Segment 1 of 4: woman, women, woah man.

In recognition of International Women’s day, and all the associated feels, I am reflecting on the importance of women in my life, how women are involved in my life, how women interact with each other and probably much more.



As I get older, I find myself yearning for deeper relationships with women around me. Women have so much power and strength.  There can also be so much tension between women. Mostly recently, I have been conflicted with the concept of feminism–what it means, what it means to me and who it is for (then I came across the concept of inter-sectional feminism and my Facebook comments got lit.)


I moved to US from Saudi Arabia. When I came to America in 2005, my first desire was to set my tits free. I went to Forever21(finally!) and found a top that would serve as a non-verbal proclamation of my freedom in this new found, liberal, accepting society. I felt so empowered. No one could tell me what to wear, no one would judge me for showing ‘too much skin’.


That didn’t happen. I received enough judgmental looks to feel very uncomfortable in my own skin (again).  Isn’t that what America was about? Why were women giving me these looks? I expected it from men…but not women…Maybe I was doing it wrong.

I tried to strike a balance between showing some skin and being covered. For example, a group of college women and I went to a lake. I wore a sleeveless top (first time!) and a skirt that fell below my knees. “Why is your skirt so long? You know you’re not in Saudi Arabia anymore”.

How did that work? Tits out and I got disapproving stares. Attempt to strike a balance and I’m encouraged to be less conservative.

Fast forward a decade and some change and here is what I think I have learned and a question or two that I may have:

  1. White feminism is an actual thing and it is dangerous. DANGEROUS.
  2. Feminism is more than reproductive rights and equal pay.
  3. Black women are paid 63 cents for every dollar white men earn. For white women, it’s 78 cents. Write that on a poster.
  4. Black women and black girls are overly sexualized and this can be traced back to slavery and the treatment of black women and girls during slavery.
  5. Related to 4: If historical references are triggers for you because you think that we should “move forward”, “get along” you won’t get any sympathy from me.
  6. I am a conservative dresser. This is not because I lived in Saudi Arabia, it is just who I am. Once I accepted myself, I dressed for myself and no one else.
  7. There is absolutely no correlation between clothes and morality, or purity or anything else. Have you seen a witch in shorts ? —Ya.
  8. It is important to build deep relationships with women from all walks of life.
  9. It is dangerous to be offended by someone’s offense to the offensive comment you made. Stop that.
  10. Those shirts/posters/paraphernalia that say, “The future is female”–what does that mean? Who does that include? Who does that exclude? Think about it.
  11. You won’t find me praising Susan B. Anthony. Not here for it.
  12. I do not like being called a lady. Get away from me with your social prescriptions.
  13. If I ask you if you are a feminist and you tell me that you prefer ‘humanist’, I will verbally execute you.
  14. Politics is human. If you can put politics aside, acknowledge that as privilege.
  15. I need to better equip myself with the vocabulary to better advocate around LGBTQ issues.



Social media triggers: God, feminism & bible thumpers

In a recent conversation with my father, I shared that I “wanted more control in my relationship”. My daddy responded that as woman, I would not have a happy relationship if I was in control and that to have a happy relationship, I would have to submit to my husband.

Before all your red flags go up, my father is a 73 year old two-time ivy leaguer who has overcome tremendous adversity, and in doing so, has ensured none of his children would experience the hardships he did. I have a lot of respect for my father (my parents).

I wasn’t offended by his comment, firstly because he either misunderstood my desire or I failed to adequately express it. “I want to be in control in my relationship”. I do not want the status of my relationship to be subject to the tides of my emotions. I want to place my relationship on a pedestal not a merry-go-round, and to the extent that I can control this, achieve stability, I would very much like that. We would very much like that.

I didn’t think about my father’s comment again. After his response, I offered more details as to what I meant, and our conversation took a different turn. But I found myself reflecting on his comments  later on when I was doing a google search on variants of the question what does the bible say about x, y, z? 

Why should I be subject to my husband? And if I were, how would if affect (or not) my identity as a feminist? It’s amazing how much confusion surrounds this word, it embodies such an elegantly simple concept. There are more serious definitions, but I found Urban Dictionary’s definition to be humorous in the sense that it sheds light on the strange misconceptions and stereotypes related to being feminist : Someone who believes the radical notion that women are people. If you believe that women and men should have equal rights, you are a feminist.

Before  I continue, I must begin with a warning and if necessary, an apology, as I have only recently wondered about the contents of the bible. Well, I don’t think I’m given myself enough credit; let’s try again. I have recently decided to be responsible for ‘finding the light’ instead of being disappointed in someone else’s inability to find it for me. If I misinterpret this, please accept me as a novice, and find a way to correct me without being discouraging.

So, I was doing my search. I stumbled upon 1 Timothy 2 11:14 :

11 A woman should learn in quietness and full submission. 12 I do not permit a woman to teach or to assume authority over a man;[b] she must be quiet. 13 For Adam was formed first, then Eve. 14 And Adam was not the one deceived; it was the woman who was deceived and became a sinner.

When I read this, I smiled, so this is where they get it from. I was enjoying my random searches till now. But something said to me, read on.

If anyone aspires to the office of overseer, he desires a noble task. Therefore an overseer[a] must be above reproach, the husband of one wife,[b] sober-minded, self-controlled, respectable, hospitable, able to teach, not a drunkard, not violent but gentle, not quarrelsome, not a lover of money. He must manage his own household well, with all dignity keeping his children submissive, for if someone does not know how to manage his own household, how will he care for God’s church? He must not be a recent convert, or he may become puffed up with conceit and fall into the condemnation of the devil. Moreover, he must be well thought of by outsiders, so that he may not fall into disgrace, into a snare of the devil.

If my dad had said, “don’t submit to a man who does not himself submit to God” I don’t think I would have thought anything of it. I would have easily agreed–without hesitation or thought. And i think this is what he meant because my parents didn’t raise me to blindly submit, if at all.

Let’s see if I can work this out: If God created me as an individual, and if He wants me to hold myself in the highest regard, respect myself, walk with my head high ( …and maybe also adorn myself in respectable apparel, with modesty, and not with braided hair and gold or pears)…and if my husband himself is above reproach, self-controlled, respectable, not violent but gentle, not quarrelsome, managed his household well…would it be such a horrible thing to submit to him? Could my submission to my husband be an extension of my submission to God? Would this not be similar to the Transitive Property of Equality we learn in 3rd grade?

If my husband submits to God and I submit to God, isn’t that submission to my husband by way of God? And I don’t even think that there needs to be any explicit statement of my husband submitting me, because firstly, I think it’s divinely implied, secondly he would be submitting to a far greater power–a power that has plans to prosper me, and not harm me, plans to give me hope and a future (Jeremiah 29:11).

It doesn’t sound nearly as uncomfortable this way. If I think of all the things that made me uncomfortable about “submitting to a man”, if my husband and I both submit to God , then I think my concerns are removed. My husband wouldn’t speak ill of me, he would respect me, he wouldn’t strike me, he would firmly believe that I am God’s masterpiece, and he would  be blessed to be able to treasure me even half as much as God.

Did I do it right?