WOMEN have come a long way in history. But our progress looks so different from country to country.
Having grown up in the suburbs of the Midwest, I’ve enjoyed relative freedom in personal expression as a woman. Of course, I experience disrespect as a woman from guys when they dismiss my intellectual reflections or treat me as a “bro,” but I can hardly complain for long when I consider the situations of my sisters across the world. Even when I recently visited Hong Kong, a developed society, I felt incredible pressure to act cute & needy and have pale, blemish-free skin simply because I was a woman (please excuse my broad generalizations of Hong Kong’s culture).
So then, what about women who live in societies that CONSTANTLY expect them to submit their words, their actions and even their bodies to men? What is it like to have the courage to protest structural injustice, only to have my opinions smothered and my body exploited by the very people who are supposed to administer justice?
My heart stirs in anger for these women in Egypt. These things should not be.
In the midst of the injustice, there are voices proclaiming truth. In the above article, the husband of one of the women who was sexually assaulted defends her innocence: “My wife did nothing wrong.” It saddens me that his words will probably have more legitimacy than his wife’s because of his sex. But I am thankful for men like him.
Since the beginning of history, women have been framed as weaker and less valuable than men. The irony is that the very efforts of society to subdue women are perhaps making them even stronger. One can read this article and say, “Well, it’s just one story.” Sure, but to dismiss it as just another story highlighting the follies of ultraconservatives and the sufferings of women in the Middle East would be to overlook the one word that describes these women in Egypt, indeed, throughout the world: