March 8, as we all know, is International Women’s Day--the 107th, to be exact! Contrary to popular belief, many people of the Middle East do recognize the occasion, and social media was there, as always, to prove it. But, what were people tweeting about in the region?
Let’s take a look:
Regional news agencies like the Middle East Monitor chose to highlight a saddening statistic about the state of Palestinian women:
Among Arabic speakers, this woman gave a shout-out to all the ladies, using the Arabic hashtag for the occasion:
This user referenced the chorus to a Beyoncé song about who’s really in charge (girls!), also using the Arabic hashtag:
?Who run the world #اليوم_العالمي_للمراه— Hattan Alhabshan (@Hattan17) March 8, 2017
Then there was this woman who, in an intense tweet, defied the creation narrative of the three major monotheistic religions in the Middle East (and the world):
#اليوم_العالمي_للمراه— سارة (@saraa201221) March 8, 2017
- Woman doesn't emerge from a man's ribs, not ever, it's he who emerges from her womb
Finally, check out the Kurdish female fighting force's statement in honor of the occassion. Naturally, there is lots of rhetoric about the Kurdish state, but the main highlights are that all women must be free, that we must combat the patriarchy and overly-male mentalities, and that they (the female Kurds) are going to fight until their goals are realized. Talk about female empowerment!
While it is important to call out oppression of women when it arises, as the YPJ did in its statement, we must also recognize that being from the region, or being Muslim, is not synonymous to being a doormat. Middle Eastern and Muslim women are just as innovative as anyone else, are bolder than ever, and have been challenging traditional ideas about women for a very long time. Let's not forget it.
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