The Laila’s I know are no victims…are you!!

Some women tend to victimize themselves, curse the day they were born in an oriental masculine society…and pray for a miraculous “change the birth” arrangement.  While the rest don’t.  Personally, I don’t subscribe to this “emra2a mahidet el gena7” pattern, neither -I may claim- the ladies am surrounded by at home, work, or social circle. 


Maybe I was lucky enough to grow up in a house full of strong passionate women who took pride in their own gender and embraced their nature.  Yet, away from home everyday I get to meet wonderful women from different backgrounds and social standards and I rarely come across one who is fond of the victim role.   But at the end of the day Egyptian Women are always looked upon as “victims”.  Why?


Am curious to know; as an Egyptian female…how do you see yourself!! 


Published in: on October 19, 2008 at 9:42 am  Comments (14)  
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14 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. Well, we have to take into consideration that we, and the circle of women around us, belong to a certain social class with a (very) good level of education and a considerable share of exposure to culture and civilized worlds. But our segment represents around 8-10% of the population.

    For your question “why Egyptian women are always looked upon as ‘victims'”, I have two answers. First, those women are in fact victims and I would say they are less fortunate in terms of education and financial independence. Second, it’s the “prevailing” image. Ya3ny, I believe I am NOT a victim at all. However, some men and women still want to think I am a poor vicitim just because I am a woman. In other words, it’s an imposed image.

    As for living in Egypt as a woman, I believe I have all my rights in terms of education and job opportunities. BUT still I encounter people who believe women should be content with the minimum level of education and experience and that they should leave big achievements on both the intellectual and professional levels to men! And the question I always pose is: “why asking women to be ignorant and inexperienced instead of asking me to be more educated and experienced? Why my gender should define where I stand on the IQ level?” And the question remains unanswered!

  2. I love this post. I too come from a long line of strong Egyptian women. My mother, grandmother and her grandmother before her. All have valued education, intellect and the ability to form and voice an opinion. At the same time they also value family above all. My mother always says that a victim is someone who repeatedly allows themselves to be victimized and has hammered that into our heads very clearly. I am what I have chosen to be. Even when life presented difficult or unfair choices I was always supported by them not to play the victim and to turn lemons into lemonade. God bless them all.

  3. Definitely not a victim!!

    More like “Lucky”!

  4. tayeb, am not gonna comment on this post, actually I will wait then compile your comments and try to come up with a conclusion 😀

    gjoe, can u elaborate 😀

  5. I think this post is interesting…
    I am a member of this new women group in Padova (Italy) (I don’t know if you can read italian) and I shared with them your post.
    Here there is a Sportello Donne dal Mondo (Place Women from World) of the council, and sometimes foreign and muslim women denounce abuses from family members..
    Immigration causes stresses and sometimes stress brings men to violence, but also to feel a victim make it easier… what you think?

  6. It’s definitely an imposed image inspired by an old reality and may be some cases in rural societies.
    Funny enough it hasn’t been created by men as some might think. Women have contributed to it by either their misunderstanding of their own nature, and religious/ social constraints which are meant for protection not underestimation or degradation of who they are. Or the way they chose to ask for things instead of earning them.
    For those women please think again … you don’t have to beg for your rights, you just have to claim them !
    I personally believe that women including myself enjoy a great deal of independence, status and access to opportunities.
    Women rules countries, run organizations, make a difference, touches lives and fulfill their roles.
    Women have the intellect, beauty, vision, passion, education, …how can they be victims.

  7. Orybal,
    unfortunately I cannot read italian.
    I just have a little comment on this sentence “foreign and muslim women denounce abuses from family members”. I prefer using foreign and arab women..rather than foreign and muslim 🙂

    On the immigration point, i totally agree with you. One is always vulnerable away from home and family etc. yet violence is not acceptable to begin with, if a woman accepted being subject to home violence and never tried to take an action. She is then the one responsible for her own misery.

  8. It’s an interesting issue you’re raising. I agree with the opinion that sees that we and our immediate circles and social class are not by any means victims. Rather we are privileged in many ways and have had many opportunities in life that others, both men and women in Egypt, haven’t had.

