Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Attending Lade’s workshop:

So I was attending this workshop today, it was organized by LADE or the Lebanese Association for Democratic Elections. But I will not go through the details of the workshop, there is only one detail that made me smile (but not in a so positive way). You see at a certain point, there was some chaos which is understandable it was the after lunch session and everyone was a bit tired.

But what I found typical and unacceptable, was that one of the opinions was expressed by a young, intelligent woman. She was repeatedly interrupted by an older man who just happens to be a professor in some university. I wouldn’t have given it that much importance if it would have happened like twice or three times and if it wasn’t so evident. Nermine (the young woman) would start her sentence, after so much effort to get the attention that should not be so difficult to get in this ultra-civilized and ultra-cultivated environment, only to be interrupted before she would finish. Not by someone (who is the great male professor) who is making a point opposing hers, no she would get interrupted because the guy just had a point that he was making minutes ago and didn’t deem he should wait for Nermine to finish hers. No why would he.

And if that wasn’t so compelling, then another professor named Toni, started interrupting little Nermine just the same way.

Ok so maybe it was a Nermine thing. You may say that maybe Nermine just didn’t know how to impose her own authority. But then again something slightly similar happened with another young girl. Who was expressing a very simple concept which says that regardless of whether or not media coverage for one electoral candidate was positive it is a positive thing for the candidate because it is media attention none the less. But some guy that was sitting next to her did not agree, and he insisted on his point of view without giving any substantial evidence or even thinking about what that young lady was saying.

But if you still don’t believe me then you should have been there and you would have noticed that for example women were present but did not have much to say, as participants. The most persistent commentators were men. Nermine and her friend were almost the only females that talked.

I am not saying that the organizers or facilitators were sexism or misogynists. No, they were not. And I am not saying that the professors were consciously interrupting or silencing the women. No they were not aware of it. But in our minds (all of us) respect is always more due to older, men with degrees than it is to younger women. And again if you do not believe all you have to do, is google professor, and tell me at which page will you find the first woman?

Friday, March 27, 2009

if kids can do it then so can we - مؤازرة

بإختصار القصة وما فيا، كان في رجّال عم بيجرّب يخطف بنت زغيرة (سبع سنين) من مدرستا. فواحد من رفقاتا (ثمان سنين) بيهجم عليه وبيضل يلبّطو توقع المجرم

هيدا اللي لازم يعملوا النسوان! لازم نوقف سوا ونلبّط. يمكن الرا لوحدا ما بتقدر تربح مشكل مع رجّال (أنا بقول مبلى، بس إنو سلّمنا جدلاً إنو لأ) بس إذا إبن ثمان سنين وقّف عملية خطف فا أكيد أيّة مرا كمان قادرة توقّف ايّة جريمة. النسوان بهل مجتمع لازم يفهموا إنو كل مرة أنا بشوف مرا عم تنهان أو تتعنّف واجباتي إتصرّف. وإلا أنا بكون أنا كمان مشاركة بالجريمة

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Sexual Harassment - The Frustration

I always knew I would end up working on street harassment, I just knew it. At times I felt it's too much work to do, that it's too big for me or even for civil society all together to work, at times I thought that the world is just waiting for my signal and that I will change the WORLD.
So I finally got my act together and started writing this plan, how to eradicate street harassment... right? And in my head it seemed like such a cool plan.
Now I after spending a very long weekend writing and fixing the plan I was only done with 50% of the first draft of the plan and then more time passed and I worked even more. I still had like 20% but I was stuck. So I thought I'd research what others have done and now I am not sure how to quantify that I have over with.
There were and there are lots of people working on street harassment, it's an agonizing job. The more I work the more I realize my work is so far from being complete. I never understood how can writing a plan take so much time, but now I understand. It's like the more you do the more you find out you need to do more.
I am not sure if I am supposed to be thrilled about that or frustrated. On one hand, harassment is very personal, very intimate, very complicated and each survivor has to go deep inside her/his being to find answers to harassment, its motives and its mechanisms. But at the same time, the woman's body has always been the battlefield of the most political/public war ever (and no, the use of "ever" is not exaggerated).
Society has to change, women have to change, men have to change, you have to change, I have to change, you and me have to change.
That's a lot of "changes" that need to take place, don't you think? And all this to stop sexually frustrated and blind mobs from scaring the shit of every penis-deprived person on earth.
Back to the plan I guess.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Sexism is a Sin!

