Tuesday, 5 August 2008

In through one ear and out the other

Last night, I watched a segment about the "Respect Yourself" or "E7terem Nafsak" anti-sexual harassment campaign by Kelmetna Magazine on "el 3ashera masa2an" show along with millions of other people. It resonated with me as I'm sure it did with many other girls around Egypt particularly since the segment adamantly placed emphasis on the fact that it's not the girl's fault and unlike what people believe, it doesn't simply boil down to the way she's dressed.

So I decided to check out the campaign's facebook group and you'll never guess what I found people arguing about for pages upon pages.

Actually, you probably can

Lo and behold, people were still arguing about clothes and the way girls are dressed.

I'm stunned that so many people are simultaneously naive and hardheaded. Note to the public : covering a girl from head to toe has been done and it doesn't desuade macho-men with inferiority complexes walking through the streets of Cairo from running their mouths and possibly drooling to the extent of needing a bucket tied around their necks (and this has been supported by research).

Before anyone flames me, I'm not advocating that women walk around in the skimpiest of outfits but basically I believe in two things :

a) Regardless of religious beliefs, I don't think it's particularly intelligent of a girl to emphasize her body over everything else she possesses be it intelligence, talent, humor..etc.
b)However, I do believe in personal freedom.

Another reason why the whole clothing issue is so completely redundant to me is that saying a women is "asking for it" by the way she dresses is basically proclaiming that the majority of men in Egypt are decerebrate animals with absolutely no control over their actions who are simply being driven around by their hormones and desires. I find that both lame and unacceptable. Seriously, people have to come up with a better excuse than that.

To further explain my point; let's use the open door analogy Egyptians seem so fond of. We like to say that if a door of a house or a car is left open, surely this will lure a theif.
Well, yeah..except that means that 90% of the Egyptian male population have suddenly become degenerate theives and women (pssst...those are the houses/cars...ooh..and their skimpy clothes are the open doors!) have suddenly become walking targets.

I don't know about you but that's just insulting to both sexes .

I don't want to live in a place where that analogy is an accepted fact that applies to the vast majority of the population especially in this day and age.

You know what the real problem is? It's apathy. As cliche as that sounds, it's the truth. Nobody gives a damn any more. It's just another day and another chick getting hit on by some moron, maybe violently, maybe not. Ho-hum well what's new and what do you expect me to do, lady?

I'd go as far as to say that some people enjoy seeing other people's misery. After all, it makes for awesome small talk!

listening to: Robyn-Bum like you


sayed said...

The problem is a societal problem, and it's not just about sexual harassment, it's the hegab, sexism, violence (of any kind), and the list goes on.

People just don't care, as you mentioned, but also people no longer stand up for whats right. It's the "wana mali, khaleeni f 7ali".

People, men and women, should dress any way they choose to. But the problem with Egypt is that it's all relative. A girl wearing shorts and a tank-top relative to 80% of girls in hegab makes her stand out, and makes her a "target".

Unfortunately, even girls aren't united in defending personal freedom, because I've heard the "it's the girl's fault" argument from many girls.

On the one hand, it's good that someone is finally doing something about this issue. On the other hand, it may be too little, too late.

Adham said...

I like to believe that no matter what, nobody deserves that something bad happens to him. Just because a girl dresses in some way, be it "offensive" or not is something relative, just the fact that she's being harassed and molested even verbally is something that should shame our whole society. I mean, is it ok to kidnap for examples tourists who wear swimming suits and rape them and then say that they deserve it or is it that because a girl from our own society dresses in a certain manner -which is the simplest form of personal freedom- that some guys decide that she needs to be punished that's just stupid.

I'm sorry I'm living in such a society and believe me I'm almost ashamed telling anybody now that I'm Egyptian.

I don't know, I have a lot to say about this to fit a comment space, may be later on my own blog.

Wandering Scarab said...

I agree with you wholeheartedly on the apathy issue. However, I think apathy is only part of the problem. Sermons by the likes of Sheikh Taj El-Din Al-Hilali (in Australia) who compare women to pieces of meat only reinforce the idea that a sexual harassment victim is at fault. It seems that part of it is also denial. The people who claim that what the victim is wearing influences the outcome are the same ones who refuse to believe that veiled women are being harassed because that would change their entire perspective of sexual harassment. They prefer not to think; it's easier to have someone do the thinking for them. However, the men that commit harassment against women know full well that it's not about what the woman is wearing. Instead, it's the belief that women are substandard and inferior to men, to be used and abused so to speak similar to property, that fosters that kind of behavior.

Nonetheless, the fact that the issue is getting some attention, especially in the media, is a step forward.

Good post.

Anonymous said...

You are tagged woman!