Tuesday, January 19

Part 2: The Secret of the Sacred Bitch


So, why do I scare you so much? I do wonder!

Is it the divinity in me? Something that I cannot help being.

Was there no other possible way of getting even other than dragging me in the mud, dumping me into the whirlpools of shame, cutting off my throat, burning me, and scattering my remains in hell? Can't you see, you fool, that you're becoming my slave once more? You sure are, for you're dedicating your life to demonizing me, you idiot! And it's not doing you any good. It's not doing anybody any good. Look around you, the whole life lies in ruins.. wounded beyond healing. Just because of the stupidity of a bunch of psychotic idiots who started this machinery in motion.. your glorious grandfathers! Yeah, smile, sucker! You've inherited every bit of their chauvinism, bigotry and greed.

Smile idiot!


At the age of 9, I went on a field trip with my class to the Pharaonic Village in Giza. It is a living museum, a miniature of how life used to be like in Ancient Egypt. What a charming trip it was! We sailed down canals which go through the whole village, passing by replicas of tombs, temples, houses.. watching actors planting, making paper out of papyrus; women weaving and making perfumes. It all left me mesmerized. And that same year I would ask Santa to bring me a time machine! Imagine a kid experiencing this type of nostalgia. Life sucked back then, but definitely it wasn't anything like how it sucks right now.

*Sighs* OK, so we were on this boat, with a nice guide from the Village who told us all the stories behind what we were seeing. We stopped by many monuments of Pharaohs, gods and goddesses. Of all of them, I somehow got very attracted to the statue of the warrior goddess Sekhmet.

Back then I was still being introduced to the world of mythology. I had not known about the existence of similar goddesses in other cultures and found it so interesting that Pharaohs fought battles behind this female goddess. Why did the men choose a female to lead them in warship? It seemed a mystery to me. Why a lioness, not a lion? Certainly a lioness never comes to mind when words like bravery, heroism, fight, battle, glory or the likes are mentioned.. so I could not really understand it. I thought like Pharaohs too must have had their eccentricities.. lol.

So, we continued our trip, took photos and all. Then we went to the gift shop to collect some souvenirs . Mind you, at that time the Village was only a fraction of what it has become today. It has immensely expanded ever since. Yet, for us, what we'd seen was too much already. We'd never seen history come to life in such a way.

My friends started picking their favorite items. I had little money with me, and thought I'd better spend it wisely. It is no surprise that the only thing I thought to be worthy of purchase was the object which had inflamed my curiosity.. I bought a postcard with the image of Sekhmet.

On the bus, while on our way back to the school, I kept staring at her, almost talking to her and begging her to explain it to me. “So what is your story lady?” How have you managed to become the bravest of the brave; the invincible bloodthirsty warrior that you are?


It is amazing how my feelings towards this lady remained unchangeable when many years later I saw her dignified statues in the British Museum. I actually spent a lot of time by her side there, telling her memories of the good old days. I apparently still admire her, although I am a person who utterly denounces all sorts of violence. To me, though, she stood for much better things.

Sekhmet means 'all powerful' or 'the one who is powerful'. This goddess also received many other titles when her religion flourished, all of them depicting how mighty she was. She's been called the Mistress of Dread, the Lady of Slaughter, Lady of Flames, Scarlet Lady (related to blood), the One Before Whom Evil Trembled, and The Avenger of the Wronged. She was also thought to be the reason behind diseases, and thus the only one who has their cures. So, her powers and knowledge were sought after by physicians too.. not only warriors. And as she brought war, she also brought peace.

Now, you see how she gathered polar elements of cruelty and mercy, disease and healing, conflict and reconciliation... etc. Her rage was enough to evoke ultimate destruction. She had to be calmed down, and the only way to soothe her was through music! Music would keep her happy and relaxed.

I absolutely fell in love with this lady.. the lioness with a taste for music; the one who healed the sick and wounded coz she felt responsible for them. Other warrior goddesses wouldn't give a damn about the sufferings of those affected by their wrath. Maybe they deserved to be viewed as bitches in a way.. but certainly not the lioness! It seemed so fitting, though, that men would work around their fear of her by dragging her image into the lowest abyss of shame. Yeah, the same old scenario! Won't you try for once being more creative, dudes?? Just for change?

The 'Labua' Complex

OK.. For those of you who don't know, in Arabic, the worst name to be given to a female is that of 'lioness'.. that is, if a woman is said to be a 'labua' (which is the Arabic word for 'lioness',) it means she is the most disdained being to walk the face of earth.

When I first learned about the horrible implications of this “insult” I found it hard to understand what the metaphor was all about. The common explanation you'd receive was that a lioness sleeps around.. she ain't faithful to one sexual partner! This is just so stupid, isn't it?.. For one, what is the difference between a lioness and any other female – or male – animal in this respect?? Hello!! Anybody seen a giraffe who spends her life with one sex partner?? or even a fish??? WTF is this about?

Ancient Egyptians actually made sense when they chose to fight under the image of the lioness. People used some logic back then, and could clearly see that the lioness was in fact the best hunter in the animal kingdom. So, while Mr. lazy lion lies there sleeping most of his days, she was the one doing everything, including teaching her cubs how to hunt. A lion actually wins his fights by the mere shape and size of his mane!! (How adequate!) But rarely engages in a real fight, or displays actual courage. He depends on his intimidating appearance and counts on the females of the tribe to feed him. Plus, he's not any different from his selfish human counterparts, for whenever he finds an easy prey that does not require much effort, and thus decides to hunt once in a while, he never shares his meal!!

That's exactly why today the lion became the icon of bravery and heroism! You see? Don't you just love our patriarchal societies? I mean, the guys hardly make any effort in identifying with the exact fitting types!.. Not forgetting, of course, to demonize their former goddesses who scared the sh*t out of them.

