Thursday, April 23, 2009

The $1,000,000 question …How many genders are out there?

All my life I knew that there were two genders; male and female, apparently however I was totally wrong and ignorant.

According to there are 16 types of genders that you have to choose from when creating your profile.

1- Guy

2- Girl

3- Dude

4- Lady

5- Fellow

6- Bird (Birdy Egg from Nest Ville – Oak land, signing up to Digg)

7- Chap

8- Grrrl

9- Gentleman

10- Damsel

11- Beau

12- Belle

13- Male

14- Female

15- Transgender

16- None of the above (Aliens who want to Digg)

See how ignorant I was =)

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Funky Arab… Are we indeed?!

I have watched lately Jad Choueiri’s video Funky Arab, I read the comments on Youtube, face book and listen to people at the office arguing about it. To be honest when I first saw the video I was totally shocked. One of my colleagues said "I understand your shock but at least he is out there trying to do something to change how people, especially in the west, perceive Arab."

As an Arab, I for once am totally against labeling Arab as angry bearded men or women covered in black, but the question here is do I want to be labeled in the way Jad reflected in his video?!

I honestly don’t think that what Jad reflected has anything to do with how the Arab or funky Arab looks. I didn’t know that being funky meant wearing bikini, botox injecting my face, smoking and dancing around like a B***h, or wearing sunglasses at night and chains all around my neck. Is this really the kind of image I want people to perceive Arab as!

Some of the comments on Youtube accused those against the video of being uptight, shallow and illiterate. Well, like it or not people as Arab we have our traditions, heritage and customs, and it makes me sad to be accused of these things just for being proud of my traditions. I am sure by now you can guess that I am against this video.

To be fair there are some people who live and act the same way Jad reflects in his video and there are some Arab who fits the angry bearded man profile. However, between those few "somes", there is the majority; millions of Arab who are moderate, simple, smart and educated, Arab who are reasonable and not extremists. From this majority comes; my family, my friends, my colleagues, my neighbors and the people who live in my street and those I met in college. Why there is no one trying to reflect those Arab.

I don’t want to be labeled terrorist and I don’t want to be labeled B***h. I want to be labeled the way I am … a normal moderate human being like the millions who live on the rest of the planet.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Why do I confuse you?!

I have recently watched this amazing video The Happy Muslims Who Confuse You,by syndicated columnist Mona Eltahway, talking about Muslims stereotypes and how they are seen by media. The image you get about Muslims especially in the West is angry bearded men and women covered in black that are almost invisible in every way. Watching the video I realized that I too am judged based upon this stereotype image.

I am a moderate Muslim woman, I wear the hijab; I am not covered in black, but I have a scarf on my head and I wear ordinary skirts, pants and dresses with long sleeves and I work in PR. I never thought that being the way I am would confuse people till one day when I was having a cup of coffee with a journalist and he said “I don’t think you are wearing the hijab because you are convinced of it.” When I asked why would he think that he answered “because you are so open minded!!” The answer really shocked me!

Does being a Muslim woman in a hijab means I should be close minded! Does it mean I should stay at home with no career ambition or opinion about anything! Is having a career and socializing with people while wearing the hjab confuses people?

Islam has always been about moderation, whether in cloth, opinions, or behaviors. I have been wearing the hijab for the past 13 years and it has never hindered me in anyway.

I graduated from college, worked in media for 6 years and now in PR. I listen to music, read poetry and attend concerts like any normal moderate human being.

I discuss politics and literature and I attend conferences, exhibition and socialize with my colleagues and acquaintances like any normal moderate human being.

So why do I confuse people? For the same reason Mona mentioned; the way media reflects our image as Muslims. People are used to seeing the black bearded angry men and the women in black. True that those people do exist but believe me they are not the majority of Muslims.

I hope that more moderate Muslim men and women like Mona and the happy Pakistani in the video would help change people’s perceptions and end the well known Muslims stereotypes.

And I hope that the day will come when I don’t confuse you anymore!