As we all already know, March is Women's month, and among the causes women fight for around the world, is a cause I have believed in since I was very young; Women's Ordination. For those of you who don't know what that means, it consists of women's right to become priests, deacons, and bishops in the Catholic Church.

While preparing for our international women's day activities last week, a friend of mine asked me how I can be a feminist and still be religious. I answered back with a question: how can you be a feminist and still live in Lebanon? Lebanon is a country where women are extremely oppressed. Lebanese society does not acknowledge women as full human beings, and, still, we're here instead of moving to another country where women have full equality. We stay here and fight for our rights because we love our country, because we believe in it, and because we believe things can change.

The Roman Catholic church has a patriarchal structure that oppresses women today, and a lot of people who don’t want to give up on their religion and their church work on changing this situation to "return the church they love back to the example of Jesus, to be a radical table community where all are invited and included." The Women's Ordination Conference (WOC) is an organization that fights for women's equality in church, and celebrates diversity of gender, race, ethnicity, sexuality, language and symbol in the church community. Among their causes are:

1. Work for women's equality and justice in all dimensions of life and ministry in the church

2. Eliminate all forms of domination, discrimination and oppression against women in the church

3. Advocate for inclusive, democratic and transparent church structures

4. Promote feminist, womanist, mujerista, and other liberating spiritualities

5. Change the word ‘man’ to ‘person’ in Canon 1024

So, the reason I am posting this today is because next week, on March 25, they celebrate the World Day of Prayer in Support for Women's Ordination. Among their very cool slogans are:

“Sexism is a Sin!"

"Jesus included women. When will you?”

" You can't preach justice unless you practice justice."

"Equal RITES for women,"

and my personal favorite: "God is not a boy's name."
Rania Ig.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Lebanese Writer May Menasa Calls on Lebanese Women to Unite

Thursday, March 12, 2009

بمبة سيليكون - Review

On my way to see the play “بمبة سيليكون” in LAU I was telling my friend Amie why in Lebanon we have sense humor that u don’t find in any other country in the Arab world (according to her). We are funny, yes we make fun of everything, we laugh and joke about our wars, our politicians, our pain.

We have it our blood we are funny people that make fun of everything without realizing the amount of pain behind it, we make fun of politicians and people laugh and people from out side this country do they realize how much pain and hard living these politicians are causing us.

بمبة سيليكون a play that’s being shown for free on the occasion of International Womyn’s Day directed by a feminist as I heard, so I was very interested to see what it is, I walked into the theater a woman sleeping on the floor in a living room that sounded very much from our reality.

The stage was divided in two spaces, the first was where the caller’s bedroom and it occupied most of the stage and the second was the office of the operator which was above the rest of the stage and restricted to the left side only. In the background Majida El Roumi music and the sound of the TV indicating that the story took place during the 2006 war.

The play starts with a woman screaming and calling the doctor’s clinic, at that moment u would think that she was having a baby. After calling the clinic 4 times the secretary walks in and answers the phone and then the woman stands from behind the coach and you would notice D33 size boobs.

My silicon exploded because of the pressure of war planes and bombing, said the panicking woman.
Well the doctor ran away with his family and I can’t really do anything for you, answers the secretary in the office.

These two sentences started the dialogue which was the backbone of the whole play.

And then after something exploding in Beirut they both freak out and start screaming one of them is scared for her life while the other is scared of the silicon is in her blood which she fears might kill her. The secretary makes it clear that it won’t happen.
Both characters go through a lot of emotional stages, at some point they are crying and then they would be gossiping about their lives and they would forget the war outside.
That explains exactly the reality of a lot of women in our society and shallowness of their lives.

It was a funny play and I couldn’t help myself from laughing although I see it as a sad play.

The audience laughed all through the play especially when the actresses were making a fool out themselves; talking about bra sizes, marriage and sex-positions that will make you pregnant.

It was not funny at all and I know for a fact that the woman who wrote the play wanted people to see the sad reality behind this humor, but the question is how many people really saw that and understood it.

We make fun of things, we laugh at our own misery and people laugh with us, without paying attention to the suffering behind every joke. And that is our main problem while working on any issue in this country. We are too busy laughing that will always create boundaries that will prevent us from addressing our issues and changing mentalities.

Zainab Nasser

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

IWD - a round-up of resources

Today is Wednesday the 11th of March 2009. Three days after the memorable IWD 2009. The community is still very buzzed about it. Everytime two FC members meet they still talk about either the event itself or the reactions to it.

