Egypt: Women turn to the Internet to fight taboos

Young middle and upper class Egyptian women resort to the internet to fight their battles against taboos. The BBC interviewed some of them and Mohamed Hamdy of Bloggers Times comments on the article.

Quoting Reem Abdel Hamid of Al Youm 7 Newspaper, Hamdy wrote:

وتروى النساء تجاربهن الشخصية مستغلات السرية التى يتيحها الإنترنت. كما تتبادل النساء الآراء السياسية والثقافية ويتحدثن عن الإحباطات اليومية اللاتى يتعرضن لها.
Taking advantage of the anonymity of the internet, women share their personal experiences. They also exchange political and cultural views, and discuss their daily frustrations.

The BBC cited Dalia Ziada's call upon the Saudi Arabian government to stop their discrimination against women. Hamdy notes:

وتقول إن المدونة داليا زيادة على سبيل المثال دعت السعودية إلى إنهاء ما تصفه بالتمييز ضد المرأة فى حملة تزامن توقيتها مع ذكرى المولد النبوى. وتقول داليا: “لم يُسمح لى بأداء العمرة، لماذا؟ لأن سيدة شابة تحت سن الـ45. والحل الوحيد بالنسبة لى هو الذهاب مع محرم لأن أمى لا تكفى”. وتضيف: “هل تعرفون محرما لى، فوالدى متوف وشقيقاى غير مهتمين بالأمر ولا أستطيع تحمل نفقاتهما، وليس لدى زوج وبالطبع ليس لدى ابن”.
The article says, for instance, that blogger Daila Ziada has called upon Saudi Arabia o stop what she describes as discrimination against women. Her campaign coincided with the Prophet's Birthday. Daila says:
“I am not allowed to do “O'mra!” [a lesser pilgrimage to Mecca] Why? Because I am a young woman under the age of 45! The only solution for me to get to my beloved Prophet's land is to be accompanied by a male chaperon. My mother is not enough!! Do you know what a male chaperon is? A first-degree male relative: father, brother, husband, or son! I am in a big trouble, then. My father is dead, my two brothers are not interested and I cannot afford paying for their tickets, I do not have a husband and of course I do not have a son!! What can I do, now?!”

Hamdy notes how another blogger spoke about the Arab obsession with virginity. He explains:

وتحدثت مدونة أخرى لم تذكر اسمها عن ماضيها وتعاطيها المخدرات، وانتقدت استمرار ما وصفته بهوس المجتمع العربى بعذرية الإناث. ومن ثم، تشير هيئة الإذاعة البريطانية إلى أن الموضوعات التى تعد من المحرمات فى الشارع المصرى يمكن مناقشتها على الساحة الإلكترونية مثل موضوع التحرش الجنسى.
A blogger who preferred to stay anonymous spoke of her past and of her drug addiction. On her blog, she continuously criticized the Arab obsession with a woman's virginity. The BBC also pointed out how taboos like sexual harassment are topics of discussion on the electronic arena as opposed to real life.

Girls and only Girls - the first online radio dedicated to girls only – was another initiative that Hamdy reports about:

وأسست هذه المحطة أمانى تونسى(25 عاماً) وهى إحدى الفتيات المصريات التى أصابها الإحباط بسبب الطريقة التى تعامل بها النساء فى مصر. تقول: ” نحن تقريبا لسنا أحياء فى ظل الاحتمالات الدائمة لتعرضنا للتحرش الجنسى”، وتتساءل عن أى حياة هذه. ومن البرامج التى تقدمها “بنات وبس” برنامج ” مش كل الطير” الذى يحمل رسالة مؤداها “ليست كل البنات حمقاوات”. ويتحدث البرنامج عن الخدع التى يستخدمها الرجال للإيقاع بالفتيات.

Amany El Tunsi (25) is the founder of this online radio station as a venting channel for women who are constantly frustrated with their lives in Egypt. Wondering about the quality of life, she says: “We are almost denied the right to live with the constant threat of being harassed.” “Not All Birds” is an interesting show that literally means that not all women are foolish. The purpose of this show is to uncover the games men play to trick women into falling for them.

Start the conversation

Authors, please log in »


  • All comments are reviewed by a moderator. Do not submit your comment more than once or it may be identified as spam.
  • Please treat others with respect. Comments containing hate speech, obscenity, and personal attacks will not be approved.