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Wanted: Real Men!

Tamer Hosny's latest release - featuring none other than Snoop Dogg/Lion/Whatever - has Sally Sampson all hot and bothered. And not in a good way. Our resident Bitch discusses misogyny in music and beyond...

My blood is boiling! And I mean boiling to the point that I’m pretty sure I’m surrounded by a haze of reddish mist, where my blood has evaporated into the atmosphere. If I was a cup of coffee, I would come with a pair of tongs and a warning label that reads: FUCKING HOT (and no, I don’t mean that kind of hot). I’m also pretty sure if we went back in time to when Peter Jackson was casting the Lord of the Rings, he would’ve saved a lot of money on CGI and cast me instead as Mount Doom, the big fucking volcano in the middle of Mordor that is constantly spewing lava and fireballs casually onto Orcs and Hobbits alike. (Lord of the Rings geeks will know what I’m talking about…)

And I know what you’re thinking: ‘You’re far too young to be going through menopause, so what in the name of all that is good and holy is wrong with you now’?

Well a lot of things, but mostly, I am appalled after recently being unintentionally exposed to Tamer Hosny’s song Si El Sayed in collaboration with Snoop Lion (formerly of the Dogg clan)! I don’t know how long the song’s been out, but for me, it’s been like having high doses of radiation introduced into my body by way of my anus. The song should seriously be locked up in a cell with the world’s nuclear weapons, and be destroyed, so no human being can be subjected to its horrors ever again. And throw twerking in there for good measure as well!

By the way, ‘Si El Sayed’ is an Egyptian cultural reference which alludes to an alpha-male (the word ‘elsayed’ in Arabic literally means ‘the master’), in case you’re not familiar with the terminology. A ‘Si El Sayed’ is a man whose word is law, who is fierce and who does not share the spotlight, especially not with ‘helpless, inferior’ women, who are expected to follow his instructions and who selflessly cater to his every need and whim!

Now, it’s no secret that I’m a feminist (and a BIG one at that!) and so it makes sense that I would be horrified and enormously offended by Tamer Hosny choosing to proudly sing about how wonderful it is to be a ‘Si El Sayed’ along with Snoop Lion, who also intently signed up for a big fat fucking slice of patriarchy pie!

But I am mortified to say that that’s not even the worst part of it!

Here’s the fucking cherry on top: this song actually shamelessly breaks down what it is to be a ‘Si El Sayed’ for all ‘Si El Sayed’ hopefuls and applicants. Oh yes, boys…just in case you weren’t sure how to be huge fucking douche-bags that no woman in her right mind would approach,  a solution has hereby presented itself! Yes, the rumours are true and you have two of the greatest trailblazers of our time to thank, for they have come together and collaborated on a fail-safe how-to manual just for you! And though their Si El Sayed Guide for Dummies may be fail-safe, judging by the two beacons of hope and masculinity singing the song, I just want to point out as a disclaimer (in case it wasn’t immediately obvious), that it doesn’t appear to be entirely foolproof!

Now don’t just take it from me. After all I’m not one to impose her opinion on anyone, so judge for yourself! You can listen to the song, if you think you are mentally sound enough to take Snoop introducing Tamer as a hero and affirming that there is only one man of the house, baby, be my guest. However, if you are of a more delicate demeanour and are afraid to risk your mental wellbeing (and I don’t blame you!), here are some of the lyrics, bits of which I’ve taken it upon myself, with the assistance of a couple of migraine pills, to translate:

TAMER: 

These words are for you and for any woman

That may try to eliminate the difference between a man and a woman.

No, my darling, there are differences.

Your insistence on comparing the two of us makes you

Lose your femininity to me.

Don’t you remember the word ‘7ader’ (the Arabic word for ‘yes’ in response to an order/request)

I’m the one who says what you should do

What I say, you follow

Like for example, my darling,

What you should or should not wear.

My life, don’t you dare let me find you coming back home

Late to me one day!

Otherwise you understand what’s going to happen and

Of course, you know the rest.

Ah, I’m Si El Sayed, and I have the final say

Ah I’m Si El Sayed

If you don’t like what I’m saying, then leave.

Then Snoop chimes in like an unwanted guest at a funeral:

SNOOP:

I’m the hero, the man

The head of the castle

No misunderstandings and no types of hassle

All agreed by

The one you will be by

The only way is my way

So follow my lead….

I had to stop translating at this point because my brain was bleeding and I thought (no joke) that I was going to die. In fact, in the middle of me cursing and swearing in every language I could think of, my very Egyptian mother, who believes very much in tradition and cultural norms, walked in to the room to see if it was finally time to check me in to a psych ward, inadvertently heard about 20 seconds of the song, looked at me in disgust and said “I don’t want to listen to this shit!” and promptly slammed the door behind her. And I understand where she was coming from; I couldn’t wait to turn the song off either.

In that one bit that I got to translate before I began to froth at the mouth, women were called unfeminine for striving for equality, they were instructed to be obedient in order to be agreeable, and they were threatened with ‘consequences’ should they break the so-called rules set in place by the man of the house. I don’t know about you, but to me, the whole thing reads like a really sick fucked up prank.

But, of course, it’s not a prank and, putting sarcasm aside, that’s truly the most distressing part of all of this. Unfortunately this song does reflect the views of many men, in Egypt and in many other countries worldwide, in terms of what they think a woman’s place is and how it is she should be treated. Sadly, a man’s manhood and his masculinity are still very much tied to how much control he has over his wife, girlfriend, fiancée, sister etc.

And in a world where domestic violence is still so rampant, where rape and abuse occurs in the most startling of places and where women continue to suffer in silence at the mercy of those who would deny them a voice, I cannot understand how anyone can be allowed to get away with so demeaning a song.

I wish there were more songs about men embracing strong women who speak their minds and who have a will of their own. I wish that men would no longer feel threatened or emasculated by a woman rising to her full potential and having a voice. I yearn for the day where a man’s masculinity is derived from how he empowers and nurtures the women around him, and not from the way he can exert himself over them using power, force or anything else. And I pray for the day when people will stop trying to list all the reasons men and women are different and focus instead on the love that binds us to each another.

Ultimately, I pray for more male feminists, because feminism is not a women’s only club. I say ‘more’, because I know there are many men who are feminists already and who will have heard this song and felt just as insulted and humiliated as me by the message being conveyed and by the ridiculousness of ‘Si El Sayed’ and everything he represents.  

In my opinion, Si El Sayed is not a man, he is not a hero and he is not a king… He is a coward, a bully and a dying breed! I know real men and they are an amazing sight to behold; Si El Sayed is definitely not it! As Cynthia Heimel, the playwright, once said: “All men are not slimy warthogs. Some men are silly giraffes, some woebegone puppies, some insecure frogs. But if one is not careful, those slimy warthogs can ruin it for all the others.”

What’s a real man? Maybe this can help clear that up for you. Man Prayer, a beautiful poem by Eve Ensler, one of my favourite women and activists in the world. 

I think that says it all.

Tamer Hosny, Snoop Lion, (Dogg, Cat or whatever the hell you want to be called next) and Si El Fucking Sayed… I don’t even have the energy to come up with something witty or sarcastic to say to you so…

Whatever. When you decide to sign up to be real men, let me know! Pfff!