The staff and participants did a great job putting up resources (pictures, videos and articles). If you want to check pictures please check:

In the last two days our resident filmmaker Chantal edited a lot of short movies that she uploaded to the YouTube Channel that she created also. For now, we have four interesting videos:

Now as for Press Coverage, the FC has been mentioned, so far, in:

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Solidarity With Domestic Migrant Workers in Lebanon - International Women's Day

Sunday was a day to remember, as we all walked proudly with our shirts, made especially for this occasion, in Hamra street and then on Corniche el Manara. People couldn't help but look at us since we were walking in groups of twos and threes, because maybe for some, we looked like a football team.

Yesterday was beyond amazing. At first, we had a sit-in for Foreign Workers in Lebanon and to me the cause was something that matters more than I show because these people don’t have any other resort in a country that is not theirs and they don’t have anyone to fall back on.

At 2:00 pm, all the Feminist Collective members headed towards Hamra, Al-Madina theater and it was overwhelming for all of us. I got there with couple friends of mine at exactly 2:30, got a banner from my friend and stood with every one.

Then I started looking around and I asked myself: where are the foreign workers? Where are the girls to whome this issue matters the most? I know it matters to us but this is the biggest cause in their lives.

The more I looked, the more I realized that this was like the upper class protesting for the lower class, or white people for people of color. I’m not saying there is something wrong with that but in a way it always looks like the upper society is feeling sorry for the lower, poor and unfortunate people and I never liked that.

30 minutes later, the foreign workers came and they seemed very shy and reluctant to come and be a part of it. Can you blame them? Really. Afterwards, everyone started to encourage them to come into the middle which was the right thing to do-- they should be the middle of the sit-in. But it was obvious how uncomfortable it was for them.

And when they finally felt a bit encouraged, the cameraman from a tv station started to harass them to get more footage and after they refused to stand more he reacted very violently; he took his camera, said to his assistance in the meanest tone ever: “ emshe ya 3ame sho mana netrajehon” and they took off…

After that it was time for us to leave for our own sit-in.

We live in a country where people criticize the West for being racist and abusive to non white people, and we live in a country where the color of the skin does not seem to be an issue because we don’t have black and white but we do have non-Lebanese people... We don’t really see that when it comes to racism we are still where the west was 50 years ago.

Lebanese people tend to think they’re better than anyone who is not Lebanese, European or American. They don’t see it and don’t notice it but it's out there, and I think it will take a lot of time for this to change.

Zainab Nasser

Monday, March 9, 2009

The Day Has Come

If you were given a penny for every woman being beaten up at home, you’d be rich. And this home we are talking about, where she comes every day to sleep, to cook, to do her second full time job, which is a mum or a wife, this home would be built on her economical and emotional contribution.

Women on Sunday the 8th of march would be celebrating IWD "International women’s day" and while some women in far some place are celebrating this day, others are being beaten up until they bleed at home, being raped in dark alleys. Posters and billboards objectifying women’s bodies are all over the roads from Jounieh to Beirut to somewhere else in Beirut, to Tripoli, to Saida, to Sour, everywhere in Lebanon.

To fathers that make there daughters get married to their rapists, for Honor, in what world is that fair? And what honor is that if I may ask? What is honor? Define it for me, and what definition allows another human to kill for it. Honor, honor was made for humans, what is honor next to death? Next to losing a daughter, a sister or a wife.

I still remember when I first discovered this awful fact, and I couldn’t believe it, by logic, if a guy shoots your daughter and stabbed her, would you make him marry her, to hide the shame. And what is shame really next to a lifetime scar and billions and trillions of psychological problems. So now let me get it right, why can’t every man who wants a woman and she didn’t say yes, rape her simply, and yah take her sister too, it’s a garage sale, rape one get one free.

Am not so fond of statistics but by logic I can say that our economy and it’s a new trend, is based on Botox and beauty products, loans for plastic surgery, little girls buying barbies, and tell me why barbies can’t stand on their feet? I’ll tell you why, because it’s a subconscious message for a little girl since she is 1 that she can’t stand up alone, she always needs a man to help her up,
but look at me, look at us, women, we go to a fulltime job, we come back home to the other full time job, we raise kids, we do stand up while we carry babies inside us, and we stand up for 9 month. We are actually standing up, ON OUR OWN. Fairytales are over, no prince charming anymore, there are women in the world and women can manage homes, and can run this freaking world, get over it.

