Published on Scoop Empire June 27, 2015
We Arab women are constantly scrutinized by everyone from our inner circles to politicians. We’re either “oppressed” or over-sexualized; it’s an endless fight for equal recognition simply because of our background. But alas, the biggest opponent to Arab women is not the Orientalist Western world, it’s ourselves. As sad as it is, it’s unfortunately true; we have proven to be our own worst enemy.
This notion of constantly criticizing and shit talking comes from a major divide. On one end, you have women who are extremely conservative and on the other, very progressive – or, as my aunt calls them, “ekteeer open”. It’s true we come in different types, from the successful Amal Clooney to the devoted housewives to the scandalous Mia Khalifa and everything in between. When some don’t agree with the life choices of others, it somehow becomes leeway to bash that person’s character.
Some women’s idea of a Friday night is going HAM with the bartenders while for others, it’s card games and shisha. Some women chose the life of motherhood and others choose a Master’s program – and some choose both. Some women aspire to travel and taste all the adrenaline the world has to offer, others are perfectly content with their suburban palate.
That woman got a tattoo, this woman has never been kissed, that woman is a crazy ass activist, this woman wants to be a trophy wife – all those women are just trying to live their life. Hebla, thirsty, defsha –we’re all assigned a label with a designated reputation by society, and those with the harshest labels are the women in our society.
Our life journey is determined by the choices we make and it typically has no effect on outsiders trying to look in. This is why we need to stop caring what people think of our lives and stop gawking at the life decisions others are making. If one Arab woman wakes up at sunrise to pray Fajr and another Arab woman wakes up in someone else’s bed, I can guarantee that it will have no effect on how I go about my day.
Why are we being critical of women putting on the hijab or taking it off? What’s it to the rest of us if a woman goes to church two days out of the year or every Sunday? Dating, not dating, staying a virgin til marriage, being promiscuous; there is no reason to discuss or speculate about each other’s life decisions because it doesn’t affect us in any way.
Whether you agree or disagree, you can’t deny that you have not once heard an Arab woman talk shit about another. By acknowledging the fact that we do in fact have a social problem, shouldn’t we just… idk, stop or something? Hell, maybe we could do one better and try to elevate the women who share the same rich heritage as us. Considering the fact that we are vilified and exploited by everyone from media to random people on a daily basis, shouldn’t we paint a more positive image of ourselves FOR ourselves. You know, embrace feminism, bala fadaye7, and all that other good stuff.
Every day during my first year of college, my friend would pick me up, bump Beyoncé and say, “kul wa7ed 7orr fi 7alo” and just go throughout her day just killin’ it. It’s a beautiful Arabic phrase that means, “everyone is free to do as they please” – or, as I like to translate it, “do you, fuck the haters!” Ana 7orra to live my life as I see fit, and I respect every woman’s right to do the same. Slay, ladies, slay!