Those Damn Arabs!

Have you heard about the secular French government tried to ban the Burkini? Well, its been over turned now but they tried really hard. The trouble isn’t over it seems.  Have you also heard about people talking about how the women need to be free from this oppressive culture of having to cover all the time, even at beach! I mean my goodness it’s the beach wear a bikini. Who are these men to tell them what to wear? Their religion is so oppressive.

I’m sure you’ve also heard of the latest controversy of Ibtihaj Muhammad v. Dalilah Muhammad at the Olympics? It’s being called “spiritual abuse.” Ibtihaj Muhammad is given way more importance in the Muslim community and has been brought up way more than then Dalilah they say. No one is celebrating the later they claim on social media and news outlets.

We are such terrible people, us Muslims. Spiritually, abusing our women. That’s just all Muslims do it seems. Abusing women through clothing. Purpose of life, for Muslim men, or Islam, confused about that but something to that effect. No matter what Muslim women have to say about it THAT is what everyone who is NOT Muslim or female will say about it.

I say we are proud of Dalilah Muhammad. But we are more proud of Ibtihaj because if she normalizes hijab then maybe I can walk onto a beach in my Burkini and not get fined or have to drag my traumatized crying children off the beach with me. “Spiritual abuse” is not when Dalilah is celebrated with the rest of the world including Muslims but Ibtihaj is given an extra pat on the back for breaking a barrier that no one had before. Spiritual abuse is when a woman is forced to undress in front of a huge crowd against her will. You see for a Muslim woman taking off just outer layer is not just as simple as taking of a jacket. We feel literally naked in a bikini. This is not an exaggeration. It’s like walking around in our lingerie’ in public. So this demand from us is ridiculous. NOT.GOING. TO. HAPPEN.

It’s a choice. I’m sure you’ve heard that before if you know anything about this issue. So, I’m not going to go in detail because obviously if I’m saying that we are not being forced, and we are choosing our religion then of course the practices of the religion are our own choice. I tell you I say the word, “choice” so much when it comes to the hijab it doesn’t even sound like a word anymore. My choice. My choice to wear it: no gun to my head, no whip to my back to cover up, no slap to my face to stay silent and sit at home, no pepper spray gun to put on a scarf or a burkini when I go to the beach. See what I mean? Stops sounding like words. Just jumble of nothing. Maybe, its because no one is listening.

While we’re on the subject, covering up doesn’t mean oppression and it doesn’t mean we’re hiding or doing away with our sexuality.

I’m a sexual being. I know it and I own it. Do dozens of people that I meet every day need to know about it as soon as we meet? I control when, how and who. I am in charge of my body. Women who choose to be (for the lack of a better word) more explicit with their sexuality are making a choice and that’s what they are comfortable with. I make no judgments. Me, I have my own ways in which I express my self and my sexuality, leave us be. I am in control and I like it that way.

By the way I’m not Arab. Just Muslim. 🙂

Romancing A FairyTale

I like to watch romantic comedies. Mainly because there isn’t much thinking or following of the plot involved, Also because I can laugh and judge the characters. I like to eat a lot of junk food and tell specially the women in the scenario what they’re in for; I like to roll my eyes and tell them those are not the things that are going to define their relationship, and if real people waited for that kinds of things to happen to them or if we looked for those kinds of people no one would ever have a successful relationship.

However, that is only what I like to scream at or whisper at my TV. That’s not what I tell my friends and family when they are getting married or stepping into a new relationship. Believe it or not I’m a hopeless romantic. Whenever a guy or a girl is scoping out a prospect I’m the first one to ask, “did you feel the fireworks?” I usually get berated by the mom or the big sister for saying that because, “this is not a rom-com and in real life there are no fireworks”. I tell them we have forgotten. We’ve been married for so long that we have forgotten that there were once fireworks. There was a time that we excitedly waited for our spouses to come home. We weren’t just excited because it was their turn to wipe some baby butts.

 

Now we are so quick to point out to our youngins the reality that awaits them. We are so quick to tell them that in their fairytale there will be cranky partners. There will be dirty dishes and crying babies. We want them to know because we were unprepared. Which is true, we probably were, I can’t remember anymore. At the same time we weren’t prepared for the first time we got flowers either. We weren’t prepared for the first time someone’s wife sent them a birthday gift at work because they couldn’t make it home on time. No one is prepared for anything. So, I like to help my “protégé’s” to be prepared for both sides of the token.