Yesterday was the 8th of March 2009. A lot of women went down to the streets to ask other women what they think of woman’s rights, a lot said: “in my surrounding there is no violence. I am not concerned”. If you saw some of these women, please a message from me, tell her, wake up, not for you, not for me but for my nieces, for your daughters, for your sisters, and even your own mothers.

After Sunday the 8th of March 2009, for every woman I mentioned above, we went down to the streets to rebel, with signs and voices that cannot be shut down anymore. God know I’ve been waiting for this day, and the one after it, and after it. That day HAS come.


Sunday, March 8, 2009

Migrant Domestic Workers Rights sit-in - What an FC had to say

It was 2:10 pm as me and Layal were approaching Masra7 Al Madina in my car and the big shock was the humongous number of people who were there.  We were surprised to see all these people we didn't even know standing there while holding very colorful and meaningful posters in their hands and raising them up. 

We stood with them and we started realizing that they weren't people we knew, they weren't from the feminist collective, yet we didn't feel lost since all of them were there for this specific cause which is defending the rights of foreign workers in Lebanon.  I was amazed by the different nationalities and gender of people attending the event. 

As more feminists came and joined us, we felt more excited and more enthusiastic about defending our rights as women. Personally, I was thrilled to participate! I got goose bumps as one foreign worker started talking to one television station about her suffering and about her boss treating her like she was a slave! 

It's about time we open our eyes and truly see what is happening in our society, no matter what gender we are, no matter what nationality we have, no matter what religion we believe in, we are all humans and we will continue fighting for our rights as humans. 

We're not gonna take it, we're not gonna take it, we're not gonna take it anymore! Today was the launching of our cause, we will not give up and we won't stop until every woman in Lebanon has all her rights, no matter how long it's going to take, we will fight for it because we simply are feminists!
Farah Jaafar

at the corniche, we celebrated that something has tried to kill us and has certainly failed.

As long as I remembered the Corniche, it was the space to hang out with friends to chitchat about some vital personal issues; also, it was always the space that required certain attire, something that would make me the least visible.

At the corniche, the notion of womanhood should meet the constructed idea of what a female in a public space should be. Nevertheless, women do break this pre-assembled idea by exercising within that space. The image is quite powerful for such a context, a woman who might be for example jogging, while wearing her tight sportswear, is certainly breaking the social codes, that is of course male constructed, yet it remains acceptable since these kinds of women are immediately labeled as rich or bourgeois. This labeling doesn’t mean that they are exempt from sexual harassment that might occur, but it fits within the idea of who comes to the corniche and the things they can do there. Women's liberty to practice a certain action is dependent on the economical class she belongs to.
Today's action at the corniche was both intimidating and exhilarating at once. The idea of using a public space that is fully functional on traditional dynamics and behaviors of men and women in public spaces combined too many layers. Before arriving to the space, the Corniche was as usual occupied by those who are familiar with its rules. It was the Corniche where people are enjoying their sunny afternoon. When we, the Feminist Collective appeared with our banners, attitudes and "looks," the space was immediately interrupted; an event was happening (whether we had planned to actually have a sit-in at 5 pm or chosen to simply walk) regardless of what we wanted to do there.
The interruption of the "mechanics" of this space influenced the already constructed idea of women being at the Corniche. It has done so by transforming the idea of a female, on one hand being in a state of proving constant decency and seeking invisibility, and on the other, to being one that is standing, fully co-owning the space and using it to her sole and complete benefit, one that does not comply with any of the already made tags for women within that particular space (such as " walking the kid, walking with male/family friend/ jogging, etc" but completely doing a different form of action that was clearly sending a very strong message " I'm not afraid to be seen"). This was all very intense, and perhaps very offending to the male pedestrians, which have made it very clear to us that we were not welcome. Yet, a question lingers in my head: "What about the women? Did their feelings/experience of the corniche change due to our presence?"

Our presence that corniche also created a spectacle, in which specifically, the "male viewer," was intrigued to watch, yet he was constantly offended by the message that "our" spectacle was delivering. Simply, the messages that we sent revolved about a new presentation of the notion of womanhood, where "he" specifically as a male had no role in that at all; and moreover, there we were, in his face, and completely out of his "control."

The intimidating experience of all of this creates a certain territorial relationship for us as women in Beirut. Some territories are friendlier to women than others. In addition to the amount of hostility that the women demonstrating had to endure, I personally felt that we endured as a collective and not as individuals an amount of hostility that might discourage some of us to continue or would create a certain preference to work only in certain areas. We need to understand that everything is changeable, and the few hours that we spent at the corniche is a vivid example, all we have to do is to gather around each others, regardless of where we live, what history we had and what do we know about life.

