Cover your ears, hide your children and make sure your mum doesn't get a hold of this... Sally Sampson blows off some steam and it's overflowing with swear words.
As you know, I’m a woman.
And I know, like Lady Gaga, it’s been called into question at times, but I promise, all my lady parts are intact. Aside from having a vagina though, thanks to Egyptian society, I am constantly being reminded of the fact that I have a vagina. I mean I don’t know why I’m being reminded constantly that I have a vagina; I’m not suffering from Alzheimer’s or any other disease that is eating away at my memory to the point where I don’t even know what gender I am anymore.
You may have become desensitizsed to it, but regardless of your sex, you know what I mean! Particularly, if you’re a woman in Egyptian society, you will have heard this phrase hurled at you often, at the strangest of times and by the most unsuspecting of people.
‘Mayenfa3sh…enty bent!’ (Translation: ‘You can’t do that. You’re a girl!’)
Thanks for that, numb-nuts! Not only have you taken the time to state the bleeding obvious, but you’ve also put me in a box and taken it upon yourself to tell me (like I give a shit) what you think I can do or can’t do. You may not be able to hold an erection, but you don’t see me bringing that up or alluding to your penis every 30 seconds, do you?
Okay, this isn’t a ‘men versus women’ thing, by the way. I just want to take a moment to emphasise that (as usual), for that one guy surfing the internet looking for reasons to be like ‘FUCK THOSE FEMINISTS!’, I’m attacking what I believe to be an irrational, impractical and fundamentally prejudiced cultural norm adopted by both men and women!
According to this way of thinking (which classifies everything in life according to gender as opposed to actual ability, because that makes a whole lot of sense), I can’t drive, I can’t wear what I want, I can’t say what’s on my mind… In fact, I can barely wipe my own ass in the privacy of my own bathroom without someone jumping out from behind the shower-curtain to tell me what to do.
And whilst I’m notorious for not giving a shit, nothing fucks me off more than people telling me I can’t swear because ‘I’m a girl!’ WHAT? When did that become a male-only privilege? Why can’t I say fuck, motherfucker, shit, goddam, fuckballs, asshole, bitch, dickhead and fuckface, without being looked at like I am a street-walking Jezebel???!!!
You know it’s true! There is an association there; in fact, there is a direct correlation in people’s minds between swearing and immoral sexual activity. When I say ‘dick’, people assume that I’ve previously signed up and taken the full tutorial and orientation session. When I say ‘fuck’, the assumption is that I am on the prowl for sexual partners and that I’m steadily mastering my way through a copy of Kama Sutra, the dirty whore edition. When I say ‘hey, read my BITCH articles on CairoScene,’ people look at me and don’t understand how a nice, ‘respectable’ girl, like me, can call herself a bitch, of all things?
My mother actually isn’t speaking to me at the moment because, in an argument with my sister, I might have blurted something out along the lines of “her mother’s cunt” and “whore”… In Arabic. My sister hit me in the head with her fucking iPhone, but that, of course, wasn’t as terrible as the neighbours knowing that I know what Arabic swearwords are in circulation.
Swearing in Arabic …. That’s another line you have to be very careful when crossing as well, as a girl!
If swearing in English makes people think that a woman is a prostitute, well swearing in Arabic is the fucking stamp of approval. It is all the confirmation anyone needs to point their fingers in disdain and stone you to death!
I just find it pathetic. You may be able to get away with ‘whore’, but you can’t say ‘sharmuta’, even though it means the same fucking thing!
The thing is, I know, for a fact, that there are those reading this piece who are literally so uncomfortable with me having written ‘sharmuta’ just then, that they will feel the need to hide the screen, the same way they do when they’re trying to hide porn.
Because if a guy had written this piece, fair enough. But because I have a vagina, it’s another level of explicit! I’m not supposed to be vulgar or crude. I’m not supposed to know these words, never mind speak them. My mother looked at me yesterday and screamed, “If your grandmother were alive and she had heard the things you say, she would’ve taken off her slipper and hit you in the face with it!”
I get it…It’s considered impolite and of course, there is a time and a place for everything, but surely, societal codes of conduct should apply to everyone equally! There shouldn’t be a certain lee-way granted to specific persons by virtue of their genitalia! I mean, why are we cutting slack for the dude, jumping out of his car screaming “A7A!!!’”at the microbus driver when the thought of a woman doing the same thing is enough to send tremors and mini-convulsions shooting through our bodies?
And BY THE WAY, I like the word A7A! In fact, I fucking LOVE IT! In Arabic, NOTHING, in my opinion, is more expressive of frustration!
When that car cuts you off: A7A!
When the prices go up: A7A!
When the President goes on live television and publicly scratches his balls: A7A, A7A, A7A!
Why can’t I say A7A when someone fucks me off? Why do men get rights to that word in Egypt, without sharing that privilege with women who have just as much of a reason to let off steam?! Why must we be eloquent and recite sonnets when we’re aggravated by something or someone?
I don’t have time or patience when a car cuts me off to be like, “Truly, kind sir, you have indeed wronged me. For your ways are an abomination of sorts to the overall order that has been set in stone before the foundation of our civilisation to ensure that we may co-exist harmoniously together!”
NO! I’m gonna scream: “A7A! FUCK YOU, MOTHERFUCKER!” and then it’ll be over and out of my system. To try to channel my inner Jane Austen, however, when I’m about to ‘bust a cap in someone’s ass’ as 50 Cent, 2Pac, Snoop Lion (formerly known as Dog) and all my other ‘homies’ would say, is almost criminal!
You don’t have to swear, but you cannot take away from me my right to swear and judge me if I do! That’s not fair. You cannot say that it undermines my intelligence, my respectability or my virtue just because I express myself differently or because I have the balls to speak my mind no matter where I am. I’m not going to whisper profanities under my breath and then smile, when the attention turns to me, in order to pretend that I am a good, respectable, girl that should be sainted! And it’s not like the more curse words I know, the less of a vocabulary I have… So what’s the big deal?
Stephen Fry, one of the most intelligent men in the world, and one of my top ten people to meet before I die, speaks very eloquently and pointedly on the matter:
“The sort of twee person who thinks swearing is in any way a sign of a lack of education or a lack of verbal interest is just a fucking lunatic.”
Yes, Mr. Fry I do believe I absolutely one-hundred fucking percent agree with the shrewd point you make.
A7A….oh I’m not disagreeing with myself! That one was just for good luck!