Men in Women’s Bodies

07Dec10

This was so inspiring to read.

Originally posted by Tahera Nassrat @ Voice of Afghanistan > Check out the site, it has some great posts!

Sometimes I want to leave this place and go away. I want to restart my life somewhere else. I want to be in a place where I will not get caught by frustration this often, where happiness and tranquility will replace the sadness that presses my heart. I want to be in a place where I will feel freedom and liberty in the air. There are people here that tell me Afghanistan is not where I should have been born in. They tell me to go far away from here because this country cannot tolerate a liberated woman. But I know freeing me from this country does not mean freeing my soul and heart from it. By leaving this country I will leave myself and letting a big part of struggle forever or die.
I remind myself that this is a struggle zone. I remind myself that if I stay here and fight this war of being a woman and remaining a woman the generation after me will not have to go through what I am going through.
Today I am fighting for my femininity so that tomorrow my daughter will not have to live through discrimination and suppression. This country makes me have a love-hate relationship with it. It forces me feel weak and frustrated at times. But this is my home. It is my duty to fight. It is my generation¹s duty to struggle and pave the way for the next generation. I must remember that this country also gives me pride, it gives me challenges and achievements, it gives me victory at end.
I have gone a long way to find myself and appreciate myself as a woman in this male dominant society. I have managed to give a feminine definition for myself, in a society where everything is defined by men. The change I see in myself makes believe in change in others. But the change must happen in the minds of every Afghan woman.
Sometimes as I talk to Afghan women, I feel that I am talking to men inside women’s bodies. This makes me angry. A woman who is ashamed of talking about her monthly period is not a woman. A woman’s monthly period is the one of the most feminine experiences she goes through. But even that has a male dominant definition. A woman while having her monthly period finds herself dirty and ugly. She feels unaccepted and outcast. She is abandoned from talking about what she goes through. Women here must redefine this experience which they go through. They must be respected for going through this experience and understood they should not be ashamed of it.
I face and deal with men in women’s bodies on daily basis. Men that think they are women and suppress womanhood. Here I confront women who are ashamed of their bodies, women that hate their bodies, women that think their body makes them vulnerable, women that burn up their own bodies in flames of fire and curse themselves for being born a woman. Even they themselves cannot appreciate their own femininity, because their sexuality is defined by men. There is nothing feminine in the way they are defined by men. These women believe their bodies are to please men. These women believe in sexual relationships only men have the right to be satisfied.
These women believe that their bodies are tools for men’s pleasure and they are to be passive and tools. No one asks them if they enjoy sexual intercourse or not. No one asks them what position they like better. No one asks them what they want during sexual intercourse. In this sexual game the goal to be achieved is to please men. And after wards the woman’s task is to grow the product of that in her womb, give birth to it and raise it all unwillingly.
What makes these men in women’s bodies trustworthy and respectable is their hymens. These women have the sacred duty of taking care of their hymen from childhood till the night they are raped by a man who has no respect for their own self but rather trusts them for their hymen. These women believe by taking care of their hymen they are taking care of their pride, their self respect, their chastity and proving their faithfulness to their husbands. There is no one to ask why only women must prove their virginity?
What is chastity? What is pride? What is self respect? How do you prove a man’s pride, self respect and faithfulness? Why do we bring up our daughters teaching them that their bodies are to be kept and protected because they belong to men? Women here must grow up thinking of their bodies as their own properties. How women treat their body relates to them only. Every woman must explore every part of her body because her body belongs to her and only her.
Every woman must love and her appreciate her own body. Thinking of our bodies as properties of men turns us in to material and is one of the most major manners through which we are suppressed. Freedom means liberation from the limitations we as women have accepted to live with. We must free our own bodies and reclaim them from men.
I must remain here and fight these male dominant views and thoughts that suppress women here. I must not allow these male dominant views define the identity of a woman and womanhood. This society is in need of women who liberate their minds, souls and bodies. This society is in need of women who alter this male dominant society to a society where everyone is respected and appreciated. I must remain here to re-establish the thoughts and languages that entitle a liberated woman a Fahesha (prostitute) or Ghar numai (a whore, a slut), or at least to attempt to create the male equivalent of these thoughts and words. I will stay here to at least confront people with this question: How do you measure a man’s virginity?
Voice:  Zubaida Akbar
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