Monday, December 6, 2010

I am a woman!

I wear the face veil. It's no secret. The reason for me wearing it has changed since I put it on. I do not wish to discuss the reasons simply because it's personal. But what I will discuss is the reactions I get from random people, mainly men, and how I rehearsed repeatedly how I will respond to those late 50 early 60 year old men when they throw their opinions of my worthlessness. I have also wondered why it matters to me that I show them they are wrong. The only thing I can think of is that while they call themselves intellectual they deny one of the main principles of intellect which is knowing that their truth is not ultimate. That is something I feel they need to know. So, I walked into a book store in the Club. A man sneezed in the line in front of me when we were waiting to pay. I told him bless you, in Arabic. "Yarhamakom Allah." Which literarly means May God have mercy on you. So he turned around to respond with the regular response, "And on you too." When he saw me he continued and may God have mercy on us all and rid us of the likes of you. "Wa yer7amna mennoko." A whole dialogue went on. It was a friendly one because I chose not to take his first comment to heart. His arguments were the typical, you will scare away the tourists. You are all ignorant. You are useless to the society. With each answer I gave him he would hear first what he wanted to hear. You will scare away the tourists. I said, "I won't affect the tourism, I want it to flourish." He answered, "what you don't want us to have tourism?" You are useless to society. "I am a writer, I work from home," I said. He responded what you think you have to stay home? Then came the final blow. You will not be equal to men. I said no I am equal to man, if not better. By the look on his face he thought I was crazy. I told him I can bear children but men can not. I have always admired Sojourner Truth, a feminist as well as civil rights activist. Specifically her Aint I a Woman speech. "...That man over there says that women need to be helped into carriages, and lifted over ditches, and to have the best place everywhere. Nobody every helps me into carriages or over mud puddles, or gives me any best place! And ain't I a woman? Look at me! Look at my arm! I have ploughed and planted and gathered into barns, and no man could head me! And ain't I a woman? I could work as much and eat as much as a man-when I could get it-and bear the lash as well! And ain't I a woman? I have borne thirtheen children, and seen most all sold off to slavery, and when I cried out with my mother's grief, none but Jesus heard me! And ain't I a woman?.." I summed up the discussion by telling him, it is my personal right and freedom to wear what I want when I want. I can choose to show whoever I want my face or not. Equality, is thrown in our faces only when it suits most men. But when it comes down to it, most of the men who shake their heads at me and show their disgust with my choices want us to go back to those days. The days where women needed to be helped up carriages.