Saturday January 4, 2020 By: Farah Desouky
I’ve decided to wait, process, not speak out of anger and emotion, you know, not to be the “hysterical woman”. So two videos circulated recently, one from Sharkiya, the other from Mansoura, of group sexual harassment/assault. Egyptian men’s celebration of New Year’s eve.
Tons of questions raced through my head. Would this behavior exist if men didn’t feel entitled to controlling/ regulating women’s bodies? No. Would this behavior exist if large groups of “bros” didn’t act as a support system for toxic masculinity? No. Would this behavior exist if many women stopped being gatekeepers to the patriarchy? No. Would a guy do that if he wasn’t surrounded by a crowd eagerly encouraging and trivializing the crime? Maybe not.
These videos show us men simply punishing women for existing in “their” streets and “their” space, something they take for granted; the privilege of freely taking up space. The patriarchal structures we live in dictate men’s ownership of everything including the streets and our bodies. The bodies they get to criticize or deem unworthy or cover up or rape. The object they were brought up to lust but not respect. This important part of their ego, yet not important enough to have agency. This provocative ideal they admire yet constantly violate.
Let’s wrongfully assume this is the end result or biggest issue caused by patriarchal societies. The end result does not happen overnight, it does not exist in a vacuum. It happened over time, spreading like cancer. It’s controlled by rhetoric, jokes, media, years of socialization and upbringing. The context most ignore after every single news headline written on a gender based violence issue, as if they all exist coincidentally and solely not as a product of the same – again – context.
Feminists are gaslighted almost every time they speak up on a supposedly trivial issue. Met with the obvious moans on overreacting and minimizing the cause. But the problem is that every little thing matters, because little things accumulate, they build bigger things, and the next thing we know women are being chased down the streets, touched groped and punished. And we all feel so shocked as if this is not the aftermath of all the little things we’ve been enabling, normalizing and tolerating.
Well your surprise is naive, the fact that we expect any other outcome is naive. We don’t need shock we need to stop tolerating the little things. Stop slut-shaming and classifying women into categories of morality based on their outfit choices, as if not every category gets slut shamed and harassed regardless anyways. We can also survive without comedy based on the tragedy of sexism, and if woke culture is the end of comedy – which it most definitely isn’t – then to hell with comedy because women’s livelihood is more important than the dudes having a laugh in their locker room. Silence got us here, mere agreement with the feminist stance without actual actions as simple as having a voice got us here, don’t just nod to feminism diagree with sexism because neutrality isn’t serving anyone but the guys chasing women down the streets and ripping their clothes to shreds.
Farah Amr Desouky is 18-year-old feminist at heart. Farah combines her passion in writing and women’s issues to advocate for her cause.
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