Tuesday, April 22

Girls Need Modems

Yup! They defintely do. I've recently stumbled upon this amazing research paper by Krista Scott while surfing the net, and I immediately realized that she had clearly spoken my mind.. in a detailed, in-depth and highly organized manner.

In her masters thesis, Scott explains the advantages of female self-publication on the Web.

"The self-publication potential of the Net is one of the main reasons which creators cite as advantageous, since it allows for rhetoric and content which is unmediated by publishers, editors, or the like. Self-publication lends itself to a perception of immediacy, in that readers/users are more likely to feel that they can interact with ezine creators to those whose thoughts apparently are laid bare on the screen."

Hence the title "Girls Need Modems".. Before the internet, female voices were too feeble.. scarcely heard. And society kept pilling up restrictions on female writings in such a way which made publishing an almost impossible dream for women. They found many hands volunteering to shut them up, while they hardly ever found a helping hand that was willing to encourage them to express themselves, unleash their talents or exhibit their intellectual power.

In the beginning, cyberspace was not really promising. It was totally controlled by men.. Staying up all night programming, designing, entering codes, and publishing their own content. Yet, by time things have amazingly changed.. And in some cases even it may seem that tables have turned. Women stepped in so powerfully and made the best they could out of this new tool.
Female activity on cyberspace has exceeded the phase of being merely an outlet for expression and creativity.. Nowadays, one can actually say that the internet has given lots of girls a place to become actively involved with social and political issues.. Things that they would rarely, if ever, have had the chance to participate in! Moreover, the existence of multiple accessible self-publishing tools like blogs, forums, instant messaging.. etc, has allowed women who would not normally speak up on touchy issues to really dig in and find out what they believe and what they want to fight for. It is a haven for free thought, a place to meet like-minded people, get involved with activities and organizations, and write about how we feel as women in the world today.

But how many girls are lucky enough to enjoy that "luxury" in Egypt? That is the sad face that we gotta confront now. The number of Egyptian girls who publish online has got to increase. They need encouragement and support. They need a wave of gurus to teach them how to break out of their silence and realize that it is time for them to speak up.

Women issues has got to be addressed by women.. that's a fact. And girls who enjoy the freedom of owning their own voices online have got a major role to play in the battle for retreiving their freedom in the real world. With freedom comes responsibility. And each one of us out there.. each one who has managed to grab a piece of this cyberspace.. has got a responsibility towards the millions of other girls who haven't got the same opportunity. Believe me, there are millions who count on us. And I sincerely hope that we wouldn't let them down.

Female Bloggers Unite! Girls Online Unite! Let's do our best to make a change. We are lucky inividuals who have got a chance to rewrite history. We CAN do it. We are able to expand the horizon for millions of girls out there, if we only BELIEVE. The future of generations to come lies in our own hands.. RIGHT HERE.. RIGHT NOW.


Egypt Rose said...

Hi Fanta, where are you dear? I miss you alot.

I have more than one modem in fact, and i agree with both of you about that now with my modems I can say that I'm athiest without being afraid.. i can say i'm feminist ... i can say what every i need

Pink Unicorn said...


that's right
there's no stopping us ..

Go Girls ....

Fantasia said...

dearest rose,

where am i?! i've sent you many times.. where r u? hope all is fine. let me know how life has been treating you dear.

there is no doubt that the internet has got a huge impact on its female users. i'm glad that you are enjoying your freedom online, hope the time will come when all women enjoy this in their real lives.

Fantasia said...

dear pink unicorn,

there is a long journey ahead of us.. one full of challenges. we should go on for sure, and we gotta spread the word too. we need more and more girls with modems.

Egyptian Feminist Chic said...

Excellent post as usual Fanta :)

You're right.. no one can express a woman's point of view better than women... we are the ones who suffer the injustices, we are the ones who fight for our rights... we are the ones who spend countless hours and days attempting to regain the rights god gave us... it only makes sense, no matter how much men write, it will never be complete without a woman's point of view!!!

