For women who have good jobs and work really hard, it’s a question of ‘do you want to take five steps backwards by getting married and being relegated to doing all the chores without this correct equity in the marriage?
. “Our stories are universal,” says Cadar. “So we want to create an international community where we can have real talks and be inspired by one another”. She stressed that as Africans, black women inherited the art of storytelling from their ancestors, so the digital sisterhood is tapping into the incredible power of storytelling to change lives.
We have explained why “Why were you out so late?” and “what were you wearing?” are problematic responses to cases of violence. It communicates that women should be held responsible for their own safety and blamed when things go wrong. But have we ever considered that even well-intentioned instructions to “be careful” and “take precautions” can be energy-sapping and exhausting?
The way women are treated across the Muslim world; the way sons see their fathers dominate their mothers, and the way scholars and imams regurgitate age-old ideas of women’s positions in life are all things that not only need unlearning but clear accessible actions.
The pick-me attitude is both dangerous and deserving of compassion; dangerous because it is damaging to our collective existence as women and deserving of compassion because this game is unempowering even to the women who signal their virtues as distinct from the rest.
We want to (rightfully) debate and critique Islamophobic establishments that bar our sisters from their rights to wear hijab. However, we will ignore the epidemic of the rising “spiritual leaders”, “scholars” and “holy men” in our communities who have been demonstrated to commit various forms of abuse against vulnerable women.
I acknowledge that once upon a time, our “aunties” were once Muslim girls, who unfortunately were subjected to the same experiences bedevilling young Muslim women of today. Due to the sexist structures put in place to uphold their oppression, they were unable to adequately navigate and dismantle their predicaments.
In the exercise of individual ‘choice’, ‘freedom’ and ‘agency’, this new image of the neoliberal female subject has become an autonomous consuming subject, for even while loving our bodies, we need to ask ourselves whether patriarchy and capitalism have a right to profit from it?
These couples all have such a wealth of knowledge and advice to share, I appreciated the opportunity to document their journey through life amidst the turbulence and the smooth sails. I really appreciated each of their candidness and brevity, it’s not easy to share the challenges in one relationship.
At some point in my sessions, I decided to show up only mindlessly, registering my displeasure by scowling and asking fewer questions. I reached this decision after the diminutive counsellor had said “Husbands forcing themselves on their wives is not rape”. I had afterwards asked him to define rape. He was angry at my audacity. He did not appreciate being questioned.