February 1, 2011 Jezebel: “Women on Egypt’s Street, While an Eight-Year-Old Explains it All”
By Irin Carmon
Originally posted at Jezebel, February 1, 2011
Organizers estimate that more women have been turning out to protest in Egypt than in past actions. And women are also prominent at the movement’s fore. Meanwhile, an eight-year-old girl in Saudi Arabia breaks it down for Mubarak.
In the video above, which has been making the rounds, “Juju” cheerfully tells Mubarak that his own police force is taking off their uniforms to join the protests.
A young woman in a different sort of video has also played a role in the story, this time in galvanizing protests, The New York Times reports today. Asmaa Mahfouz posted a video two weeks ago (Arabic speakers, your assistance in locating it please! Email me) saying she would go out in the streets and protest. She also says, “As long as you say there is no hope, then there will be no hope, but if you go down and take a stance, then there will be hope.” According to The Times,
When Ms. Mahfouz posted this bold video, she said she worried about the reaction that it might generate in a society that expected women to behave in a more subdued and reserved manner.
“I felt that doing this video may be too big a step for me, but then I thought: For how much longer will I continue to be afraid and hesitant? I had to do something,” Ms. Mahfouz said.
Her friend also told The Times, “The fact that a woman was able to do this made the men feel challenged, and they wanted to do the same.”
Jenna Krajeski reported from Cairo last week that not only do women feel more comfortable joining these protests than past anti-government actions, they’re also taking an active role, including longtime activist Esraa Abdel Fattah. Previously, she writes, they were reluctant: “Protests have a reputation for being dangerous for Egyptian women, whose common struggle as objects of sexual harassment is exacerbated in the congested, male-dominated crowd.” Also, women haven’t felt engaged by the platforms of the major opposition parties. But this time is different: Everyone is fed up.