In lending my support to my dear friend Diana sharing her personal story and her global, and Arabic world oriented, feminist and sexual views, I commented on her blog link on Facebook. Typically and traditionally, I view Facebook purely as a frustratingly and aggravatingly convenient modern social media tool, and not as an appropriate forum for intellectual and political dialogue; however, stepping away from naivety, and cognizant of the information technology movement and evolution, I recognize its inherent participation in these types of discourses, whether I like it or not. Her Lebanese born and raised cousin was quick to respond to my brief words elaborating on Diana's message of the importance of female equality and sexual liberation as a necessary parallel mechanism to political and cultural change in the Middle East, quick to instigate and call me out on my ideals and slander me with Western ignorance, with displacement and translocation of Western thought to a historically and culturally altogether different geopolitical arena.
I completely understood Diana's cousins cause for alarm, her disease with Diana's forthright views and calls for change, and was in turn quick to clarify my intentions, and responded in kind (much of this indeed is verbatim): it is an idealist statement, my expressed desire for the fetters of inequality to be removed from the female population; we must maneuver pragmatically in our environment, in its politics and economic exchanges, in its social relationships, in its history and culture, however, our ideals can aid as a true and powerful compass. Applying Western political, religious, and social ideologies, as well its subsequent historical lessons and stories, which like those of the turbulent Middle Eastern region, also continue to be written and developed, is not only irrelevant to a region rich with its own people and past, it is indeed toxic. Orientalism created and perpetuated by Western thought and media has served to only exacerbate the issues of inequality, at the base of other political and social ramifications, notably fostering a landscape and an image democratically nonviable. A visual manifestation of Westoxification, replete with genderized political undertones, can be seen in the above image of a vintage Harper's Bazar cover from 1915; aesthetically, it is stunning, an immaculate mix of illustrated patterns and colors, but it is not without impact on our cultural and political collective subconscious.
As a concerned observer to Arab political and economic happenings, and as an active member of the global feminist community, and the global humanity community, I merely want to raise awareness to the issues of female inequality as foundational to other social, cultural, political ills, both in the East and in the West; again, we account for half of any natural population, and certainly need to demand our own rights. Our fathers and brothers, our lovers, need to listen, to give respect and earn ours in kind, and work along with us in order to enact true change.