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Egypt: Wanna be a Bride; From Blog to TV

The cover of Ghada Abdel Aal's book, Wanna be a Bride.

Ghada Abdel Aal's book, Wanna be a Bride.

More than two years ago, Global Voices Online ran an article about Egyptian blogs which were published into books. Now one of those books was turned into a television series that is currently being aired during the holy month of Ramadan.

The Blog, Book, and TV Series

Ayza Atgawez – Wanna be a Bride – is the name of the blog [Ar], the book [Ar], and also the new television series. It is made up of humorous short stories about a girl's endless quest to find a suitable husband.

And here is how the blogger/writer Ghada Abdel Aaal summarizes her series of blogs:

أمثل 15 مليون بنت من سن 25 إلى سن 35 و اللي بيضغط عليهم المجتمع كل يوم عشان يتجوزوا..مع إنه مش بإيديهم إنهم لسه قاعدين
I represent about 15 million girls between the ages of 25 and 35 years, whom society is chasing and insulting to get married. However, they have nothing to do about not finding a suitable husband yet.

A Two-Way Ticket from Social Media to Mainstream Media

As you can see it started in a blog and then found its way to mainstream media. And now it's taking the other way back to social media. The young Tunisian actress – Hend Sabry – who is playing the main character in the series decided to communicate with her fans via Twitter and asked them for their feedback about her role and the series as a whole.

@HendSabry: Keep tagging your feedback with #3ayzaAtgawez so I can keep an eye on your feedback! Thank you
@HendSabry: إيه أكتر جملة شدتكم في حلقة اليوم؟
@HendSabry: Which was the most attractive phrase in today's episode?
Ayza Atgawez starring the actress Hend Sabry

Ayza Atgawez starring the actress Hend Sabry

And the Egyptian and Arab tweeps started sending their feedback using the mentioned hashtag.

Nayera02: @HendSabry Watching #3ayzaAtgawez , easily the best T.V. show this Ramadan! Epic.

@_Nouna_: 7l2t #3ayzaAtgawez kant 7lewa awe today w really happens.. e3lnat el gawaz ba2t keteeeeeeeer awe

@_Nouna_: Today's episode of #3ayzaAtgawez was very nice, and it really happens. Wedding advertisements are too widespread nowadays
@Momen_Elfadly: هناك فارق كبير بين الأداء الكاريكاتوري الكوميدي الساخر، وبين المبالغة المزعجة والهيبرة التي تقوم بها هند صبري باستمرار من أجل استجداء الضحك
@Momen_Elfadly: There is a huge difference between comic and humorous acting, and the annoying exaggeration and facial expressions that Hend Sabry keeps on doing waiting for people to laugh.
@TravellerW: #3ayzaAtgawez making fun of short people; calling a short guy ‘Tweety’. Keepin’ it classy. #Racism #Ignorance #Trash #RamadanTV
@BentMasreya: أكتر سؤال كرهته في رمضان “إيه أكتر جملة عجبتكوا في حلقة النهاردة؟” ارخم من المسلسل ذاااااته
@BentMasreya: I hated the following question the most this Ramadan, “What was the phrase that you liked the most in today's episode”, it's even worse than the series itself.

As you can see, some feedback was positive, some was negative, and other comments made Hend realize that social media is a double-edged weapon:

@HendSabry: Please just send me the feedback on #3ayzaAtgawez .. I won't accept any PERSONAL insults :)

The Series Aftermath

Away from the series itself, the topic of the blog/book/series made Yasmine El-Mehairy write a series of blog post – there are eight of them so far – on her own blog under the title, “Sorry, but I don't want to get married“:

بمناسبة اذاعة مسلسل عايزة اتجوز اللي كل الناس بتبصلي اني المفروض اخده مثل اعلى و اروح ادور على عريس
و بما ان عادة المصريين ان لازم ينكدوا على الواحد في اي مناسبة سعيدة و يفكروا باللي نقصوا في حياتوا
و بمناسبة كلمة “عقبال” اللي عمري ما حبيتها ولا طيقتها

احب اشارك معاكوا حكيتي مع الحب و الجواز و الذى منه , هاسميها “انا اسفة , مش عايزة اتنيل” . الحكاية دي فيها فضايح , و اعترافات , جزء لا بأس به من تاريخي الاسود . القصص كتير , منها الي يضحك و منها الي يبكي بس في الاخر هيا حصليت خلاص , و تسببت في تكوين شخصيتي و الي حصل حصل , و جائز لو شاركت الناس, تقدروا انا ليه بقيت كده
On the occasion of airing the TV series, Wanna be a Bride which made everyone tell me that I have to consider it a role model and start finding a groom of my own. And because of the Egyptian habit where they turn any happy occasion – someone's wedding, or engagement – into a sad one by telling me, “waiting for your marriage or engagement too”. And I've never liked this phrase as it reminds people of what is missing in their lives.

So I'll start sharing with you my own experience with love and marriage proposals, and I'll call it “Sorry, but I don't want to get married”. Those stories are full of catastrophes and reveal a part of my dark history with marriage. There are too many stories, some are funny and others are sad, but at the end of the day, they all are stories that just happened to me and shaped my own personality, and may be by telling them to you you'll find out more about me and my current personality.

Another user on Twitter revealed two of her worst nightmares that have come true.

@Marrvie: Desperation can be described as follows; Getting 2 respective calls; A friend saying that @HendSabry in #3ayzaAtgawez remind her of me (cont)
@Marrvie: And a relative who didn't recognize my voice & thought I was a guy!

And finally another user on Twitter wondered if marriage is really the final destination, or there is still one more station in their live journey:

@Mazloum: Tab el mafrood ba3d #3ayzaAtgawez yenzelo Ramadan el gayy bel sequel: #3ayzaAttalla2

@Mazloum: Shouldn't they make another sequel for there series next Ramadan and call it: I Want to get a Divorce.

6 comments

  • sarah yasin

    actually ana ayza atgawez is copied from a syrian series ( arsan akeir zaman) made in 2002 . But the only difference is that in the egyptian version the young lady is desperate and wants to get married which is the contrary in the syrian version (original version). and the best part is that the author is saying that it’s the first a subject like this one is introduced in the middle east , well no, it was by the syrian author who passed away just 2 months ago daoud sheikhani . is it just a coincidence that the year the book was published was in 2007 and that the series was on tv 2002 ??

    • The book has an origin Sarah which is the blog, written in Egyptian dialect, the blog is the diaries of the writer. I personally is a reader of her blog since its very beginning, post by post. Every post has many very Egyptian details, which makes it nearly impossible to be copied. You can’t put Egyptian details in every post when you are copying something.

      It is not about the dates, it is about the content which you definitely didn’t attempt to read.

    • The book has an origin Sarah which is the blog, written in Egyptian dialect, the blog is the diaries of the writer. I personally am a reader of her blog since its very beginning, post by post. Every post has many very Egyptian details, which makes it nearly impossible to be copied. You can’t put Egyptian details in every post when you are copying something.

      It is not about the dates, it is about the content which you definitely didn’t attempt to read.

  • It is great to have an Egyptian blog turned into a book and a TV series.
    Thought the casting (and the director) were horrible. Too bad a great blog/book is wasted that way.

    • Alanis

      I think you’re absolutely right about that! It’s a waste indeed.

  • I have to admit that am quite happy with the negative feedback. The waist is summing up the large amount of well established and educated Egyptian Women in such a low vulgar image. Seriously, the blog..the book, and the TV series are way too unfair..and against the pride and true nature of many egyptian women.

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