By A Muslim-African Woman in the ‘Diaspora’
I write this as a conclusion of my own experience and the experience of many women I personally came to know
Through my high school and college education, I was taught and reminded constantly of the inequality that women suffered for centuries. In the literature classes, I read about women inferiority which is portrayed in almost all of the classic writings. In sociology, I learned about the studies that document the gender differences and oppression of women. In psychology, I learn about Freud’s theories belittling woman to nothing but little envies creature of the man’s far better equipment. In Religion class, I learned how almost all religions of the world favor the superiority of men while treating women as a second class citizen. Most importantly, in history, I learned of the few great women who made it through the pens and into books of male historians. In the Art class, I learned of the notorious Artists who saw in a woman nothing but a magnificent sculpture and a piece of Art. And in many other classes, many young women including myself were daily reminded of the weak creature we once were and will always be under the domination of the almighty Man.
Now, growing up with that ideology, many young women come to aggressively fight against all these cultural and religious believes to gain their power and absolute independence. And that is what I personally did. I became a working woman at a very young age. I supported myself to the best I could. I allowed no one to help me, but few family members. Also, I had to live with the family, because it is a cultural must. Yet I was able to declare my independence from the domination of the “man.” Thus, I was powerful in my own world. I built a strong shield, a weakness-free zone that I imprisoned myself in. I armed myself with my job, education, and rights and fought against every feminine behavior that presented any signs of a weak and a needy female. And still today, our text books, the media, and society keep on boosting or fueling this understanding. They remind us how Women must abandon their femininity and fight endlessly to earn respect and survive in the man’s world.
As a consequence of this war, women became too independent, that a man’s presence on earth is almost useless. We can cook, we can clean, we can drive, we can cut the grass, we can earn a living, we can take the trash out, we can travel, and we can surely just buy a gun for protection or get an alarm system set up in the house, or even hire a body guard “who might be a man, but paid of course.” A need for “Adam” is just a need for a person to interfere and control one’s life.
Lately, and after years of fighting, I have come to learn that our perception of independence and the theories of power of men vs. weakness of women are false. Sadly, our teachers have betrayed us. So did our families who themselves misunderstood the religion and blindingly imposed on us cultural believes that striped away our rights, chocked our dreams, and left us wandering on the scriptures of modern western writers who so inaccurately claim to know all the rights of women and the way to claim these lost rights.