This is not new, most of the time when women take an act of resistance to patriarchy in the so called "3rd world" they get dismissed and discredited for "imitating" the west. I will not go into the politics of nudity as a form of resistance and how it has been practiced in this part of the world for centuries. But i would like to highlight few points here:
- Arab women can and DO get naked: No we do not shower with our veils (as my friend was once asked) neither do veiled women sleep with it on (as my other friend was asked) - and this is not only info for the west, this is also some info for the women in this region that object to other women nudity as if it never happens. Darling, everybody gets naked from time to time, some do it in public (as an act of autonomy), others do it in private. Nudity has nothing to do with nationalities, especially when it's an act of autonomy, especially with the war on our bodies. You should try taking off your clothes from time to time, maybe take off with them all your judgments and misogyny, you might as well feel lighter.
- The war on bodies: This war on women bodies is not in this region only, it is almost everywhere, so please save us, SAVE US this whole white saviour bullshit, because YOU are one of the reasons whatever the feminist movements try to achieve in this region, is being dismissed for being too "western" and whatever form of resistance we pull out, is being mostly rejected, since we have you in our pants all the time, asking for our rights, when we know exactly what they are and we are day and night up to get them. You managed even to sabotage the word "rights"! Now i am too careful to use it, horrified by you taking it as an invitation to come democratize more of our region as you did to Iraq and Afghanistan in the name of "women rights"
- The endless veil debate: It is one thing to be against any religious institution, the fundamentalist or the lovely dovy ones that are "moderate" and both can kiss my ass - it is another to view the veil as the ONLY tool of women oppression. And the argument goes from one side "but i choose to wear the veil" and on the other "but they are oppressed by the veil without even knowing it". Well flash back to reality, NONE of us choose anything, if you are wearing your prada bikini or your veil, neither of us have a choice in them, the clothes we wear are dictated either by religion, society, tradition bla bla bla or but mostly by international fashion corporations and sometimes by both, so please spare me the choice talk of "freedom" and all it's synonyms because if you ever choose anything within this world is actually being Naked and i am not even sure about that. So when you want to think of veiled women as oppressed, whether it's true or not, why don't you start with yourself, and see how you are oppressed by capitalism, and clothes in general, and prada and gucci, and chanel, or whatever brand that is, cheap or expensive.
- The anxiety: Yes, the anxiety of voicing out the fact that we have problems in our societies without the west taking it as an alibi to turn us into the "other" the "terrorist" the "oppressed" and i seriously believe that if it wasn't for the fundamentalists the conservative, the "moderate" and the west, our fight would've been much easier, maybe we wouldn't have a fight in general, maybe it would've been something else, how would i know? but all i know is that at least leave us the fuck alone to fight our own battles.
I find myself often in a very weird position in this whole moshpit of opinions, one that want to shout fuck morality right left and center, and another that want to shout no, not everytime we resist it's western, not that the right to our bodies, sex, and sexuality is copy righted to the west only. We know how to resist, we do it everyday in small or big acts, our whole life is about resistance, and the western war of "freedom" does not make it easier, it puts us in a war position on double fronts, one that want to fight for autonomy within our own societies, another wants to declare that as an arab woman (since i can't allow myself to talk in the name of all arab women) i know what i want, i know we are fucked, and i (much much MUCH less than other amazing stronger women and i came name thousands of them) am up to this fight, it is a constant battle, where existing by itself is almost enough. So i ask you both, those who preach for morality as our "culture" and "traditions" and those who want to "save" us, if you for one day remove those sticks of conservatism & liberation shoved up our asses maybe then we can move more freely. You might as well remove this stick from your ass too, maybe you'll become less uptight and more "free".
I do not represent arab woman, we don't all look the same, act the same, or think the same, my camel is not parked in my desert backyard (pet camel would be perfect though). I can barely represent myself and all my other personalities - just in case, you know.