Activity Post Week 5 – Egypt

Looking at the health issues Egypt is currently facing through the lens of the feminist theory is quite intense. There are obvious issues of gender inequality in this country. These inequalities are mostly rooted in the overwhelming conviction to the Islamic faith throughout the country. I am not critiquing the Islamic faith individually, but all of the Abrahamic religions can be manipulated to enforce some very sexist beliefs about the world. In Egypt access to birth control is a national health issue. As we see here in America, where Christianity has a high prevalence, getting insurance to cover contraceptive use has been a topic up for debate in our government and actually achieving this coverage is something that I have even personally struggled with. From a feminist point of view, we can see that this is an issue with the willingness of the societies to allow women to have autonomy over their bodies. We also see this inequality spread to how violence and harassment of women in Egypt is dealt with. When abuse even when it results in injury is nearly never reported because it is the view of the society that the husband or father is the master of the home, these injustices are silenced by societal norms. When over 99% of women are harassed or cat called in the streets of Egypt and there are no repercussions, this becomes the new norm. In every society, we set the standards for women by what we allow. This idea that women should be allowed to choose when they do or do not conceive was the struggle of the second wave of feminism and one that still persist in many countries dominated by an Abrahamic religion. For myself as a Jewish woman, I have never seen actual religion support these claims, but I have very intimately experienced religious teachings be twisted to justify and spread a very sexist agenda. I truly believe that deep down men are afraid of women and what kind of power women can have if they have control of the one thing that sets us apart from men. In fact, many Jewish mystics believe that women are more natural and connect to nature there also is a division that believes that women could self-conceive, but this is a story for a different day. As we talked about in previous weeks that our connection to our cycle and the earth is what is used to claim we are less and incompetent, is what actually what men are afraid of. It is important to note that the reaction of each society to this fear of women’s power manifest in different ways. The oppression of women knows no ethnic nor racial boundaries, true, but that does not mean it is identical within those boundaries (Dominguez). While in Egypt women are struggling for contraceptive, in other countries little girls are struggling for the right to attend school. Ultimately, in my eyes the issue always comes to power but what constitutes that power differs in each culture.

 

 

Johnna Dominguez, J., Franks, M., & Boschma, J. H. (n.d.). Feminist Anthropology. University of Alabama. https://anthropology.ua.edu/cultures/cultures.php?culture=Feminist%20Anthropology

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