Feminism. I, Farah Khairat, believe in feminism with all of my heart, and with every inch of my body and soul. Feminism, to me, is defined as the political, social, and economical equality of both genders. I, being an Egyptian woman have come to realise that self-respect comes from within you. Not from the men who call you a slut, or claim that you are asking for it. “Don’t wear this. Don’t walk there. Don’t say that. Don’t laugh like that.” Don’t. Don’t. Don’t. A society absorbed in don’ts and oppression. Why should I, a female, be punished and restricted because a male cannot handle his testosterone? Why should a woman be paid less than a man in some countries? Are we not in the 21st century? Has feminism not been evolving since the 19th century, La Belle Epoque? Why is it, that women in Saudi Arabia cannot drive? Cannot go out without a male? Why is it that they must cover their hair, while a man can do whatever he pleases? Why, I ask you, have 98% of Egyptian women been sexually harassed? This. This is why I believe in feminism, and the concept that my self-respect, comes from within me, and not how you, or anyone else would define me.
We live in a society where rape culture is embedded profoundly, and repulsively into. We make jokes about rape. Jokes. As if it were anything near humorous for a woman, or a man’s body to be violated so horrendously. How many times does a woman, or a girl need to hear “Get back in the kitchen” accompanied by an imbecile’s laugh? When do we draw the line? When is enough truly enough? But enough was a long time ago, wasn’t it? How many god-damn stories do we need to hear about a young girl forced to marry a man at least 4 times her age, to merely be raped, and killed to know that now is enough? Domestic violence is frowned upon when inflicted on women, but when a man is abused, people find it amusing. The common misconception that feminism chooses to blame everything on men is vastly distorted. Feminism, promotes equality upon genders, not one over the other. We are taught from a young age that men shouldn’t be as emotional as women, and that women cannot be insensitive or they are abnormal. But who creates these norms? Why have these norms not evolved in a large portion of the world? Due to the male-dominant society we live in, women have more rights to fight for than men. It’s sad how people as exposed to a westernised culture, such as some at our supposed open-minded school, have such rudimentary mentalities; who think in black and white, no in between. Moreover, it also proves how society, and culture indirectly encourage sexual harassment by telling women that they should stay home, as opposed to educating their males on respect.
Feminism is a factor needed in a multitude of circumstances, ranging from relationships, to sexual harassment, to unequal salaries. A woman is not beautiful, or sexy when a man tells her she is. A woman does not lose her dignity when sexually harassed, a man does. A woman, or a man’s self-respect is defined by themselves; as Heidi Pickett states, “Do not look at yourself with disgust, you are a gift to this earth. You are beautiful, you are a light, an energy, an essence. You are nature herself.” Feminists are perceived as “crazy,” but I do not, and never will understand why fighting for a concept as simple as girls’ education is so absurd. I believe in feminism because I know that “evil” people aren’t the ones who harass, sexually assault, have prejudices, make insensitive jokes, or perpetuate harmful stereotypes. I believe in feminism because I am an optimist. I know that change is possible. I know that people are capable of love, resilience, and growth. I know we can be better. We will be. I am an optimist. I am a feminist. And I am part of the change.