Romancing the fairy tale
Or…Be the princess by complaining about how you need to rest some more because his snoring keeps you up. Whatever. You decide. There are many ways. 

Chances are no matter who you are if you’re being honest with your self you’re relationship is going to suck eggs at some point. It will have its ups and downs and there will be times when you will wish that you could hide in a box and just shut yourself from the world. Nevertheless that is not going to be the case all the time. Those other times should also be mentioned and talked about. Why shouldn’t the people in one’s life prepare you for those times? Why should only the bad times be mentioned and discussed, right?

Right. I know I’m right. We’ve been hurt by our own fantasies and fairy tales so many times that we are afraid to let others dreams. We are afraid for the pain that it might cause them. Stop and think. Think of the times that we weren’t hurt. That it happened. The magic was there. Sometimes it’s still there. Don’t take that away. Don’t take that away from others and don’t take that away from yourself either. Between stinky butts and sleepless nights there are moments when the small portions of tucked away fairytales come out to play. Just for a moment life doesn’t suck eggs. In those moments we are reminded of that silly girl who believed everything that her prince told her. Then that silly girl turned around and told all of that to her friend, and they both lived partially happily between working and dealing with real life and waiting for those tucked away fairytale moments.

Equal To None

Something has been bothering me. And you know anything that bothers us blogger types, we right about it. Yep. That is what we do. We think we’re so cool with, our, “ugh this is so uncool I need to tell the world about it”. No, but for real this is something I need to tell everyone about. This one is actually important. No joke.

Also, I’m a real blogger now. That’s what I tell people. You should too. About me, that is.

All of a sudden being a girly girl is not being a woman. We only get to be proud of being tough. I want to own being a Disney fan and a girly girl. I want to own liking purple and watching beauty and the beast and someone to say ,” THATS a woman”. What’s wrong with that? Why can’t I be all that and still be empowered? Why do I have to be colorless to be strong? Why do I have to be screaming, screeching, telling someone something is wrong somewhere to be strong? Strength doesn’t necessarily mean anger and wrath.

No Equal

Strength of character doesn’t mean not being able to show emotion. I see so many news articles, or even opinion articles about how certain women were so “badass” or “strong” because they “set someone straight”. I understand that our voices have to be louder than that of men to be heard otherwise we can get lost in the noise.

I also understand that I made many people cringe with the Disney and the pink and purple and I have opened up so many discussions. Here is my point though: I am a Disney fan. I still believe along with being that I can still be a feminist. That doesn’t mean I don’t see the problems with Disney movies and characters. I can wear pink and speak softly and still climb up that ladder and stand next to a man in any competition that I need to. That doesn’t mean I’ll end up flirting with them. Just because I am wearing a softer color, or just because I’m wearing a smiling rather than a bitchy attitude doesn’t mean Im for sure going to sleep my way up.

The problem is though that we are starting to do this to ourselves. This woman or girl is so cool because she is just like a guy. “Elsa was a ‘leader’ like her father”. “We need more women who can be Kings”. Where are the queens and princess who can lead like princess and queens?

Where is the softness that is a trademark of a woman? Why are we being taught to forsake that? That I don’t believe is feminism. If you ask me, which I realize that you are not, is the opposite of feminism. Women are soft and gentle. We are also strong and vicious. We aren’t just badass when we are screaming and fighting. We can be badass when we are being kind and trying to hold down an entire house. We can be badass when we are trying to calmly handle situations that need a sharp mind and a gentle loving touch. We can be badass when we are in charge of a nation. We may not have done that in the US yet but it has happened in many other countries.

No Equal1

What it means to be a woman is being changed by those who don’t really understand what a woman really is. I’ve worked; I’ve been the employ and the employer. I know a little bit about how this whole thing works. Sure no one takes you seriously unless you ”act like a man” because unfortunately that’s how our twisted world works. However, it’s pretty cool when we do things our way. It’s by no means easy, and by no means fun. The only thing I’m emphasizing here is that we as women should not fall for this B.S that we need to lose our femininity to be successful or better. I believe we need to do just the opposite; we need to keep it at full blast. We need to own it. That is what makes our point of view unique and makes us the different half. That’s why we work well together because men and women bring something different to the table, something equally important.