The problem is...what are we fighting against??? if a girl lives in a home where her father plays the role of the opressor.... so she cannot access the internet without him being over her shoulder... (especially since the whole fatwa saying women cannot access the internet without a "me7rem") he controls what she can or cannot read or write.... what is that girl to do?? the same goes for women who are married to such men.... I personally know a couple of girls whose husbands "forbid" their access to the internet if the husband is not present, and when he is, he goes over all her emails, and dictates what she writes to her friends... ( one of them told me on the phone that the reason her emails have become monotonous was because her husband goes over them and makes her erase anything he doesnt like!!)

the amount of censorship some women go through is amazing!!! and it happens when you least expect it... the girls i know are intelligent , outspoken, and creative.... sometimes I attribute their husband's opression to the generalized "fear" of women gripping society (thus covering them up to avoid temptation!!) so women like them are now feared rather than appreciated and respected!!! and yes, they both cover their hair... and one who used to hate the whole concept of hegab, but ended up wearing it for fearing a divorce from her husband, actually now wears "3abayas" only, and only black or dark blue!! so sad...

what I mean to say is that the lack of women online goes far beyond internet access.... it goes way deep into the new found ideology we are trying so hard to fight...

I dont normally advocate doing something behind a spouse's back, but in this case, for these women's sake and sanity.... I hope they actually go online behind their husband's backs.... I hope they learn that they are worthy people... that they can make decisions, that they are not inferior, and that the well being of future generations depends on them, so they need to embrace the role and be confident enough to demand being treated as equal human beings... that our future generations are in jeapordy if they are raised by timid fearful women, who dont have enough guts to ask for their basic human rights...

I second your call for unity.... we support each other and give each other confidence... the more women work together the farther we will go, and the more powerful their masseges will be!! Kudos to you my friend :)

raaasa said...

How right you are, Fanta, about the necessity for women's voices to be heard in cyber-space.

I would even go one step further back to the necessity of women writing full-stop. Writing puts you in the position of explaining your position, to others and most importantly to yourself, unravelling your ideas. In writing, it is most difficult to deceive yourself even if the brainwashing around you is intense and the stakes are high.

EFC, thanks for your comment. I always enjoy your insights and pertinent examples. Needless to say, I was most disgusted by your friend's husband's censorship of her personal writings and her fear within the relationship. I very well understand this and wonder where male control ends.

Fantasia said...

dearest EFC,

so sorry for the late reply.
thanks for making this point and drawing attention to the critical situation of girls in our society. yes you bet, there is a huge amount of censorship and sometimes she's even being monitored around the clock. still, the story of your friend broke my heart. i find this the most awful type of domination.. or an insult actually.. yeah.. how can a husband turn into a watchdog in such a way? what does this imply about the women that he has chosen to become his wife and the mother of his children? i can't believe those guys.

this censorship might have a justification if we're dealing with minors.. and let's stretch this term to its absolute limits (as it usually happens in arab societies) to reach girls who are still dependent on their parents. extending this beyond that is absolutely crazy.. even sick

anyway, as you said we gotta deal with it.. that's the given, and we have to acknowledge what's really happening on earth.
well, as a start, i don't know whether stealing moments of freedom can be called "freedom" at all. you gotta feel free to act like one. but given the complications of the situation as is, i gotta agree with you.. yes.. for security reasons those girls/women gotta do what they gotta do. they should give themselves a break at least. and i believe this can be liberating and inspiring in a way.. i mean when they express themselves and join others who hold the same beliefs and struggle for the same rights, this will definitely make them stronger and more self-assertive. their self-confidence will boost and they would probably be able to break their chains one by one.

and.. the most important factor of all.. they will get rid of their bitterness.. which won't make them carry it onto their children, but they will most probably try to bring their children up in a much better way and protect them against meeting the same fate.. they will make their kids independent and strong, encourage them to express themselves and think freely.. amen

still, there is the question of unity. women in more fortunate parts of the globe have found ways and tools to come together.. our job is tough on this one, and our road is full of obstacles. yet, we gotta find the means to make this possible and FAST. the speed by which we're rolling downhill is amazing! so, what could be done? NGOs? hehehehe.. big joke. networking?.. maybe.. but how?

Fantasia said...

dearest raaasa,

i absolutely agree with every single word you said. yeah, writing in itself can do wonders.

but what kind of writing? have you checked the blogs of niqabis and the likes? they are simply a mouthpiece for the men.. and they copy and paste stuff from the islamist websites and forums! they don't put any thought in a word they write. it's unbelievable!

would truly appreciate sharing your thoughts on this one as well as the question i posed in my reply to EFC

raaasa said...

Dear Fanta,

For me, writing equals thinking--before, during, and after the act, like an ijtihad of sorts.

The cutters and pasters are simply cutting and pasting.

"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