You’re not better than me and I’m not inferior. But, can we agree that patriarchy is still alive and kicking? Great. Growing up, I always felt like I had to go on the defensive in terms of where I came from and why I looked like I did. Yeah, it was pretty superficial but hey.
“So, in the Middle East, women don’t have much say, right?” I don’t know, you seem to have made up your mind.
“Men control women in Arab countries.” Yes, the only place in the world where women are controlled. And maybe a few other brown places you can snub your nose at.
“Can women even work?” I’ll excuse you for this statement because Google wasn’t around.
So, this is what I endured. Now, I’m not naive. Middle Eastern countries are very patriarchal. Women do not have as many rights as men. They are constantly battling a society that expects so much of them yet doesn’t afford them freedom to just be. Religion is thrown in their face and used as a means to exert control and power over women. And as a female that can recognize patriarchy and misogyny, I could see it in my adopted home too: Canada. To a wider degree, I saw it in the ever righteous West.
You crazy Nura. Calm yourself. No, I’m not. And when the whole #MeToo movement came out, I felt vindicated. See Susan? I told you so! But this wasn’t about rubbing it in anyone’s face. Women have always had to prove themselves twice as much and give twice as much because humans deemed it thus. The anti-women sentiment is a human disease and another societal ill that knows no colour, creed, or religion.
You got the weak men who feel threatened by us, and the women suffering from a Stockholm syndrome type condition where they cannot break free of their captors and telling us this is just the way it is.
No man or woman should dictate what I say or not say. No man or woman should dictate what I wear, how many articles of clothing or how little. No man or woman should dictate what I am good enough for.
In light of International Women’s Day, I want to thank the real men out there who stood by us as we gathered and marched and shouted from the rooftops. Those men who want a better and equal existence for the females in their lives. I want to also thank the brave women giving this generation and future generations a voice. You are our 21st century revolutionaries.
On our march, my sisters, let us not allow the pendulum to swing the other way. We know what it is to be oppressed. Let us never allow ourselves to be the oppressors. Men and women are one species and we should act like one.
And always remember, East or West, North or South, women have a long way to go on their path to equality. But, I have no doubt we will get there.