Thank you for writing about such an important story that is being thrown in with all the other news happening now. Although how Lizzie playing a flute seems to be overshadowing important shit is beyond me. Women need to stick together to save our rights here and around the world. Too many males would be happier if we were “put back in our places” so their fragile egos could be stroked while they run things into the ground. If I’m remembering correctly, female voters still outnumber male voters in the US so how about we start getting our asses to the polls and turning things around?

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Oh Jen, it's like you look into my heart and express far more eloquently all the feelings I am having right now. In 2003 to 2005, I lived in a suburb of Cairo called Maadi. I was in my very early 30's and really loved living there. Egypt at the time had women dressing the full spectrum, teenagers in shorts and tight tops all the way to Burkas with eye slits. Egypt was more liberal than most Muslim countries at the time and I normally felt comfortable there, there was a form of "morality police" but they didn't appear to have much authority.

Jen, you know what I look like, so you would understand why in many countries people assume I am a native. When I was in Maadi, I was walking through my neighborhood, enjoying the lovely weather during the day and a group of women pulled up beside me, wheels screeching in one of those small, shitty European cars and started yelling at me in Arabic. I was wearing very sensible shorts, not at all short, and a loose fitting polo shirt. From the back I must have looked like a native woman and was obviously dressed inappropriately in their opinion. I basically at them to fuck off and based on my accent they did, in fact, fuck off. I am not really sure if that could have escalated but it happened once and a while and it was just annoying.

The interactions that scared me more were when my husband, at the time, and I would walk around the market, go sightseeing anywhere in the country, basically be in public outside of our neighborhood or downtown Cairo. Groups of men, would gesture to us and once or twice get in my husband's face, yelling Arabic. In this scenario, they once again thought I was a native woman stepping out with an infidel, a Westerner. My husband could have a short fuse and he was a muscular man and these interactions could have escalated quickly and he could have found himself in serious trouble as a foreigner in Egypt. I always managed to get him to walk the other way and ignore it, but sometimes it escalated very close to a fight.

When I read about or hear about situations like in Iran or in any number of Muslim countries, I think back to my very limited and minor interactions just because I was mistaken to be a Muslim woman but actually did have rights and exercised them when I could. The Iran situation breaks my heart and makes me hate the patriarchy even more. Thank you for posting about this situation and articulating the thoughts of many of us in these very fucking dark times in which we live.

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All this! It’s about autonomy to practice (or not) your religion in the way you wish-head covered or not, in modest clothing or not- and not dictated by some external authority or government.

It’s about controlling women’s lives, behavior and making them less than full citizens with personal autonomy.

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Thank you, Jen, for thinking globally and informing your masses while still being you. You're the best. Let's get more Jens in the world.

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