Today at the corniche, we celebrated that something has tried to kill us and has certainly failed.

The end of the Second day

Ain el Mreisse. Yes the Feminists went to Ain el Mreisse! A spot reputed for the harassment taking place so intensively. But the feminists did one hell of a great job!

3an jad bravo everyone.

What funny/sad was that the girls got harassed exactly as they were talking about... harassment. Sara actually had to listen to some misogynist comments and sexist slurs as she was reading the Feminist Collective values.

Some random guy selling coffee on the street came specifically to us to tell us that women only fit in the kitchen, cooking riz bla7m, w tabboule w, w... And then he goes on to enumerate all the great meals that women can cook. And then at the end he also mentions the fact that they can also raise kids. Thank you Mister sexist! Thank you for telling me about all the terrific meals that we can cook.

Another random woman totally tricked us, she came to the sit-in saying this is very interesting and seemed very pro-women's rights. Then as soon as she has the flier in her hand starts wondering "what's the big deal?" then she goes on and on about how her life is awesome and that there is nothing to complain about. I mean of course, if she has her rights then I bet others don't matter do they? Another piece of wisdom that she kindly shared with us was the fact that if a woman is harassed verbally on the streets then she must've given that guy a queue, said something, winked at him... anything to allow him or invite him to harass her, then she turns to some random guy, that had been annoying all the girls and asks him: "if you didn't feel the girl wanted it would you "tlattesh 3laya"". And I don't really need to tell you what he said, we all know sex-predators' mentality, right?

Another interesting form of discrimination was one of gender expression, as a bunch of young men started harassing one of our members because she didn't really look like a "girl"... Interesting, non?

Now you may ask why we chose Corniche for the sit-in, why not some easier region? where people would just agree with us?

The answer is simple, Corniche is OUR Corniche. This was the perfect location, the girls were scared a bit, frustrated at times, but still they stood out for what is theirs, the street are ours and no one has the right to scare us, and we will not be intimidated.

And if you think that we just wasted our energy, then you are greatly mistaken. You just should have been there, as the Feminist Collective values were being said, some predators were just saying sexist stuff behind her, but behind the girls there were women GRINNING! These were not the women that came to us and told us about their stories, they were people who just didn't interact with us, they just sat in their corner but they listened to us and they were smiling. That was priceless!

In addition, there were a lot of women and men that came to us with a lot of positivity, some talked about custody rights, a lot about nationality rights, and so many others too.

We even recruited one tiny feminist into the group, her name is Rahaf and she is nine, as soon as the feminists spoke to her she got all excited and saying that she wants to defend women's rights, women don't have rights and she wants to change that! She sat with us, wanted a feminist shirt, held a Banner, she was just all over the place... Just ask yourself, how does she know she has no rights? Behind every baby-feminist there is certainly a feminist parent an overwhelmingly oppressive society.

Then when all was over and we had to go to the center, all the feminist got into someone cars and we headed to the house where we shared our thoughts, and now as I am writing this the girls are arguing... about villagers and wolves!

P.S.: Villagers and Wolves is actually a party game, so don't worry the Feminist Collective is not really arguing ;)

صبرا وشاتيلا : اهلا بكم الى عالم الفقر


مشيت في شارع صبرا، رفيقاتي معي، كانت الرحلة التي قمنا بها الى صبرا وبعدها الى سوق الاحد ضرورية، فسوق صبرا التجاري من اكثر الاسواق شعبية واكتظاظا في بيروت. فهو السوق الذي يحبه ابناء الطبقة الفقيرة والمتوسطة في لبنان، بفئات نقدية قليلة تشتري ما يكفي. في الصبرا، تشعرين انك في فضاء اخر، فالمشاهد التي تنظرين اليها والاصوات التي تسمعينها قوية، نساء يشترين ويتحادثن ويتجادلن مع البائعين، الاطفال التي تبكي وتضحك، اصوات السيارات والموسيقى التي تأتي الى اذنيك من الجهات كلها، تضعك في مزاج اخر " اهلا بك في عالم الفقر." 

