On Being an "Ugly Woman, Rejected by Men"

Whenever I say I’m a “Feminist,” I get a variety of responses. The most common response goes something like this: “Oh, so you’re a man-hater.”

 

The word feminist scares a lot of people. But it particularly seems to threaten men’s masculinity. When I talk about feminism around men, I can sense their insecurity; perhaps this is because they are not used to hearing women talk about anything other than make-up and gossip.

 

Some of these men think that attacking me will prove and express their masculinity. “Men are stronger than women,” a male, let’s call him Raed, tells me. “I can hurt you if I want to and you won’t be able to do anything about it.” What an articulate and mature argument. His physical strength proves – without a doubt – that I have no cause to fight for equal rights for men and women. Others merely avoid the subject. They just smile back at me, giving me that I-don’t-agree-with-you-but-I-don’t-feel-like-arguing-with-a-woman smile.

 

One of the best responses I got was from a “close” friend: “Sarah, you shouldn’t be a feminist. Feminists are ugly women who were rejected by men from their society, because of their unattractiveness, and so they decided to despise men and convinced themselves that they don’t need us to live. This is why they’re mostly lesbians.” Now, I’ve read a lot of theory about different definitions of feminism, but this understanding shocked me with its originality. I guess I should be thanking my “friend” for being able to define feminism and what a feminist is in so few and so clear terms.

 

However, my feminism doesn’t scare men only; it also worries a lot of women, too. They consider me a threat to their so-called “femininity.” For example, this response that I got from a woman, let’s call her Mirna: “What do you mean, you don’t believe in gender roles? I’m a woman and I’m proud of it. My femininity is what makes men attracted to me.” So, I ask her: “But your femininity depends on a masculine presence. If men didn’t put such importance on your femininity, would you be willing to let it go?” She stares at me a bit and replies: “I wouldn’t want to live in a world where my femininity is not appreciated.”

 

Our world, where men and women are weighed down with social expectations, is so much better, indeed. Our world, where women have to be emotional and dependent to be perceived as “good women,” where women should not aim for a great career because it might affect their sacred motherhood, is a clearly such a free and happy world. Our world, where men are not supposed to show any kind of fear, where they are expected to protect themselves and any feminine presence next to them, where they should not be sensitive, nor weak, in any way, is such a peaceful and comforting world. Why should I want to change it?

 

Nevertheless, it should be noted that a “woman as a feminist” is much more accepted than a “man as a feminist.” Women and men are brainwashed from a very young age, gender roles and expectations are inserted into all their values, such that it becomes very hard for them to perceive the differences between a biological male or female and the socially created man or woman.  “A feminist man?! You mean more like a feminist boy?” says another man, we’ll call him Rabih . “He can’t be a man and a feminist at the same time, dear” he adds, with a big, very proud, very masculine, smile on his face.

 

And if he is not a man, it practically goes without saying, then women will definitely not be attracted to him. A woman, we’ll call her Lina, says, “I wouldn’t want to date a feminist man, that is for sure.” When I asked why not, she replied: “A man should be a man, and a woman a women.” Woah. I didn’t really get her answer, but I guess it’s just too deep for me.

 

In conclusion, then, from this latest exploration of AUB’s best and brightest: If you are ugly, if you hate men, if you are seeking attention, then check yourself ASAP! Be careful – you may be a feminist!!

(NB: All “real men” and “genuine feminine women” can relax, they’re off the hooks)

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