Friday, July 18, 2008

Equal Opportunity Harassment on the Streets of Cairo

Aha! I feel somehow vindicated. Is that the right word for this? I don't know.

In the year 2000 I visited Cairo, and although I fell in love with many things about Egyptian culture, the inescapable sexual harassment on the streets of its capital city was not one of them.

I got catcalls, whistling, and gawking from males between the ages of 10 and 80. Within the first few days I decided to buy a galabeya to go with the headscarf I carried in my purse already.

BTW, women in Cairo are not all veiled. Many many of them are unveiled, so it's not like I stood out or was breaking any laws. By wearing more conservative clothes I blended in even more. But did the horny bastards leave me alone? Hell no.

Over the years I've been told it may have been my "western ways" or something about my habit of wearing pants--pants that were quite loose ones, mind you, and often covered with the galabeya I just mentioned.

Today, my friend Sara sends me an article entitled Two-thirds of Egyptian Men Harass Women?, and guess what... the complaints come from both international and local women!

That's right, those pigs bug the crap out of all the women that cross their path, western or otherwise.

Now, to be fair, I also met a couple of scholars, a restaurant owner, two waiters, four male hotel staff members, one internet cafe attendant, and a taxi driver who were perfect gentlemen. The restaurant manager was so much so, he was absolutely charming in the way only men in black and white movies usually are.

Too bad so many of the very vocal cretans with zero self control are roaming loose on the street.


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