Libyans think Feminism is a bad word and let me tell you what they exactly think. When i say i’m a feminist, people tell me “ugh you don’t want to get married? you hate men? why would want to be like a man?” you noticed of course the wrong standard understanding of feminism in general. I’m tired of people making every issue about men. for once, this is about us women!
Changing the concept of something that is about giving women rights and equal opportunities to something that says ” no one will marry me so i’m just going to be a feminist i’m a man-hater now ” believe it or not, me the “feminist” like all normal humans out there, wants to get married and have a family, and i’m really comfortable in my own body and i love being a woman. But education, getting equal work opportunities, meeting people, developing my personality and thinking, reading more and getting to know myself better, decide what i want in a partner first makes me a man hater?
Because i know i have rights and i have what it takes to speak up for them? because i know i’m better than settling for just another man’s wife?
There’s nothing wrong in being someone’s wife i’m just saying you could be more. And man is not the enemy. He’s a father, a husband, a brother and a son. A man is nothing but what a woman raised after all. Now here comes the real issue i’d like to call it “what the woman raised“. This men are better goes deep down in Libyan society, for example women can give birth to more than 7 girls in order to have a king for the throne so her husband doesn’t decide to remarry. Do you imagine the amount of sacrifice she has to go through? what she puts her body through? *7 isn’t a random number this is a family i personally know*.
As i said before Libyans poor human anatomy knowledge is the source of all evil ( someone should double check the biology curriculums ) you think by now they figured out that the father gives either his X or Y chromosome, that defines the sex of the baby ( i hope you can sleep soundly now it’s not really your fault or your responsibility there’s nothing you do or eat that will get him to give you Y ) .
If a woman is over thirty and doesn’t get married, they’ll start gossiping about her ” Flana(1) is so old she’s running out of choices” ” Anast(2) meskena(3) ” “she should just accept anyone” “she’s lucky if anyone looked at way anyhow”. They live with the old libyan saying ” shadow of a man better than shadow of a stone”.
Clearly they’re telling you to shut up and accept any man that knocks on the door. They also believe the other old libyan saying “nothing disgraces a man “.
And sadly i hear women ( young and old ) repeat these sayings in all kind of places.
If a marriage ends god forbid it’s the man’s fault, no matter what it’s always the woman, they’ll say ” she’s bayra(4)” “she can’t have kids” “she she she” ( they clearly don’t know that it takes two to make or break the relationship).
This underdog look women have for their own kind is the problem. If she has a son his needs and demands will be put first, what he says will be heard, he can order his sisters around and somehow it’s acceptable. this parenting is the issue, they put these ideas into their sons and daughters heads that a man is somehow superior to women. They need to change how they see themselves and other women alike . This hating campaign for their own kind needs to stop.
But it’s not a matter of women versus women. Libyan women in general don’t want to think; she’ll just tell you what her husband’s political views over tea just so you know she knows something, then they’ll discuss what really brainstorm them like ” the tanjara cake(5) ” or ” latest Nancy Ajram’s outfit” You do have a brain, same as any other man you might as well try to use it. God put it there for a reason. And i’m not saying men aren’t enjoying these privileges but they shouldn’t be blamed for it alone.
All i see in lots of marriages here are men picking out girls like they’re buying a jacket, something they have a right to choose with conditions ( bedha (6) and taweela (7) ) i’m not sure they want a wife or a fridge but again It’s what their mothers have been feeding them.
You go to a wedding and mothers start checking you out see how long is your hair, how pale are you, how old are you. the under 25 the better for her unemployed good for nothing son. I’m saying we shouldn’t blame men or women. It’s society’s problem as a whole. You see how all of this connects right? ( i hope you do ) .
This brings up something i read before and i’d like to quote :
“Whatever may be their use in civilized societies, mirrors are essential to all violent and heroic action. Napoleon and Mussolini both insist so emphatically upon the inferiority of women, for if they were not inferior, they would cease to enlarge. That serves to explain in part the necessity that women so often are to men. And it serves to explain how restless they are under her criticism; how impossible it is for her to say to them this book is bad, this picture is feeble, or whatever it may be, without giving far more pain and rousing far more anger than a man would do who gave the same criticism. For if she begins to tell the truth, the figure in the looking-glass shrinks; his fitness for life is diminished. How is he to go on giving judgement, civilizing natives, making laws, writing books, dressing up and speechifying at banquets, unless he can see himself at breakfast and at dinner at least twice the size he really is? So I reflected, crumbling my bread and stirring my coffee and now and again looking at the people in the street. The looking-glass vision is of supreme importance because it charges the vitality; it stimulates the nervous system. Take it away and man may die, like the drug fiend deprived of his cocaine.”
— From “a Room of One’s Own.” Virginia Woolf.
Libyan society needs Feminism more than ever. because Feminism is believing people should have equal places in society regardless of their gender. Feminists are not angry lesbians who hate men. We do not believe women are better than men, or that women deserve special privileges or believe women are victims. you can be a housewife and a feminist, as long as it’s your choice. And of course you don’t have to be a woman to be a feminist.
In order to be a feminist, you have to believe in one thing “ All humans, male and female, should have equal political, economic and social rights.” see it’s easy! By now you’ll probably be hating me for not icing the cake for you and I’m hoping you came to the conclusion that it’s absurd to hate or blame anyone based on their sex, class, beliefs or religion. We need to start facing the real issues here. If this doesn’t apply to you then you’re an exception just like me but the rest of the society is the rule ( take it from someone who has been here all of her life ). Facing our issues is the only way for ever finding a solution for them. This denial has to end.
Written By: J.E
Note: The attached photo in the article “ Midday ” by the Russian socialist realist artist Arkady Plastov in 1961. It portrays a man and woman in their nature, using and drinking water together, without any societal environment around them hence equality.
1- Flana : so and so.
2- Anast : growing old without getting married.
3- Meskena : poor she.
4- Bayra : good for nothing.
5- Tanjara cake : pan cake ( it was a hit in libyan cooking groups in past month)
6- Bedha : very pale.
7- Taweela : tall.