For a while now, the new trend circling the globe has been “Women Empowerment”. A topic I was never able to relate to because, in my mind, the concept of male and female is strongly dominated by the concept of human being. Even though I faced lots of experiences and situations in my life that challenged my point of view on this matter, I never yielded to my strong belief in the power of human being instead of the futility of gender stereotyping.
I rewind to a tragic situation that took place in 1998: I was still a university student, and oblivious to the real world issues. My biggest challenge was to pass my courses with the least amount of time spent on studying, while not sacrificing a single minute of partying. Unfortunately, things took a different turn that year, and for the first time in my life I had to face the gender double standard policies imposed by certain governments. My diplomat cousin, a “Sorbonne” graduate with a distinction, was in love with a foreigner, and they decided to get married. To her misfortune, it was prohibited for a female diplomat to marry a foreigner. It just happened one day that I was a bystander when my cousin, with three appeal rejections in hand, was asking my father if he knows someone in the government who can get her an exemption for her marriage. They were brainstorming the possibilities, the protocols, whom to approach, when the genius that I am, intervened, and started stating the many cases in which diplomats, ministers and deputies, were married to foreigners from different nationalities. I couldn’t understand the fuss around the issue, until the look at my father’s face made me feel as if I have instantly grown some tentacles and stepped out of my UFO. With a soft loving voice as educating a little child, and with a pitiful look on his face, he said: “ all the people you mentioned are males. She is a female, and over here it is against the law for a female diplomat to marry a foreigner”.
Boooooom…I hit reality, and it was at the speed of light. I was in shock.
Are laws gender sensitive? really?
All of a sudden, I truly felt as if actually, I did just land from Mars.
Who would put such a law? and Why? It was so unfair and I was filled with anger. I was so angry, that for few months, I started researching what other lawful discriminations we had in our constitution. My research led to so many other shameful gender based laws and rules. A whole mindset needed to be changed and not just the law. The brains, or masterminds who created the current legislations, were just relic, even worse, they had no common sense. My research continued to other areas in life, such as social conventions and norms, and I was petrified by how little sense the world made.
I tried to go back to the initial point in time where all discrimination against women started to happen, and my findings had no logical base or common sense, or a universal rule. All the laws were Man made. And there was not just gender related inequalities, but there was also racial inequality. Laws were not written with the mindset of equality or with the intention of fairness, or a long term sustainable logic that takes into consideration the well being of societies in general, the sense of inclusiveness, or the universal rules. Laws were written to serve certain group of people, to sort an isolated issue, in a specific point in time, for a specific geographical space, taking into consideration, only, a social status-quo that cannot be defied whether it was wrong or short sighted.
I was cooping to understand the world, I was trying to find my place and myself amidst all this chaos. I was trying to know why I am the way I am, and why the idea of gender inequality was very weird to me. So naturally a bit of retrospection needed to happen.
In 1982 I lived with my younger brother, my mother and my father in a small village in the mountains with a population of few thousands only. The villagers were known nationwide for being tough with rigid personalities and medieval thinking. At the age of 6, my brother had already permeated all the rigidity of the society around him into his skinny little body, and he started having this “I am the man” attitude. One day, while fighting with mom over some mischief he has done, he angrily shouted, with a loud commanding voice, that he can do whatever he wanted because he is a man. I was standing there, waiting for that slap on his face, or for that “go to the corner for 30 minutes until you calm down” kind of punishment. But to my surprise, mom, with all the cool in the world, with a deep understanding of what is at play in that situation, looked him in the eyes, formed that unforgettable grin on her face and with a funny calm sarcastic tone, filled with fake admiration to that little angry bundle, replied: “something that came out of my lower half is now raising his voice on me”.
Silence, deafening utter silence followed these words.
It was a moment of realization, a moment of enlightenment to my brother. There was no answer or reply to that statement. She was his maker, his creator, his reason of existence.