النساء تمر من امامنا وقربنا ولكهن سرعان ما يهربن عندما نتطلب منهن لحظة للتكلم معهن، ربما في صبرا النساء لا يملكن اللحظة هذه، فالبيت ينتظرهن والطبخة يجب ان تكون جاهزة قبل ان يأتي الزوج والاطفال، في صبرا تتردد النساء عن البوح برأيهن وتتفاجأ بالاسئلة، فنحن لا نبيع شيئا ونطلب شيئا، نريد فقط ان تسألهن ان " شو رأيك ب وضع المرأة؟". في صبرا ان النساء لا يملكن امتياز الرأي، الفقر لا يأتي بأمتيازات. 

في شاتيلا، أنظرالى ازقة المخيم. انا من فلسطين واهل شاتيلا من فلسطين ، يبدو لي وكأنهم من فلسطين اخرى! ماذا عن النساء في المخيم، ما رأيهن في " وضع المرأة؟". لم نلتقي بنساء يميشن في الازقة، التقينا بإمرأة كبيرة السن ولدت في فلسطين، كانت تقف تنتظر شيئا ما، سألنها عن احوالها، اصرت ان الزمن الماضي كان اجمل، واحد وستون سنة من إنتظار العودة قد يجعلون المرء متشائما! احسست اني من فلسطين اخرى، لأنني ارفض ان ارى الفقر والتعتير والكارثة التي يعيشها الفلسطينيون في لبنان وبالتحديد النساء، فهم سجينات هذا المخيّم.

يجب علينا كنسويات ان نعير اهتماما خاصا للنساء القاطنات في الامكان الشعبية والامكان التي ما زالت تعتقد ان النساء "ناقصات عقل ودين". 
يجب ان نتطور لغة وادوات للوصول اليهن دون ان تقوم بتدمير حياتهن. 
يجب علينا ان تضع كل ما نعرفه عن النسوية على جنب، ونذهب الى الشارع والى البيوت ونسمع حكايات النساء على الصمود وعن الحيّل التي يطورن للحصول على مساحة خاصة بهم، ان نتعلم منهم عن حياتهم، فنحن اذا اعتبرنا اننا في معركة، يجب ان نعتبر ان النساء الفقيرات هم في الصفصوف الامامية من جبهتنا المفترضة، فأكثر الضحايا والاصابات التي تقع، تقع في صفوفهن. 

في رحلة صبرا وشاتيلا تعلمت شيئا واحدا اساسيا، ان الفقر هو اقسى انواع العنف، انه سواء كنا فلسطنيات ام لبنانيات او اثيوبيات اننا واحد في الجوهر. اننا في توحدنا نعيد انتاج علاقات سليمة في مجتمعنا. فلا فرق بين مرأة ومرأة الا بدرجة نوع القمع.

Celebrating Women's Day in Manchester

Ahoy from Manchester,

Happy Women's day to all you WOMEN and FEMINISTS.

I hope all is going well on the streets.

Over here in Manchester, I decided to celebrate IWD my own way.

Yesterday, I went to the Impertial War Museum to see an exhibition called 
Women's War Art, which focuses on the experiences of women war artists from the First World War to the FIrst Gulf War. BEAUTIFUL stuff!

After I finished that, me and my friends went to check out the central exhibition in the museum which showcases pieces reflecting on how war shapes our lives. In one of the corners, there was an action station which invites visitors to reflect on symbols seeing how important they have become in our lives and how different ones represent different things to different many people. They had tiles for visitors to make their own symbol. This is what I made.

Again, happy women's day to you all! See you in a couple days.


Saturday, March 7, 2009

IWD - final street update of the day

So now that everyone spent the whole day talking to women and people on the street, everyone is literally exhausted!

Of this day we have a lot of great memories and a lot of papers, on them written the opinions and thoughts of hundreds upon hundreds of women. Some had a lot to stay, some had very few words to say, but all of them expressed the society that we live in. A society that's sometimes in denial, sometimes schizophrenic but most of the time broken, oppressed and frustrated.

As a conclusion, I leave you with two answers to the question: what do you think of the situation of women in Lebanon:

صانعة وماشية

ما إلها كلمة

And two answers to the question: What are the problems that a woman faces in Lebanon?

لازم ننتفض
الرجّال بدو تربية

And so we end our broadcasting for today, we'll see you all tomorrow at Corniche el Manara, Ain el Mreisse.

P.S.: tonight on the program we have an article that is being processed right now. Written by a cool feminist. Make sure you read it!

IWD - So the feminists are sweating they are tired but they are still excited

So again, another round-up. Apparently, the more interesting specimens are on the street now, the feminist are starting to get a real taste of what awaits us in the future.