    However, many women in our society, similar to many men as well, are victims of poverty, ignorance and abuse. But women suffer a bit more because of the mysoginst and male dominated nature of society that puts further constraints and restrictions on their opportunities in life.

    I have seen countless examples of such victims, mostly from both urban and rural lower income classes (i.e. the majority of Egyptians), ever since I was a child and up till today. They are women who received no education (although in some cases male members of their families did), who were married off at a very young age (usually 14), who had many children (an average of 4), and who at one point suddenly became the sole breadwinners for their families because their husbands either deserted them or divorced them or refused to spend any penny more on their family.

    What I admire is how many of these women, with no real skills or experience in life, managed to make a living and even put their children, especially girls, through education so that they would have a better chance at life than they did.

    These are women, like many others in Egypt, who are victims of social, cultural and economic circumstances, but who were not broken and who persevered despite the odds against them.

    But I wonder… how many others didn’t make it…and how many others still won’t make it???

  9. Nerro, I would like to say some more: sometimes also local women (weak or not strong enough or without a job) keep living with a violent men till 16 years.. I met one. They try to escape and then come back because he prayed… isn’t easy. And often foreign and specially arab (most are moroccan women, here) are only housewives, don’t speak italian, never exit alone and they also are far from family and vulnerable as the husbands… how they can ask for help? Some do it. 🙂

  10. hmmm ..look i don’t know for me sometimes i think that we r strong enough and that we are now better than before and have many rights…but some situations makes me feel “O god men are so mean with us ” .. i feel that when i take a taxi and then getting a bunch of “shataym” because iam a girl riding alone without a man to stop him…this only to force me giving him more money to shut his mouth..”it’s always unfair “…once i payed a taxi and then i was surprised that he is following me shouting with very bad words and accussing me that i didn’t pay him anything!! i had to call an officer to solve z problem but when i entred z library i hid my face in a book and i cried alot…

    so i don’t really know if iam a victim or not!!!

  11. Dear ladies,
    am enjoying reading all your input. this is a very confusing issue. Begad, ya3ni I sit with some females and I feel they own the world…I sit with other bunch and I feel we seriously live in 3asr el zolomat. Through the comments and my discussion I am trying to come up with…well, a theory or a logical sort of explanation

  12. hmmm i guess the only explaination for this is that we aren’t a full open-minded society + the phenomena of lacking ethics or let me say aware enough of them ..yes it’s a main factor i guess …if we had youth with strong base of ethics we will not find a boy annoying a girl…la2no sa3tha hyy2ol di law my sis mish hardalha keda.. w 7ata law day2ha htla2i 10 etlamo 3laeh kaloh …we rarely see such a nobel act these days …instead of this people stand steady ,watching z girl or joing the boys “zay ma 7asal fe west el balad wel gam3et el dowal”.. if we had a strong ethics the boy will be aware of what our prophet mohamed said “al nas sawsya ka asnan el mesht,etc…” if we solved this ,we would have the half of this problem solved ..

    what makes u feel confused that we have some boys with good ethics or open-minded enough.. but we still have many of open-minded without ethics ,ethics without open-minded,or neither w dool feh mnhom keteeeeeeeeeer…

    P.S : byzway i mean by open-minded those who are aware of roll in society…bringing life to it and raising its memebers..etc..

  13. I just recently found your blog and have been going through reading old posts, and while I have liked most of what I have read and seen :), I am rather dismayed by your post above…
    “… if a woman accepted being subject to home violence and never tried to take an action. She is then the one responsible for her own misery.”

    Really, as a woman how can you actually believe this? Violence against women is a serious problem, one that the woman should take no responsibility for, ever. Especially in the Arab world, where very few leaders within these groups have been ready or willing to condemn it and so many even justify it as a necessary means of maintaining family honor and male dominance. So it is crazy to think that these women can take “action” as societal norms, constraints and pressures make this impossible. She would be an outcast in her society, to her own family even and face further physical harm (not to mention the mental and spiritual harm that goes along with it).

  14. […] • The Laila’s I know are no victims…are you!! « Nermeena […]

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