I have a hard time getting taken seriously. I run a household. Ran a business, and I still had men who were barely out of school telling me how to do my job. Why? Because I wasn’t doing it like a tough woman, or maybe just because I was a woman. So, that’s when I would smooth the creases of my face look at them dead in the eye and say, “ I have a successfully running business and double the degrees you do. Talk to me when you have achieved any of those things.”

I realize the problem goes way beyond just minor criticism for us and I am not undermining that in anyway. The purpose of this post is to simply state that we are great when are ourselves. Im tired of the comparison of men and women. There is no comparison. I don’t even want to say that we are better. I’m tired of the tug of war with the father of our children, our brothers and fathers. We are both great in our abilities. We can both conquer the world with our own capabilities. We don’t need to hijack each other’s or undermine our own to feel fulfilled.

The Beauty WithOut

We have so many notions about beauty in our societies. Everyone has something to say. Heck, I’m saying something to you right now. I want you to listen to me and believe something about beauty. Something that’s “more true” and “more real” than the last person you heard and read.

Makeup tutorials and all of the “do’s and don’ts lists, amongst all of that we have the message for little boys and girls that looks don’t matter floating around somewhere; No matter how you look you are great and you are fabulous.

 I’m totally playing into the double standard with my kids. I tell them every night how proud I am of them and how they have a great heart. We talk about what that means and all the nice things they did that day. I don’t want them to feel like looks don’t play any part in their lives. We talk about how adorable they are and how much I like their physical aspects as well. Look at your cute little nose, and your big beautiful eyes. I do this because the world values beauty and I want them to know that they are beautiful along with being smart and kind. We just discovered both boys and their dad have a birthmark almost exactly on the same spot on their bodies. They were all so proud of that, dad included, as much as their dad tries to act like he doesn’t care about how he looks, he cares. He cares a whole lot more than he’d ever admit to me at least because he’s just too cool for that.

The Beauty Without1
Total Future Model/Doctor/Architect/Engineer/Rocket scientist

So far it feels like we’re doing things pretty okay. But then there are those times when I do those things that are not quite okay for kids to watch.

For example, when I eat a whole ice cream cone and unknowingly say, “man if I start to get fat again it’s going to be all your fault, because you brought two of these things” to their dad.

“Oh no, don’t use that picture. I’m not wearing makeup”. I have never denied wearing make up. I love it. I wear it proudly, I go without makeup most of the time but sometimes you are just not feeling your look without it. Nevertheless, how it sounds and come across to a child is dangerous and all these side notes cannot be explained in one breath to a 4-year-old.

The Beauty WithOut
He Looks guilty of having called his mom ugly, doesnt he?

I have heard them say to me “you don’t have stuff on your face still you look so pretty”. I have taught them that its unusual to for me to look pretty without makeup even though that’s so not me.

I’m confused. We are all confused. We want a balance. Rather what we have is an elaborate confusion.

I was once told by someone very close to me that if I don’t dress up for my husband he will “look” at other women. Well, I was told that more than once. So, basically you’re telling me that I stand by his side for almost 20 years raising his kids going through all the ups and downs of life with him but the minute I’m not “pretty enough” I’ll be tossed aside? He didn’t say that. Others did. However, he already got the message that IF he ever did something like that, others will justify it for him.

There’s the confusion. There’s nothing wrong with dressing up. There’s nothing wrong with doing it for others either. We claim we dress up only for ourselves, but its okay if we are doing it to look good for others. Everyone wants to look good for others sometimes. It’s natural. However, It shouldn’t be out of fear of being left or out of some other insecurity or jealousy. It should be because its fun and other people appreciate who we are in all our beautiful dressed up glory. That’s all right. The question remains however, at what point is it not all right? What point is it too much?

I don’t want my kids to grow up without knowing how to take care of them-selves aesthetically. I also don’t want them to think that all their value is imbedded in just that. They are so much more than that. They are smart. They can make the most interesting and imaginative stories. The older one is really good at puzzles. The younger one likes to make his own music: At the same time they could both be models. Yes my kids are perfect. You see how I’m completely confusing my children? Confusion. Confusion everywhere.