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emancipate yourself from mental slavery!

Have you ever caught yourself thinking that its hard for you to do something because of your sex??have you ever felt inferior and painfully self-conscious because of an imperfect hairstyle or outfit?have you ever felt awkward and inappropriate in the presence of men?have you ever considered circumcising your daughter?have you ever considered undergoing genital plastic surgery to be of great pleasure to your partner?have you ever declined a great job offer just because its inappropriate for a female?
These are questions which i think should be answered by all of us..truthfully because one of the steel-strong cuffs bound tightly are the ones around our own minds...the ones we put for ourselves.
A puzzling story for me was the one told by my own cousin when i went to sudan for vacation last summer.She said that she had a big disagreement with her husband and had to threaten him by leaving the house when he refused the genital mutilation for his 6-year-old daughter.
"He doesnt mind the social stigmata which will mark her life ,and he doesnt care that she might never get married ..he is a man..he cant understand!" she stormed.
Her mother-my aunt- supported her fully and likewise her mother-in-law ,the women of the family! it is strange how they insist up to this day to circumcise young girls of the family while they themselves suffer daily from the complications of such brutality.Its a vicious circle where rediculing or reducing women into sex objects have led them into thinking that their sole existence depends on thier role as ones!especially when they are financially-dependant on the " bread- winner" man.Therefore,the circle continues when women become totally taken by this idea believing that their life wont be the same without men desiring them which in turn depends on their mutilated external genitalia reflecting their honor! this is automatically extended to their daughters and grand- daughters when the mother becomes the one holding the razor instead of the protector!
Likewise, married women who choose not to perform the popular traditional ways of beautyfying themselves are criticised and judged sharply because it is widely beleived that henna and "dukhan" -traditional smoke sauna- are ways to express gratitiude to a husband and to reflect that she is happily married to her in-laws and the society.It is supposed to be a must-do procedure for married women...and a stamp which she cant dismiss,more or less like the indian red mark on the forehead!....who insists on this??the mother and women of the family besides the judgemental female-critics of the society.
These beliefs are so deeply rooted in our society and are performed and carried on from one generation to the other like a heavy weight breaking our backs and brains in the process....isnt it sad to continue the long ancient march of oppression to our kind?and isnt it extremely puzzling how we insist to feed our own beloved daughters the same poisoned dishes we were fed?
To emancipate our own minds from mental slavery first should be a goal before embarking on wars impossible to be won without conquering our own fears and winning our own inner wars first!!
Let us all be truthfull regarding our innermost demons against women liberation and our weapons against our kind....especially those from the 3rd world where women are mostly the victims of a global financial crisis and a local prejudice and discrimination.without liberating our minds first...we can never win the fight!


jadefrank's picture

Mental slavery

When I read your journal, Bob Marley's "Redemption Song" entered my mind and I can't get the words out of my brain. So true - often we are our own slave masters, when we cannot allow ourselves the freedom of expression, thought and being true to ourselves.

The story of your cousin, who wished to genitally mutilate her own daughter, is a common one around Africa. And I have learned so much about this practice from other African members here on PulseWire. It reminds me of the stories I heard from women in China when they reflected on the practice of foot binding. A woman's worth was measured by the smallness of her feet (something men at the time demanded as a sign of beauty) and it was the mothers who would break and bind their own daughters' feet to ensure they were wed to good families.

It is difficult to understand how a mother could put her daughter through such torture, especially being a victim herself to the practice of genital mutilation. While she says she only has the best interest of her daughter in mind due to rules that society has placed on women, deep down she must be suffering to see her daughter suffer in the same way that she has.

Thank you for being so vocal to this issue, for sharing your personal story and for reminding us all that real change begins within ourselves.

I look forward to hearing more of your voice here on PulseWire!

Warm regards,

fatma's picture

dear jade; it is quite

dear jade;
it is quite puzzling how women are always the first to jump into the role of tradition-protector and therefore help oppress and hurt other women in the has always been a question mark for me!!...i guess the more they are oppressed by the society the more they become slaves to its beliefs especially when they are financially dependent ...they raise thier daughters with the idea of looking for the best husband by performing anything socially required of her from genital mutilation to foot-binding ...we carry the swords that kill our own sex.....our minds are impreganted by slavery ,so we pass it on!
thanks for the comment and for sharing your thoughts with me......and im glad my writing touched you!..and by the way,i love bob marley....
i write under the nicknmae of fatma because im truly inspired by a woman who broke all rules and was a huge step towards the social justice for women in my country...she was the first woman in the sudanese parliament...who fought fiercly for our constitutional rights as full citizens..fatma ibrahim. my real name though is shiraz abdelhai ....
and i am glad to hear from you!
best regards

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