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The Boundaries Between Light & Dark

February 10, 2010

In Egypt, known as a conservative country, women’s lives are controlled by regulations which were once meant to keep them safe. Blindly, women had surrendered to those regulations limiting their feelings, powers, intelligence and experience to finally become captured in what they all call “traditions”.

In Egypt and all other Muslim countries, a girl has to marry with her father’s permission, if not the father then the brother or the uncle, in other words, a man is in charge.
Remaining a virgin until her wedding night, a woman is not only a virgin sex wise, in fact, a young woman is supposed to be inexperienced in most fields of social life and especially in relationships with the opposite sex. Thus, a woman steps into marriage as a clueless and an innocent child who is suddenly expected to take responsibility of a whole family.
Even though young girls have managed to break the rules which had been imposed by the society as they’ve tried to have relations – not necessarily sexual- with men in secret, they are still inexperienced as they lacked guidance, good advice and knowledge.
Due to the fact that a relation between a young man and a young woman was always described as shameful, girls chose to live those experiences in the dark, far from all eyes, only shared with friends from the same age, with the same poor knowledge and naivety. Due to the same fact, sex education was also banned and considered as a prohibited topic.

Once a woman with such a weak base steps into the new life style of marriage, she becomes absolutely shocked and expected to suddenly grow up and act like an adult, in the society, and in bed.
In other words, the image of the fairytale fades away and leaves her harshly hurt and disappointed once she faces the truth about her marital life.

The moment a girl kisses her virginity goodbye and becomes a woman, everything which she had learned changes into an opposing one. Long ago, when she was little, she was ordered to be quiet and descent. Sex was an issue which was forbidden to be even spoken of and learned. Clueless, ignorant, scared and confused, the polite girl is suddenly expected in no time to grow up and flourish as a woman.
Those expectations can be gathered in a few points which reveal the birth of a gap between her teenage life and her life as a wife. An Egyptian female lives more than one life and becomes more than one person throughout the years. Not only her character changes due to circumstances and age, but also, the basics she has learned in her childhood, the concepts she had been fed and the manners.   

–          From a polite quiet girl demanded to submit to her parents in everything to a woman standing her ground, proving herself and being in charge.

–          From an inexperienced virgin who barely got the chance to get to know what it’s like to be with a man, to talk to him, to understand him and to sleep with him, to an understanding and a supporting partner to a man and also a whore in bed.

–          From a shy and conservative girl hiding under her parents’ wings, to a courageous and a daring female facing real life, responsibility, and finally, struggling to fill the spaces without a clue in order to fill a mysterious gap between herself and her man.

–          As for the sexual life, she turns from an innocent, blind and even ignorant girl, to a real woman fully aware of her and her partner’s needs, and also capable of expressing those needs in the right way.

–          In one word, in no time, she’s converting from zero to hero. Without a clue except her parents’ opinions, those parents whom had learned exactly what they taught her…

Under those circumstances, no woman survives the marital shock, or the feeling that she’s carrying the weight of the world upon her shoulders.
Education in Egypt which is somehow described by Egyptians as open-minded, is still trapped in the old traditions while being exposed to many attracting ideas and ways of life due to the unlimited access to the western world. Somehow, Egyptians desire to be free, yet they fear change and thus, they still teach their children, us, to burry ourselves under layers of the dust of the ancient Egyptian traditions.
This generation, which is still ours, is torn between what we’ve been taught in the past and what we’re exposed to in the present and also what we should teach our own children to face the future. Which way do we go?

Even though many Egyptians are aware of their marital problems and how strongly related they are to the old traditions, they are still in denial that those traditions – such as preventing relationships between boys and girls, women and men – are the main roots to the problems they could have spared just by abandoning those traditions.
Never had I encouraged girls to have sex before marriage or to turn into cheap pieces of meat available to every teenager, however, I do encourage parents to teach their daughters how to deal with boys, how to take care of themselves and to give them the freedom to try to live in the light, to make mistakes to learn and to seek advice from the right people, instead of doing it all on their own, in the dark and to finally learn it the hard way.

Parental guidance needs to open its doors in ALL fields to children including relationships between boys and girls. Let them learn, let them know what to expect instead of hiding them and over protecting them to finally watch them crying in shock and fear once they grow old enough to start living their lives on their own.

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