“Cut your wings” by Leila Ali from Tunisia

13495266_10210391139721927_6275868883339654424_nIt wasn’t said to me, not straight and harsh like that, but it was said indirectly and slowly with time.  It was said in words that took the mask of advice even though they seemed more like threats and an abuse of power.

It was one of many selfish attempts that humans used to make me feel small about myself : women? Because they only know that.  Men? Because they can use women like that. Girls ? Because they are vulnerably afraid. Boys ? Because we taught them, do this, do that.

« Cut your wings» : Girls stay at home when boys can hang out.

You just need to become familiar with that, because in the future you will need to take care of all the households alone, while men will just be men. They will have their masculine café talks. They will stretch their legs tiredly after coming back and ask you to bring them a glass of water because you have been home all day « doing nothing »

So, I did.

And because I was mad for the prison I was put in, under the crime of my gender, being born a girl, I stayed at home. While the boys were rolling their feet over the sand outside, I rolled my eyes over a thousand books, and I became my own emancipator, I was too excellent in my studies to spend the rest of my life at home.

« Cut your wings» : You made it out as a working woman, but good wives take care of households alone, and also of their husband’s needs. Men they get married to have an easier life, and women?  They get married because if they don’t they are a social failure. I felt threatened again, and I did.

But, I found myself obliged to choose between marriage, and a dream, marriage and my job, marriage and my happiness, marriage and my dignity…

« Cut your wings» : Good women listen to their husbands’ will, if they ask you to do something or forbid you from doing another ,you just listen and do it, and don’t ask too many questions, men do not like questions. But when they scream at your face late at night after getting drunk outside « why the f*ck there’s no dinner at the table ? » you have to answer, oh no, you have to get it done ! And quietly because good women are always quiet. So that’s what I did.

Until I found out he was flirting with some other woman the day he was screaming at my face, I wondered right then if it was that worth it ,being his kind of « quiet good woman »

« Cut your wings» : Good women don’t talk loud, and they shouldn’t be too opinionated , they should always let their ideas pass through male ears before you communicate them to society, because if they do it like that without asking for permission , it’s shocking and they may lose their femininity in the process. So I did,  and I was the quietest human you could ever know.

But to those buried, burning unspoken voices in me, my pen could not hold me back from writing, and drawing and screaming my thoughts out , my pen did not need somebody’s permission to write my thoughts on paper, why would my voice need somebody’s permission to be spoken ?

« Cut your wings» : teach your girls not to trust men, and teach your boys how to become unworthy of that trust, teach your girls fear, and teach your boys violence, and then if your girl gets emancipated from all that social labels and bullshit, if she decides to get out unafraid, and speak for herself call her a « man » to protect her image among men .

I was one, but every time they called me « man » I felt like they wanted to strip off my feminine identity with their ignorant heads, when relating my woman efforts and achievements to their gender.

« Don’t cut your wings» : be a woman, a feminist.

Every time you cut your own wings to please somebody else, you will only be hurting yourself , and killing yourself in small flames.

Be an emancipated one. A woman that does not need to be told what to do or what to wear or how to speak or what to think. Be one who deserves love, compassion, respect,  as well as sharing and caring like anybody else. No one needs to be told what is best for them, they can figure that out for themselves if you provide them with what they need to grow their passions and their intellect.

« Grow your wings » Be independent, but also respectful and loving, lay your beautiful long wings on tomorrow’s youth , fill them with warmth , hope and loving, and teach them all the right things that you did not have a chance to experience.

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