you liked the article and found it informative in a way. hope you will keep up following what i post over here as well.
best wishes for the new year.

Miss Egyptiana "Trapped Soul" said...

Dearest ever Fantasia...

how are you doing? hope you had blissful holiday :)

first let me answer the poll question of the masculin equivalent of the word mozza; there is a word dear and it is widely used too ... which is MOZZ without A :) when a male look good to the stunning sexy level, he is called MOZZ... so i guess we r even now :)

they call us mozza, and we call them mozz

as for the history of the word, that was new to me, but i am not surprised to see the below medium class culture dissolving into the upper classes... natural dear... what determine the class nowaday is "how much money you have"

people like plumbers and electricians and nouveau rich have dominated the society with their culture, words, and ideas

beelive it or not... even the high and medium class use all kind of non-decent words in their daily life... it is a fact that we have to adapt for and live with... simply if u reject it, u will alienate yourself from your outer society

dont use it... but dont deny it

one last comment on the word Harem... i personally dont like it ... but it comes from 7orma... something forbidden to be seen or touched by others, as an indication of preciousness... it is good in the core meaning... but not good when it comes to application

thanks for the post and wish you wintery warm days

Egyptian feminist chic said...

fanta i saw your new blog... congrats!!!! hilarious story, but I just wanted to let you know i couldnt leave a comment there.... you only allow people with registered accounts... and i am not registered ( for privacy purposes) is there any way you could make the comment section there like it is here??? i would love to have the opportunity to post there as well. thanks a lot!

Fantasia said...

dearest egyptiana,
wonderful to hear from you. hope you had a good vacation as well.. mine went fine, although work piled up and i am currently stuck with the overload.
the word "mozz" seems fair enough.. however we can't consider it as such, as it is used in very limited circles and it is never intended as a means of humiliation or degradation. it certainly needs lots of work if females decided to use it as a counterpart to "mozza".
you are absolutely right about the social class issue and its relation to material income. unfortunately, we live in a world where money became identical to power. it dictates everything, basically.. especially in third world countries. in fact, money decides who belongs to the first, second or thrid world.
still, we don't find all societies surrendering to lower cultures.. some societies are not willing to forsake their values and they are doing everything possible to preserve their cultural identity. so why did our egyptian society crumble in the face of this low culture? there are other factors involved for sure.. and i intend to discuss them in detail in the near future.
the principle of deal with it.. or accept it or you will be the loser can be practical.. i agree.. but is it right? that's what we have to think about, i think. it is not a matter of acceptance or denial, it is a matter of right and wrong.. what is and what should be.
i simple don't own the right to reject a word like "mozza", in spite of its ugliness and indecency.. the majority of people who already decided to incoporate this word into our daily vocabulary have usurped my right to reject it, or even to condemn it.
denial is another thing.. i can't deny what is a fact. that's why i see things as they are, prefering not to over simplify matters or decieve myself like girls who blind themselves from seeing the ugliness of the word. i keep my eyes open and i can't deny what is already there.
but do i have to swallow it down my throat? is this enough reason to make me disregard the issue and deal with it as a matter-of-fact? is it right to do so?.. these are the questions that we should be asking ourselves.
dear, if i don't use the word, i am already alienating myself.. so, it won't make things any worse if i object to the use of this word as well. at least, i have to try to make others see that this is a BAD word, coz that is the reality of things. but to boycott it silently, this would be purposeless.. a passive act that would do no good to anyone, including myself, as i will still have to deal with this word every day whether i like it or not.
that's why rebels are always a pain in the ass.. coz they won't shut up like everybody else. we don't hold guns.. we don't force others to follow us.. we don't say that we own the only truth.. we simply speak our minds out.
somehow this seems to be scary to many people.. that's why they use this weapon of isolation against all rebels.
now, please allow me to be rebellious against the word "harem", which has nothing to do with precious things. that's what islamists are selling all the time, although they know it is not true.. exactly like the stupid simile of the velvet box where they want to keep women.. why don't we also keep men in a velvet box? at least men die younger than women, and this makes them more precious, logically speaking.
"harem" in Arabic is not an adjective, but a noun.. it is not a noun refering to human beings, but to an inanimate object.. it is the name of the place where women were kept. it got its name from the word "forbidden" or "haram", and it literally means: the part of a house which is forbidden to male outsiders.. this was the place where women were kept. and if you visit any of the historical islamic houses or palaces, you can see that women always stayed in a special section.
the word transfered from the place to the women themselves, which were called "7areem", meaning they are private property, forbidden to be seen by strangers. in the past, a man's favorite woman slave or concubine also belonged to his "7areem" (especially the one preferred by the Ottoman sultan, or the one who gets him a son, not a daughter) although she had no rights in the household, which means that she is not precious in any way.
so a real modern definition of the word would be "an object owned by a man".. that's why a wife is called "7aram folan" and in lower classes a man says "7aramna", meaning "my wife".
by the way, most of the nouns and adjectives referring to females in the Arabic language were either used for inanimate objects or animals. so, this word is not a special case.
thanks for your warm greetings.. all my best wishes.

