I don’t intend to make this post about me standing up on my soap box and ranting on and on about women’s rights and equality, I do however, plan to provide you with factual information and events that have made me feel the way I do today. The series of events goes a little something like this.
A few months back, Those Who Wander (@ThoseWW) befriended me on twitter, one of the first people to do so, and a few days later I saw her post a tweet about the Kick Starter: Equal Means Equal Campaign. I had never heard of Kick Starter, a website in which you petition people via the web to back projects you feel very passionately about but don’t have enough funding to make a reality. After watching the video and reading up on the Equal Means Equal petition I found myself enticed and immediately wanted to know more.
In college I was a very active feminist gearing most of my English papers towards Women’s Rights or Why Women Should Be Allowed in Combat. Since those times, my views have changed slightly. I don’t feel the need to push Women into Combat as aggressively as before because in today’s war and fight against terrorism. Women are at times, in the heart of the battle, and the days of open combat fighting have diminished. Just being in an area of high interest or threat places you in danger.
A couple years ago I was hastily skimming through books at a good will and found one called Stolen Lives by Malika Oufkir for 50 cents. Something about that book had me thumbing through my change purse to produce enough change to buy it. It was a gripping tale, one I read in less than a day, and a book that I mentally consult often. This was also my first look into the oppression of Middle Eastern women. When I read and hear their stories I become even more enraged and almost shameful that in America we are continuously fighting our battles while our sisters have barely even begun the upward walk.
This picture is from a New Article where a woman will suffer 10 lashes for driving a car, even though there is no law outright, saying that woman cannot. Complete injustice!
An Introduction to Stolen Lives (This Excerpt provided by Oprah.com)
The eldest daughter of General Oufkir, the King of Morocco’s closest aide, Malika Oufkir was adopted by the king at age of five as a companion for his daughter. She spent most of her childhood and adolescence within the gilded walls of the palace, living an extraordinarily privileged yet secluded life.
Her world was shattered on August 16, 1972, when her father was executed for his part in an attempt to assassinate the King. Along with her mother and five siblings, Malika, then nineteen, was imprisoned in a penal colony. The Oufkir family spent the next fifteen years in prison, the last ten in solitary confinement, until they managed to dig a tunnel and escape. Their freedom ended five days later, however, when they were captured and returned to prison. In 1996, after twenty-four years of incarceration, the Oufkir family was finally granted permission to leave Morocco.
In Stolen Lives, Malika recounts her family’s story with unflinching and heartrending honesty. She recalls their day-to-day struggle for survival in harsh conditions, being watched around the clock by prison guards, and communicating with her family solely through prison walls for more than a decade. She tells of raising her brothers and sisters, teaching them good manners and attempting to provide them with some semblance of a normal life. They celebrated Christmas and birthdays, saving up rations to make cakes and fashioning toys out of cardboard. Through it all, Malika managed to draw upon her sense of humor, which, she says, “allowed us to survive even-and most of all-at the worst moments.”
It was a powerful story, that involved much human suffering. Just last week I found my next book Princess: A True Story of Life Behind the Veil by Jean Sasson copyrighted 1992. This book looks into the life of another royal princess, this time from Saudi Arabia that wasn’t allowed to leave her house without her face and all skin completely covered. Who lived in a world where husbands are allowed to rape their wives, where women can be sentenced to death by solitary confinement, where women are used for economical gain and girls that are 12 years old are married to 53 year old men. Using women as a means to an end with little thought of the consequences.
In this story we follow Princess Sultana (not her real name for protective reasons) as she grows up in the life of a girl with no rights or opinions. She grows up alongside her sisters and one brother who is treated like a God by her father while she and her sisters are shunned, because of the simple fact, they are women.
After much deliberation, I realize that I couldn’t have comprehended this type of life. A life where women spend their time hidden behind veils, not speaking their mind, succumbing to men. I try to imagine myself acting submissive like that and in almost every scenario I fail to maintain composure.
In the article from the source of the picture above, they debate whether women should be covered this way in other countries and if so whether they should be fingerprinted to identify them since they can’t really tell when the women wear Burqas. In the book by Jean Sasson, Princess Sultana talks about how often women would use each others papers and passports to travel outside the country. She says that in most house-holds the male of the family or father, would hold on to all travel papers and a letter granting permission for the woman to travel alone was required at the airport.
In America, times have drastically changed since the first women’s rights movement. I consider myself lucky to have grown up with the freedom America has allowed. My workplace is dominated by men, which can always be challenging but I’ve always done my best to fit in. I’ve been called many downright horrible things, but I just remain professional and when I can’t remain professional I always get the last say, and I always go down fighting, as is my instinctive nature. For me, it wasn’t always this way. I grew into my fierce attitude right after college.
Overall, women have come so far, and continue the upward trudge to equality around the world. I’m not writing this because I hope you will support any cause. I did donate to the Equal Means Equal project and they far surpassed their goal of $87,011 and are right now at $136,933. As I write this, they are in the middle of filming, and I can’t wait to see the finished product!
“We stand hands-clasped, our faces quite blank, as if this were not a nightmare that tells me, as clearly as if it were written in letters of fire, what ending a girl may expect if she defies the rules of men and thinks she can make her own destiny. I am here not only to witness what happens to a heretic. I am here to witness what happens to a woman who thinks she knows more than men.”
― Philippa Gregory, The Lady of the Rivers
This article appeared first on Dynamic Soarer.