I felt the underlying and unseen emotions between mom and my brother, the defying looks on both of their faces: the woman and the man, not the parent and the kid. I felt my brother’s brains frantically searching for a reply, some smart words to throw back at her, a truth, a lie, anything to make him regain his short lived manhood that justified his behavior…nothing came out.
Quite a humbling statement, I have to say.
My mom was a house wife, not a breadwinner, but she knew her value as a human being, her mission in life, and how important it was to be part of this big plan, and how important it was to raise us the proper way. For her, this little kid needed to understand what a woman is before he grows-up to experience what a man is.
I was raised by a strong woman and a loving father who believed in equality, not because they had a superior and evolved consciousness or have read books about the subject. Quite far from it. This strong belief of equality came from the fact of knowing the value of each individual and his contribution to the whole universal tissue, without any judgment and with pure intentions.
During the fluctuating economy we faced some financial set backs. My brother and I never felt the consequences or the discrimination of the temporary role exchange that my parents had to implement. As long as the tasks were filled, it didn’t matter who played “mother” and who played “father”. The labeling didn’t matter. My mother had to work, my father had to take care of us. We got our needs served because the roles were not belittled, and there was cooperation and understanding from both sides.
I was raised in a home with the concept that each individual will do whatever is in his capacity for the greater good and benefit of the group. We didn’t judge a person by his capacity, we didn’t evaluate, compare, or scrutinize, as long as we are doing our best. We were not brought up to conform to social standards, or to dividing chores according to gender. We were brought up to certain values and ethics that did not relate to any crazy non-sense that was going on outside our home. I was raised as a child, not as a girl. I became a human being and not a woman.
At a very young age, I was mentally capable of recognizing that both genders are crucial for making a world, and sustaining life, and without one the whole humanity is gone. I was also capable of recognizing that any human being can engender both qualities of man and women whenever it is needed. I was just a child, a tiny little child in a big world but I understood what is essential for life to happen, and what it is needed to make a world.
Coming back to 2017, to the era when women empowerment is a highlight for the world, “equal pay for genders” is a goal for a far future, voting rights are not yet seriously tackled, marriage rights are at the end of the “women empowerment action list”, and with so much non-sense going on, I wonder. I wonder about the relic brains behind the legislation powers in so many countries who had absolutely no understanding of life. I wonder about the mother who did not look at her son, when he was conceiving those horrific laws from the wombs of his dark ugly side, and reminded him where he popped out from and how those laws will harm the future of his community, his country and the world in general. How his laws will harm the womb from which he came, the womb from which his daughters and sons will come. What non-sense allowed a gender to degrade, and strip the rights of another gender who is equal in the creation of humanity and without it he wouldn’t have existed.
If today all women in the world decide to abstain from giving birth, what would happen to humanity? If women, today, decide not to work what would happen to the workforce?
Why do we need to wait till 2050 to have equal pay among humans? Why it is not today? Why don’t we ask ourselves what is needed today to eradicate the gender inequality on different levels in all continents? Why can’t we today, with all the evolution that we reached, realize and understand the importance of both genders?
When will we understand and realize that human empowerment is today a more urgent issue than women empowerment? have we not realized yet that we need to move faster on the conscious level and evolve quicker in order to save humanity? Life is bigger then gender that is only defined by the sex of a human being. The universe is not going to discriminate, and things will be happening to all of us equally. The man made and man imposed misery should stop, and it should stop today, because, for the small mistakes that humanity has done and the small deviation from the universal rules we have committed, it is taking us 10 times more effort to undo some of it only. The labelling of the problem at hand is not women empowerment, but human empowerment or higher conscience empowerment. If we keep labeling the problem women empowerment, tomorrow we are going to have another problem, LGBT empowerment, black empowerment, minorities empowerment, autism empowerment, dow syndrome empowerment, and the list will go on. We need to start thinking of the Human before the label.
This article is dedicated to the strong woman that I call, Mom. Thank you for making me, and I proudly say, a fully-fledged human being.