Watching and listening to the events in Egypt unfold last week, I was struck by a number of things. That is, after the my emotions subsided, although they still have not. I am so moved by what happened, and it keeps me feeling quite happy about the world. I hope this lasts.
It was amazing that they achieved what they did with non-violence. And they did so with all of their population. All classes, religions, generations and both genders. Within that, I read and saw that women of all ages were there in Tahrir square. They didn’t battle about whose feminism was correct, they were there together in an effort to gain their freedom. I heard an interview on WNYC with the Egyptian feminist, Nawar El Saadawi, where she pointed this out. I am paraphrasing, but she said that she as an older woman was learning from the younger women. And that the younger women were learning from the older generation.
Why can’t we do that? Some media loves conflict, and pits us women against each other for news stories. And in the constant search for “the new,” we cast out what we have learned from past generations. Older generations cling to what they think is right, not looking beyond media characterizations of youth, not listening to the nuance of new voices. We all want the same thing: freedom for women. There are many ways to achieve that and the more voices we include, and listen to each other and not to sensational media, the greater our chance of achieving it. American women would do well to listen to women from other countries, hear their stories. It would only enrich our efforts to understand that their lives–while being on the surface are very different from ours–can tell us so much.
Don’t get me wrong, I am a fan of pop-culture, although I try to avoid stories about Mr. Sheen. It’s just too easy to get sucked in and take the bait hook, line and sinker. We need an uprising against our media. I’ll bring the popcorn. And the laughs.