Local jewellery designer Jude Benhalim has just launched an empowering campaign for Valentine’s Day that encourages women to love themselves and to be confident in their majestic solitude.
“All the women! Who are independent! Throw your hands up at me! All the honeys! Who makin' money! Throw your hands up at me!” yell Destiny’s Child, as they kick ninja ass while floating in the air.
No matter how many times Destiny’s Child sang about independent women, much of the female population around the world, and in Egypt, still faces institutional sexism and societal pressures that almost coerce them to carry out their lives in a certain way, just because they are females. Women are more often than not encouraged to be maternal, to become good cooks, and to be kind of successful – but not too successful because that’s the man’s role. Encouraging women to free themselves from these societal constraints is jewellery goddess Jude Benhalim, who collaborated with local fashion blogger Radwa El Ziki, bringing us the Love Yourself campaign this Valentine’s Day.
The campaign tackles the common sayings thrown at young women that encourage them to aspire to marriage, and to be the best wife ever because you have to please your man. Words like, "3o2balek" (hoping for you get married soon), "3ayzen nefra7 beky" (we want to celebrate [your marriage] with you), and Hayfotek el atr (you’re going to miss [the marriage] train), are often directed at them, as if that’s all they’re useful for.
“It sounds funny and humorous to most people, and they laugh it off. But when you think about it, it puts a lot of pressure on girls,” Benhalim tells us, “Like they can’t be fully content and complete without that piece of the puzzle."
With Valentine’s Day being a common day for girls to rely on others to make them feel loved, Benhalim is telling them that it’s okay to be alone and that it’s okay to be confident in your solitude. Having come from a family that is supportive of her education and career, Benhalim ultimately wants to “inspire others to consider the most important things to them, before relying on a guy to sweep them off their feet.”
To take part in raising awareness through the Love Yourself campaign, you can take a photo of yourself wearing your favourite Jude Benhalim piece of jewellery and upload it to Instagram using the hash tag #JudeWithLove. The picture that gets the most likes will win a Jude Benhalim bestseller, wrapped in gorgeous Valentine’s Day paper. Feminists, unite!