Mona Daoud delves deep into the campaign that asks men to tune out women to end sexual harassment, rather than encourage harassers to change their point of view.
Though Mat3abarhash, which roughly translates to 'Tune Her Out' started out in 2011 with honourable intentions as a campaign for bringing an end to sexual harassment against women, it has taken an unfortunate misogynistic twist. The campaign repeatedly claimed that they aim to defend all women regardless of how they dress, even taking a photo with a woman in a sleeveless top as well as a veiled woman to hammer their point through. However they seem to repeatedly have a jab at women who dress more liberally. We take a closer look at what the campaign is all about.
On 7 August, 2015 the group had to post the following when attacked by media and the public
1- We are against harassment not for it.
2- We criticise ideas not individuals
3- We protect girls and honour them, not oppress them
4- We do not belong to any group, party or organisation
5- We are self funded by those responsible for the campaign
6- You have all the right to free expression within decency
7-We seem harsh sometimes due to pressure and insults we are subjected to
The rest of the points they made were relevant to their plans and why they don’t answer e-mails, but there is one point worth mentioning…Point number 9, which says “the name ‘Mat3abrhash’ is not humiliating. It’s not humiliating. It’s not humiliating!”
They also shared this video below explaining why they chose the controversial name and why they don’t think it’s humiliating to women.
1- ايه حمله متعبرهاش واتعملت ازاي ؟ 2- ليه اختارنا أسم متعبرهاش ؟ 3- هل اسم متعبرهاش مهين للبنت ؟ 4- الرد علي الناس اللي بتهاجمنا . 5- ايه الخطوات العمليه في الفتره الجايه ..أعرف كل ده في خمس دقايق بس لو يهمك تعرف احنا مين .. ✌#حمله_متعبرهاشPosted by متعبرهاش - Mat3brhash on Monday, 3 August 2015
The fact that they constantly feel that they need to defend themselves, the name, and their intentions, signifies the fact that the campaign, in spite of its 143k likes on the Facebook Page, needs to have its strategy reconsidered.
Why would anyone vehemently oppose a campaign against sexual harassment? I understand that any campaign is subject to be the butt of some people’s jokes, or ignored by the masses, but to be opposed and hated on a large scale by journalists, intellectuals, and clearly sane people? That should raise a red flag right there.
We take a closer look at the campaign and why it raises such offense.
Problems with the campaign
First of all, they are not consistent in their statements. On the one hand, they claim that any woman, regardless of what she wears, should not be subjected to harassment. On the other hand, they constantly suggest that women are obliged by God and religion to dress in a certain way. Sometimes they follow these suggestions with a disclaimer that this is only advice, even though it is aggressively worded. In the post below they take it upon themselves to tell women to dress appropriately.
This brings me to my second point. The issue of harassment is a universal and secular one. Why bring divinity into it? No man of any kind should be allowed to harass a woman of any kind. Nationality, religion, and everything else you can think of are simply irrelevant. Their attempt at using religion to end harassment is a poor choice. In the world we live in today, and in the chaos of this city and the prevalent social and political injustice, religion simply doesn’t stand anymore. In spite of being labeled a Muslim country, we are not. Just because the majority call themselves Muslim, it would be foolish to remain in denial about the dissipating collective religious conscience. The population may still be holding on to all religious appearances, but its moral compass has gone completely out of whack. In other words, you cannot appeal to a religious conscience, when it does not exist.
The only solution is to reintroduce people to humanistic values, basic ethics, and universal moral codes and human rights not because religion said so, but because we must all live together in harmony in order to go on and be happy.
It is very wrong to assume that religious values are universally agreed upon. Religion is very subjective, and personal and attempting to hold a society together for longer than a few decades with it has proven to fail repeatedly over the span of history all over the world.
In the post below, the campaign aggressively and tastelessly addresses women who are more liberally dressed, and who do not believe in religion, that the religion which they ‘haughtily’ reject in the name of freedom is what saved them from being buried alive as girls as soon as they are born as was the custom in old Arabia.
Many things are wrong with this statement, apart from its vulgarity.
Just because a religion improved the lives of people in the 7th century, does not mean that anyone is obliged to be bound to that more than 2000 years later. It suffices to write it down in history and praise its merits to a time to which it was relevant.
Humanity evolves. It’s the way nature works. Values, traditions, and ideas, evolve year after year. The only things that should affect the way a person dresses in contemporary cities, are weather, comfort, and above all trumping the first two, personal preference. So if a woman wants to dress as they did in tribal desert cultures centuries ago, so be it as long as it is her preference. Equally, a woman who wants to dress much less than that indisputably has the right to do so without being condemned by anyone under the name of anything including religion itself.
It is that arrogant, chauvinistic pomposity with which the group makes its statements, that it is so repulsive to many, in spite of their initially good intentions that are slightly misguided. In the 'Milestones' section of their Facebook page the made an elaborate statement in 2014 directly referring to those who criticise them whether men or women as 'morally corrupt', calling the opposing men perverts, and the opposing women sluts.
What good is it to not be buried alive in dirt as a newborn girl only to be buried alive in clothes and covers and a patriarchal culture that covers a woman’s skin but strips her of her freedom to make her own choices in life? Men all over the world have dictated throughout history everything from laws, to history, to religion. Where are women’s voices and opinions on all this? To every woman named, a hundred men can be named. In the image they posted on their page, shown below, they endorse the message that what a woman wears is up to her father, and a man's manhood is decided by what his daughters wear.
Mat3brhash was started by a group of people, mainly men, who declared that their mission was to end harassment against women. Sadly, they fail to grasp the concept that harassment is entirely the offender’s fault and not in the slightest percentage can it be blamed on the victim. Although they defend to their last breath the provocative name of the campaign, they do not comprehend the impact of language on people. A word that has so many derogatory implications in our culture,and is only used in a negative context, as they very well know, should never have been used. The word, in this campaign’s context, implies that women are provocative and men would do good to simply ignore them, regardless of the way she is dressed. This takes away the focus from the main problem, that offenders are ethically challenged individuals who have no respect for women’s individuality and rights to exist wholly and peacefully without being harassed, and instead stating that women’s inevitable tendencies to provoke should be ignored by good men. It is a careless choice of word which takes women’s rights’ movements a thousand steps backwards and showcases the prevailing chauvinistic mentality, which happens to belong to those who mean to do good. It only leaves space to wonder what they would have done if they intended harm