Macho Macho!

To be continued.. Justify Full

Monday, January 4

Do I Scare the SH*T Out of You?

This should have been a post for Halloween. Sorry I missed it. Been dealing with my own ghosts and stuff. But, no matter where I turn, I can't help but notice the amount of horror that a free , intellectual woman is greeted with in our society. Sometimes, it's too hilarious.. However, other times the defense mechanism which is automatically triggered at such a moment causes its beholder to turn offensive. Now, this is indeed pathetic, yet unacceptable.. and should not be tolerated.

Alright, check this out. Independent women in our society are constantly under attack. It's fine if you have a job, but it is not fine at all if you've really got career ambitions and professional goals. It's not fine at all if you're seeking financial security. It's not fine at all if you're planning to hold a high position one day. It's not fine at all to seek to be really competent and perfect your work. Why? Because you're a woman! For God's sake, you're created to be dependent! You're the pet of our human world! What the hell are you thinking? Career? Ambitions? Money? You wanna make your own money? that is not inherited or bestowed upon you by a generous husband? How can you call yourself a woman?

Women here don't get jobs to work or become productive. They have jobs so that society can indulge in the lie that women are enjoying their full rights. The majority of women have jobs that are not mentally challenging. Their employers always keep in mind that they won't stay long enough to hold any managerial position. Some workplaces cut the crap and make it clear they are employing men only. They don't even care what "a few" would think about that. They are putting the blame on women for being so unreliable.

If, however, they come across a woman who has got clear goals, who is career oriented, and has got what it takes to really succeed.. the applause doesn't last for long.

Somehow a woman cannot be separated from her personal life. She carries it with her everywhere.. you name it.. the office, the street, the club, the hair salon, the mall.. anywhere on earth. It's always the same old story.. Are you single? Why? Don't you intend to get married? What? You want a post-graduate degree? What for? You have career ambitions? You are I.N.D.E.P.E.N.D.E.N.T??!! What does that mean?

Let's say she gets married.. All expectations then revolve somewhere around her regaining her sanity and forgetting all about this independence crap. You're a wife and a mother, and you're not allowed to ask questions about the husband/father thing. We're not kidding here. You're a WOMAN.. remember?

Yeah, hell I do. I do remember when I took driving lessons. Everybody was asking my father (not even me) why he was allowing such a thing. "Do you really intend to let her have her own car?" they would ask. And when I traveled alone for the first time, it was like "Wow! How could she live on her own?" No rationale whatsoever. They expect you to be responsible for a whole family, yet they can't trust that you can take care of yourself!! And if you ask simple logical questions, like how do you expect me to be naive, weak, ignorant, vulnerable and yet at the same time become a super wife and mom? you get anything except what could be classified under "answer".

Men have always feared women. It is part of who they are. There is a whole culture built on this ancient instinctive fear.. it is manifested in myths, legend, fairy tales, traditional practices, religions, literature, language, art.. all possible forms. A very good read on this issue is Wolfgang Lederer's Fear of Women, published in 1968. It is a pity that libraries all over the world are so lacking when it comes to this subject.

In this book, the author argues that women have always been mysterious. Their body functions perform miracles that were beyond men's abilities to understand. The fact that the continuity of the whole human race lay in the wombs of women was indeed scary. Giving birth, a human coming out of another human, this oneness that splits into two.. that was also scary. The male's exterior genitals made him so vulnerable and insecure. While women have their genitals and all their 'magical powers' intact. They are tough in handling pain, yet they are smooth, delicate and charming. That's why a woman was often associated with the serpent, smooth yet deadly.

I'll just quote a few lines here. Lederer says:

"We have forgotten, or tried to forget, how much we are in awe of woman's biological functions, her menstruating and her child-bearing, and how much we abhor the smelly fluids of her organicity, the many secret folds and wrinkles of her inevitable decay. We are trying to deny her threat to our manhood, her serpent's tongue and the sharp teeth in her two bloody mouths. We refuse to believe in the lure of her depths, and the infinite demandingness of her void. We belittle her sexual challenge and deride, uneasily, her fighting strength..."

Another interesting read, which also draws on the serpent imagery, is Youssef Zeidan's novel Shadow of the Serpent (Zil al-Af’a). In a series of letters from an anthropologist to her adult daughter, the author unravels many episodes of human history and the factors which shaped this complex relationship between the sexes. Fear, is man's most instinctive and deeply hidden emotion towards women.. it is indeed which kept this huge snowball rolling. And, through those letters, the daughter is learning how she, as a female, has fallen from grace.

It seems that whoever refuses to become a fallen queen.. whoever attempts to regain her throne.. rekindles this dormant volcano. It seems the traditional wisdom goes along those lines: women cannot be contained.. unless enslaved, they turn into goddesses.

To be continued....

Friday, January 1

Yes, It's Me

Dear friends and readers of Fantasia's World,

I'm so sorry for letting you all down through those last months. I've been receiving your messages of love and support, urging me to go on writing, and surrounding me with a sort of warmth that has touched me so deeply.

For those of you who haven't noticed my absence, I say: skip this post.

For those of you who did, pardon me and spare me the pain of reliving those past times in order to provide an explanation.

Just wanna tell you all that I LOVE YOU. And just as you've been there for me, I owe it to you all to be there for you. This is YOUR blog now, I can't claim any ownership over it any more. If you want to read more from me, then this is what you shall get.

I may have started this blog for very personal reasons at one point. But you certainly gave me the inspiration and the dream of reaching out to serve bigger aims.

Thank you all. You gave me something so precious.. so real, although it exists in the virtual world. Thanks to you, I'm back. I'm back to my self. I'm back to life. And I'm back to this blog.

Happy New Year!

"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