Fantasia said...

dearest feminist chic,
thanks for letting me know about this problem.. it seems i forgot to change the default settings for comment. so sorry for this inconvenience. you can post your comments there right now. it will be such a pleasure to read your feedback there as well. so grateful for your care, my dear.

frustrated with egyptian guys said...

So what is the word for girlfriend in arabic? My egyptian boyfriend said that there is no such word and that dating is not really allowed unless you intend to marry the girl. Is that true?

Fantasia said...

dear frustrated with eg guys,
what your boyfriend said is theoretically true.. although most egyptians would normally start having a date from the time they reach high school. and it is quite a usual scene to find young couples holding hands, or even embracing, as you walk by the nile corniche. but the official egyptian society, which is that of elders, insist that there is no such thing as dating, and would rather lie to itself, pretending not to see what actually happens in real life.
so, basically, there are 2 versions for almost every aspect in egyptian life. there is the official theoretical version, which everybody pretends to believe.. and there is the true version, taking place on the ground under our noses, which is the opposite of the idealistic theory.
there are many words for girlfriend in arabic. in egypt, young people who date casually use the word girlfriend or "sa7bety".. "di sa7bet folan" means "this is his girlfriend".. those are usually students, who are realistic enough to realise that at their age, marriage is out of question.
as they grow older, those guys become more conservative while choosing a word to refer to their girlfriends.. in most cases, prefering not to use any word that would describe this guy's relationship to his girlfriend.. it is left for others to figure it out.
the rules of this guessing game is known to almost everybody. people are expected to refer to a girlfriend by the word "mortabetah" which means "engaged".. although she is not really engaged.. she is only dating someone. the same goes with the guys.. "mortabet" normally means he has a girlfriend.
we developed a kind of allergy against the terms "girlfriend" and "boyfriend" because they belong to the western culture. most people reflect their own monovision of the western culture on anything which has to do with the west.. therefore those terms have become notorious.. that is to say, sexually interpreted. and of course you know we are severely allergical to that subject.
the sexophobic face always surfaces to hide the sexually obsessed mentality. that's the way it goes.
believe me, i am as frustrated as you, if not more.. the same as many egyptian girls who truely suffer from this social schizophrenia.

raaasa said...

Just loved your response to Frustrated-- I was, and probably will be for a while, howling with laughter. Sometimes you just have to laugh. Thank you for your xray vision through the hypocrisy.

frustrated with egyptian guys said...

Thanks Fantasia. I had just been really frustrated with my bf. I don't know his culture that well, but he has been living in the states for 5 years now and acts very americanize so it confuses me when he talks about his culture with gf/bf. He has had 2 other gfs before me, so i thought that his mother knew about them, why can't she know about me. I'm not arabic or Egyptian and none of his other gfs were. So I wasn't sure he was just giving me a bunch of bull.

frustrated with egyptian guys

"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