The Bliss team had to deal with people that were totally convinced that women's situation is "great" others were complaining that women are about to take over and rule men" and misk l khitem: "inno 3ade l tiltish".

The Hamra team had to listen to people telling her that "our situation in Lebanon is still better than in other places" and when the team asked about violence someone had the guts to say: "well women and men have to compromise"... ah yes violence is now part of compromise!

In Mar Elias some women had the courage to talk and they talked a lot! Others didn't escape censorship, or sometimes just the urge to go shopping!

The Sessine team is facing resistance, mainly men insisting that women in fact DO have all their rights... what other rights do they want anyway?

In Chiyah, some people are talking, some have very interesting things to say (I don't have the details right now but I'll keep you updated) others are reluctant to talk, but it's going smoothly.

An interesting incident took place in Zalka where the team approached an Ethiopian woman to talk to her so her boss allowed himself to answer on her behalf: "We are too busy" and walked away.

The Sabra video team stopped by before they went to Sou2 l A7ad... They have a lot of interesting stories to tell, but I won't ruin the surprise you'll all have to wait till the movie is out.

See you all in a bit

IWD - It's getting spicy

Ok, so now I had less time to ask people what the women were saying but we did get an interesting overview.

Apparently the Mar Sabra team is now in place and they made an "interesting interview" with one man. What is that supposed to mean? I don't know Mohammad didn't give me anymore details, we'll have to wait till Chantal edits everything.

Another interesting phenomenon is the amount of men that are "deciding" for women. When the feminists are asking the woman for her opinion the guy with her would just answer with a rude "No" and walk away. We will always wonder what these women had to say.

The Hamra team reported that some people actually consider the woman's situation in Lebanon to be "ok" (I wonder what Lebanon they are living in?). Another interested reaction was someone saying that he doesn't "believe in women's rights". I'm sure that was very interesting conversation.

The Bliss team seems to be still having a good time, a lot of people are interested in tomorrow's gathering. And apparently all teams are running out of fliers... oops I guess it's because our fliers rock!

The Kaslik team has just finished Kaslik and moved to Zalka. The Chiyah team just arrived to Beirut Mall and is looking for people to interact with.

So appologies for being 25min late in reporting, but what can I say... It's boiling in Lebanon! Meet you in a less than 60min this time ;)

12:00am IWD - So what's up with the Feminists in Lebanon this year?

Ok the heat is building up as people are heading to their work, or favorite caffee/restaurant, or going shopping. Different people are saying different things and here's a quick preview of some of the ideas expressed:

  1. The Man has to remain slightly dominant, because he is the man and because the woman has femininity

  2. Inno l enoon ça va, mish 3atel
    ma fi 2weneen ti7me l mara, l wad3 bil marra

  3. Lezem l mara t7afez 3ala ounousita

  4. @#$#@@ l 2enoon! (yes we censored the curse words ;)
    but young people were just too busy running for their routine (or maybe they were just too shy to talk)

  5. L wade3 #@%$#
    But our team in Mar Elias felt a bit disappointed that out of every 10 people they approach only one would be interested to talk about an issue that is so important.
    Mar Elias

What is also interesting is that the Hamra Team was approached by the MFS who seemed quite interested in our perspective.

And the Camera people are also taking as much footage as possible, the editing corner is ready and waiting for all those rushes to arrive. Nadine and Chantal are running around like busy bees, Nadine's phone is always busy with people and newspapers asking her: So what's up with the feminists this year?

In our next nashra we will have more areas, as the Sabra team will be in place as well as the Burj Hammoud team.

So stay tuned, we'll be reporting again in exactly 60min.

IWD - everyone is in their locations

So the feminists have a long day today. They all woke up in the early morning, even though it is Saturday and everyone waits for the weekend to rest. But they are women on a mission... and some men on a mission too.

Though some found it difficult to wake up in the early morning (don't you just love evening people?) everyone is excited.

Bliss, Hamra, Sassine, Furn el Chebbek, Kaslik teams are already in position, stopping women to talk to them about women and feminism.

The feminists are asking all the women simple, basic questions: What do you think about women's situation in Lebanon? What do you think of YOUR situation as a woman?

An interesting answer from several women on Sessine for example was: Ti3teer!

It kind of pushes you to think, non?

Friday, March 6, 2009

Tomorrow the streets!

