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What do women envy about men?

What do women envy about men?

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Opinion Women’s Rights The Truth

Tuesday 16 April 202403:19 pm
إقرأ باللغة العربية:

أشياء تحسد المرأة عليها الرجل


Some months ago, I read a piece by the dear Mohammad Darious titled Things a man envies about women. In it, he shares some kind words about us women. It led me to question what I, named after the prominent Arab feminist writer Ghada al-Samman (no room for ambiguity – the reference is clear), envy in men: the very men that I am a near-expert at not being able to form normal relationships with.

So I took a moment and thought to myself. I took stock of all my people: acquaintances, friends, exes, colleagues, those I have come across on the street, the cafe goers, taxi drivers, teachers, researchers, writers, doctors, nurses, young men, teenagers, and my elders.

What do I, named after the prominent Arab feminist writer Ghada al-Samman (no room for ambiguity – the reference is clear), envy men for? The very men that I am a near-expert at not being able to form normal relationships with.


Always right

One time, while I was driving my car, the one I bought myself with my hard-earned money, I hesitated about whether to speed up or stop my car to let another vehicle pass, despite it coming down the wrong side of a one-way road. It was a mass of iron scraps, barely holding together, used by a fruit and vegetable vendor. The man ended up approaching my car from the back and dumping his entire load onto my prized vehicle, and when my passenger, a relative, tried to speak to him, his only response was, “I know she's driving without a license, she's not over eighteen, both of you, get out of my way.”

I was over thirty at the time, and I was not at all happy about being dismissed as a teenager, let alone at being criticized by a driver blatantly violating the traffic laws that I held sacred.

Weeks later, a friend told me that I talk too much. He suspected that this must be the result of a harsh childhood, deprived of expressing myself. I told him that I had a wonderful childhood, and, displeased with my response, he quickly changed the subject. Even my students (90 percent of which are females), do not take my information – nor my threats, by the way – seriously unless a male colleague jumps to my aid.

A friend once told me that I talk too much. He suspected that this must be the result of a harsh childhood, deprived of expression. I told him that I had a wonderful childhood, and, displeased with my response, he quickly changed the subject. Even my students do not take me seriously unless a male colleague jumps to my aid.


Absolute certainty

Some of my thoughts didn't sit well with one of my more vocal, leftist friends. He was visibly upset after I told him that I would prefer to finish the book I was reading by a well-known intellectual, whom he considers a proponent of neo-colonialism, before forming an opinion, despite him knowing that books are often material for my analyses, and that many readers trust my opinion. The idea lingered in my mind as I came across the following verse by Mahmoud Darwish: “And eloquence wounds meaning then eulogizes the wound, like a man who dictates to a woman her feelings.

My disappointment in this friend was great, and it was not the only one. One time, when I was 23, I went to the gynecologist after my menstrual cycle was affected by the shock passing of my grandmother. He suggested I undergo additional tests, “because at your age, women start to fantasize about motherhood.”

For a doctor to utter such superficiality, and with such certainty, was so disgusting that I almost threw up. Besides my mother, I struggle to communicate with other women, unlike all the male scholars who are able to converse with “absolute certainty.”

One time, when I was 23, I went to the gynecologist after my menstrual cycle was affected by the shock passing of my grandmother. He suggested I undergo additional tests, “because at your age, women start to fantasize about motherhood.”


Drama Queen

I've always considered myself a drama queen, it takes me a good 15 minutes to describe a moment of pain, or days worth of sharing an offensive (or even a kind) comment made to me. I take time to describe the novelist Said Khatibi, and with the precision of a surgeon, I extract a distinctive sentence from a quote or text.

But I will admit that the most important turning points in my life were written by men; from the man who decided to extract a tooth to make some space inside my mouth (thank you, I now go hours each morning without my hearing), to the one who made up a false story about a relative of his in an attempt to rape me when I was 8 years old, to my first lover who decided suddenly to disappear, before reappearing and then disappearing again (resulting in deep trauma), and to the student I sent to the disciplinary board, who took revenge by describing me using the filthiest of traits (they were many, which have become quite a list over the years).


Personal hygiene

I don't pay bills. My mother pays our household bills, so whenever the opportunity arises, I spend hours in the shower. Sometimes, I express my displeasure when someone in public emits a bad odor. If the presence of women is greater in the summer, the presence of men dominates throughout the rest of the year. I have never understood why men have such a complicated relationship with water, or showers, and yet, they will still approach you and stand close, invading your space and security. I'm often forced to hold my breath.


Uncovering without fear

Every time I enter the house (I may consider any place home, even a hotel room), I must make sure that the door is properly closed. This habit perplexed my Airbnb host in a European city a few years ago, and he asked, “Miss, is everything alright?” I didn't have the right words to share at that moment, but my privacy is sacred.

I remember making a friend run through the streets of the capital with me, in search of a proper restroom (and oh, how hard it was). And every time I had to change clothes, I found myself making sure that the curtains and doors were properly shut, even if I was in a place devoid of voyeurs or neighbors. However my astonishment and envy grew every time I saw a vegetable vendor hunched over as he picked some fruit, his pants gradually sagging, just like a teenager. Men do not feel embarrassed to relieve their bladder on a street corner. Even a translation professor at Sorbonne University didn’t hesitate before unbuttoning his trousers at a Parisian café, citing a heart condition as an excuse.

No woman would dare to do such a thing.

The thought wouldn't even cross our minds.


* The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author’s and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Raseef22


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