My thoughts on Beyoncé's new single

{ Thursday, May 19, 2011 }

Before I start my post, I want to say that as a woman, of course I am in favor of women's rights and women being able to live their lives as they want it. I want that women everywhere are able to achieve their full potential, whether that is to stay at home or to go out working. Of course I believe women are equal in worth and deserve respect and dignity.

Having said that, when I heard this song and watched the video, I didn't get an empowered feeling. Although I'm not sure how serious Beyoncé is in her message, I think this video takes the women issue a step too far. This is not about equal rights anymore, it's about being superior to men. Maybe some women think we deserve to be superior after so much oppression, but do we really want to lower ourselves to that level? Do we want to cause the same hurt that we received? God created men and women to live in harmony with each other, not to fight each other and to be in constant competition. 

‎"And among His Signs is this, that He created for you mates from among yourselves that you may dwell in tranquillity with them, and He has put love and mercy between your (hearts). Verily in that are Signs for those who reflect." (Q 30: 21)

Why can't we let men be stronger physically? Their natural role is to protect us. Is being a feminist equal to telling men "sod off, we don't need you"? That's not the kind of feminism I support. I believe men need women and women need men. Men can protect us from physical harm, provide for us, love us, and support us and we can make men softer and we can nurture them with our love and caring. A woman who openly states that she needs a man in her life is seen as desperate and not living up to the independent woman ideal. But we all want that. We all want a partner to share our joy and sorrow with. We all feel hurt by hostility between men and women, because we feel in our core that we need each other.

Also, the message of this song seems to be "look, women can be like men too! So we deserve to be treated with respect, because we can do the same things that men do!" Why can't we be proud of ourselves as we are? Kind, tender, soft, caring. Why do we need to be like men? Why do we need to run an army to feel like we are worthy of respect? We bring new life in the world, something men are not capable of doing. Why does that aspect have to be muffled away? You're a mother? So what? You need a career to be worth something! That's the message of our modern culture. Male characteristics are being valued, like competitiveness and aggressiveness, while female characteristics like tenderness and cooperation are seen as weak and lacking. This video reinforces this idea.    

So, my points are:

  • Men and women are equal in worth and both deserve respect and dignity
  • Women should be able to develop themselves, to go out working or to stay at home without being ridiculed
  • Men and women both need each other
  • The role of men as protector and provider should not be trivialised, pushed away or be looked down upon in the name of feminism
  • We should not try to seek revenge by making ourselves look superior to men, but we should hold on to what is fair and right and that is equality in worth and law
  • Women do not have to do the same things as men or act in the same way as men to be valued, respected and appreciated. We are women, we are different and we are fabulous just as we are, in all our softness and strength ;-) 

Some say love...

{ Sunday, May 8, 2011 }

Some say love, it is a river,
That drowns, the tender reed.
Some say love, it is a razor,
that leaves, your soul to bleed.
Some say love, it is a hunger,
An endless aching need.
I say love, it is a flower,
And you it's only seed.

It's the heart, afraid of breaking,
That never, learns to dance.
It's the dream, afraid of waking,
That never, takes the chance.
It's the one, who won't be taken,
Who cannot, seem to give.
And the soul, afraid of dying,
That never, learns to live.

And the night, has been too lonely,
And the road, has been too long.
And you feel, that love is only,
for the lucky, and the strong.
Just remember, in the winter,
Far beneath, the bitter snow,
Lies a seed, that with the sun's love,
In the spring, becomes a rose...

I want to be free!

{ Thursday, May 5, 2011 }
Sometimes when I lay in bed at night, I am silent and I try to listen to my inner rumblings. Last time, the message was very clear: "I want to be free!" my heart shouted. I was startled at the power and the insistence that came from within. Then I wondered, free from what exactly? I didn't know. I guess I'm not that good in listening to myself. In my head I went over the things that could make me feel suffocated: my choice of clothes? No, I like to be modest. It's not that. Not being able to party and go out at night with my friends? No, I don't like that anyway. Not being able to get drunk? Oh please, like freedom is about making yourself ridiculous and being sick! Then what is it? It's my life. It's everything. It's nothing. I don't know. Maybe I want to be free from all the things that are required of women: be pretty but hate your body, because you are never good enough, be accomplished but not too much, be independent, but do everything for everyone. I'm tired of judging myself everytime I look in the mirror. I'm tired of the stress that my studies bring, the constant fear of failure. I'm tired of not feeling at home, not belonging. But the thing is, how to change all that? How to be free? Can we be truly free in our society? We have responsibilities, duties. Where do we draw the line between what we like to do and what we have to do? What do I like to do in the first place? Sometimes I think I don't know myself at all. Aside from my wish to become a writer, I have no idea about what I'd realistically like to do for a living. Sometimes, when the stress gets too much, I feel like I just want to be a housewife and not ever have to write a paper or report again. But that wouldn't possibly make me happy, would it? I need to be useful for society, work, make money, be productive and financially independent for you never know what life's going to bring! So much pressure and so little answers...I know what I have to do, but not what I like to do, and that imbalance is profoundly affecting my life. 

I'm also more sensitive that others in my environment, or that's how it seems to me anyway. I can easily cry over the pain of others. My big paper is about women rights in Saudi Arabia, and I've already shed some tears over the things I read for my research. The same with the issue of Palestine. It can make me so angry, just as if the Israeli occupation touched me and my family personally. It's good to feel the pain of others, but too much of it can wear you down. That's what's happening to me recently, I think. I feel too much, and there is too little I can do to change the injustice in the world. I have the feeling I can't be happy, because of how cruel the world is. Maybe I want to be free from that weight? But how? To close my eyes for the suffering? Is that a good thing? Somehow I don't think so. It's very confusing for me. 

I feel this is going to take a long time for me to figure out...

في التاريخ حروب لا تحصى وتعد 

أنهكت الأرض، وأهل الأرض 
لكن_ هنالك حرباً واحدة مشروعة 
هي حرب المظلومين 
على الظلام 
حرب النور على العتمة 
حرب الانسان على الانسان-الحيوان

والجوع إلى الحرية كان
والجوع إلى الحرية مازال

الأجمل والأقصى 
في تاريخ الانسان 
في كل زمان ومكان

توفيق زياد - الجوع إلى الحرية

My Secret Vice...

{ Sunday, May 1, 2011 }
Sex and the City!

I don't usually tell my Muslim friends this, but I absolutely love to watch the Sex and the City series. I only discovered it recently, since we don't have cable at home. I was in a shop, and they sold the first season on DVD for a low price, so I decided to give it a try. I liked it, really. Ok, it's explicit at times, and I don't usually like to watch it with my parents around, but it's also light, entertaining and it makes me laugh. I've watched all the episodes by now, and I'm watching some again. I'm feeling very fond of the characters, all of them. Sometimes I ask myself why, since their lifestyle is so different. They drink, go out, sleep with boys they're not married to, wear very revealing clothes, etc. But I guess in the end all of that doesn't matter, since they're also women and they are facing problems and experiences that all women face. I'm not implying that the series are oh so deep, but they appeal to me and I don't spend my days wondering why. I also don't feel the need whatsoever to imitate their lifestyles, on the contrary rather. Sometimes I find myself thinking after a particular episode "alhamdulillah that I am Muslim, and that Muslim men still want to get married" hehe.
Anyhows, this was my little confession of the day. Have a wonderful Sunday :-)

Although I didn't like the second movie (for obvious reasons) I did like this song! I think it's very empowering to women (although I don't think the SATC girls are particulary empowered lol)
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