So the girls (and boys) were all here, with less than 12h left before the start of the street take-over, the Feminist Collective is in the office, the girls (and boys) are painting banners, some are trying their brand new feminist shirts, some were trying to stencil on their shirts, others were discussing and debating what should be said and what should not be said, a lot of new faces showed up.
To make a long story short... it was great. The best part I guess was when we brainstorming about slogans to write on our banners.
And just to tease all those who just weren't here, here are some more pictures:

And stay tuned tomorrow we will be live blogging and updating you on how the girls are going and what the women are saying.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

The International Women's Day is just around the corner!

If you want to participate or help out just contact Nadine Moawad: n.moawad@gmail.com or 03487051
Be there

On Women Responding to Sex

It is amazing how Mainstream media never ceases to amaze me! Alot has been said about women, men and how different their reaction to sexual stimulus is. Please take a look at this piece: أي الاعلانات "الجنسية" ترضي النساء؟
Now for one minute forget the fact that this article lacks the very least requirements of professional journalism (or at least passable journalism):

  1. I cannot easily find the author of this masterpiece

  2. it is impossible or at least, very difficult to trace back the original article in UBE that the author quotes and bases his whole article upon. Because needless to say that when you enter the query "women+sex" then regardless of what you are looking for and regardless of what you add to it, you will most probably find porn sites and porn links. A woman does not have a sex life outside the context of porn.

  3. the author did not have a coherent idea of what he is talking about. I mean first of all, he is saying that a woman is more receptive to sex oriented ads or material if it is formulated in a "committed relationship" context (aka women use sex for love). They use sex to lur men into their traps of marriage, children, social burden, forced care... no really, just read this passage:
    يبدو الآن أنهن يشعرن باستياء أقل عند رؤيتهن صورا جنسية ضمن سياق عاطفي وطبيعي

    Now of course the author formulated it in a slightly different manor where he says that a woman is less disturbed by sexual images if they are formulated in a natural, emotional context. As if women are either disturbed or less disturbed about sex... Women can never be confortable about sexual images.
    But wait don't start arguing or thinking just now, the worst is yet to come. To prove his point, the author gives an example:
    وذكر موقع لايف ساينس أن الباحثين عرضوا على مشاركات في الدراسة صورة لساعة يد مثيرة للاهتمام وأخرى للساعة ذاتها يلتف حولها شريط ملون ألصقت عليها عبارة «هذه الساعة هدية من رجل إلى امرأة لها مكانة خاصة في حياته» حيث تبين أن النساء فضلن الصورة الثانية. وبينت الدراسة أن النساء يستجبن بشكل أفضل لصور الإعلانات التي تصور الرجل على أنه شريك يحترم التزاماته حيالهن، في حين أن الرجال يهمهم في المقام الاول أن يكون العنصر الجنسي متوافراً في الاعلان دون أي شيء آخر.

    The first thing that struck me was the fact that now the author is quoting the another magazine: Life Science. How he jumped from one article to another, and why, is still a mystery for me. But anyway, the idea is that women prefer the image of an interesting watch with a ribbon that says: "this watch is a present from a man to a woman that means a lot to him"...

    I am left baffled by this lack of coherence, what was the author trying to say? Why is this watch example relevant? How does it prove that women prefer sex in an emotional context?

Now let us, for a moment forget all these formalities and think about the following question: What does this article say about women and sexual fantasies?

First of all, this article was filed under miscellaneous (whatever that is supposed to say about how the authors, editors and readers of this online magazine view women and their sexuality).

Second observation, all these weirdly connected absurd conclusions emanate from total misconception about and ignorance to women's sexuality, presumptions and prejudice about women that try very hard to prove that women and men live in two different worlds and can only connect through the translation of the female language to the male language through MONEY.

And I insist that the translation is to the male language, the author of this article is a man,
expressing a man's incomprehension of the woman's body and desires, a man's media expressing a male dominated society in which women are odd beings, informations about women are first falsified then filed under miscellaneous news, news that don't belong anywhere else and cannot be classified in any serious section.

Yes I am outraged, I am outraged because I know men, the ones I call real men. Men that are willing to think and reflect, interact and communicate with other beings (some of which happen to be women). And the author of this article is just not one of those communicating men. He is just someone who has assimilated the mainstream culture and regurgitated it blindly.

In the end, I would just like to say that this article, not as an individual publication but as a school of thought, is an insult and a blatant promotion of a dangerous ideology that ignores a woman's pure sexual desire, banning them from exploring what they want or wish for. At the same time it keeps men under pressure to keep on getting more MONEY because, as these great studies show, this is what will get the woman feel less disgusted of sex.

You think not? prove me wrong