Here’s Why I Would Rather Become a ‘3anes’

(bossip.com)
(bossip.com)
(bossip.com)

 

5aly balek el banat ely betsafer bara 3ashan tedres aw teshtghal ghaleban betet25ar fy el gawaz, hatla2y so7bha bygwzo wa7da wara el tanya w hya 2a3da kda mmkn yfotha el 2atar w te3anes,” is was what my mother and her (female) friend told me after discovering that I was traveling abroad -alone – for university. That eloquent response remains my favorite amongst a long array of several others which included, ”ezay tseeby bent tsfr tedrs bara lew7dha” and “ya3ni hya msfra bara 3shan tedres seyasa la teb wala handasa tab ma t3od hena w 5alas.”

 

You may consider this article a four-year overdue response to that one comment: ana 2alby sewed awe msh nasyaha. I do believe that this comment is particularly problematic because it begs an important question regarding how Egyptian society truly views female education and success in Egypt, which is: how much female education and success is too much female education and success? Well, if you don’t know the answer to that, let me tell you that too much female education and success is never enough! As one wise woman (by the name of Cady Heron) once said, ”the limit does not exist.” And today we’re going to talk about just that. Yes, about why I would rather become a 3anes.

 

It really seems that the Egyptian societal paradigm is marriage-oriented. Consider, for example, the mothers that we all know who are already almost 80% done with buying “gehaz el banat,” and yes, most of their daughters are only 15 years old. Now, consider comments like “enty msh ht3refy tfta7y bayt da enty mbt3rfeesh t3mely kobyet shay.” Do not get me wrong here, I do believe that any individual should be able to take care of one’s self and perform basic household tasks, but I also do believe that my brother never heard a similar comment.

 

Finally, consider the infamous she3arel shahada w ba3den el 3arees 3alatool aw law enty nas7a el etnen ma3a ba3d.” The “shehada” is simply a stop along that journey that started with mothers buying their daughters those cooking pots for her ‘gehaz’ at 15, her family members commenting on her incompetence at perfectly performing household tasks at 17, and ending with a version of success that is only complete when she gets that wedding ring.

 

A second and related point came up when a male friend of mine told me “ana mgwzsh wa7da ma3ha masters aw PHD, men el a5er mgwzsh wa7da mmken tb2a 2azka meny.” This friend of mine, however, would find it highly problematic to marry a girl who does not possess a university degree. Your university degree as a female suddenly becomes an item that fills a marriage CV. In other words, you as a woman have to be educated enough to keep up a minimum level of appropriate appearance, but not educated or smart enough for you to think of yourself as his intellectual challenger, or equal.

 

I am not saying we should diminish the status of women who have chosen to become housewives and/or deprioritize their professional goals, I am saying we should socially and culturally give women much more room to live, recount, and write their life stories based on how they as individuals define success and fulfillment. If this does not happen and being 3anes or the risk of becoming 3anes continues to remain synonymous with actively and primarily pursuing ‘too much education’ and ‘too many professional goals,’ if this does not happen, then I would much rather risk it, and become 3anes!

 

 

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