Tag Archives: women in the middle east

The Invention of Women

When the extraordinary is ordinary, it is worth celebrating (and vice versa). All week and in the spirit of the #InternationalWomensDay, I’ve made a more conscious effort to read through articles and watch videos about women achievers who have changed the world (my favourite was computer scientist Margaret Hamilton who discovered the code which got us to the moon), but I had to share this specific 1980 read from one of the very influential authors of my generation (and a Salman Rushdie inspiration), Ursula K. Le Guin who has in her essay “Introducing Myself” explored the complexity of what gender means with great eloquence. Below is an excerpt of her essay, and one that resonated with the man and woman in me.


– photo courtesy of AFFOB –

“I am a man. Now you may think I’ve made some kind of silly mistake about gender, or maybe that I’m trying to fool you, because my first name ends in a, and I own three bras, and I’ve been pregnant five times, and other things like that that you might have noticed, little details. But details don’t matter… I predate the invention of women by decades. Well, if you insist on pedantic accuracy, women have been invented several times in widely varying localities, but the inventors just didn’t know how to sell the product. Their distribution techniques were rudimentary and their market research was nil, and so of course the concept just didn’t get off the ground. Even with a genius behind it an invention has to find its market, and it seemed like for a long time the idea of women just didn’t make it to the bottom line. Models like the Austen and the Brontë were too complicated, and people just laughed at the Suffragette, and the Woolf was way too far ahead of its time.”

More of her essay can be read here.

It’s Women’s Day everyday, let no one convince you otherwise.


What do Women want? No, REALLY!

Love is such a splendid thing – or so we think – until practicalities hit the dance floor.

Typical Scenario – 2 years down the road of mushy love
(W): Now what? Engagement?
(M): erm, Yes let’s

Then… 2 weeks down the road
(W): Now What? Big Rock?
(M): erm, ok How “Big” is big?!?

2 months down the road
(W): Now what? Wedding!
(M): erm, ok, give me a minute pls (just enough time to shoot myself in the brains)

The perplexity of the man/ woman relationship has been tackled, dissected (but almost never explained) by philosophers, movie producers, and psychologists alike. Being a woman is hard (take it from one) – we’re dazzling, we’re lighthearted, we’re enchanting – until we’re in the “serious relationship” zone. Then the super sensitivity button is involuntarily pressed and the world suddenly is centered on us, not on our man, not on our overall liaison, but HOW he treats us, HOW he loves us, HOW he wishes us goodnight every night (or NOT and then say hello to Drama).

Being a man is equally as hard (or so I am learning) – practicalities in our part of the world (the Middle East that is) don’t make things easier for a man: the promise, the wedding, the honeymoon, the house, the saving plan, the Rock(s) are only a tad of what he says “yes” to when he commits to a “serious” relationship.

The Ken- Barbie life is how (most)  women would like to perceive marriage, the waiting (or chasing) game for the perfect prince in the perfect Disney Tale, which reminds me to sue Disney once this post’s up and ready – but are women to blame? The way we have been brought up is, by itself, reason enough for this perplexity – Men bring food, Women do other “comely” things (courtesy of elevenmillion), such as dressing up & being beautiful. Women today are bringing food too (and yet still manage to do “comely” things and more: being wives, being mothers, being great cooks and hosts, etc..).That equals (if not surpasses) the “manly” task of bringing food to the table and thus, calls for comely initiatives from our fellow gentlemen as well.  Comely here does not necessarily translate into eye candy – It could be as simple as a refrigerator post-it when a woman least expects it (PS: Darling, I heart you) and as sophisticated as… (I’ll let you improvise here)..

One of Alain de Botton’s enlightening creations, entitled “Essays in Love” beautifully charts the progress of a relationship between a man and a woman, from the very first heart tingle to the final heartbreak. As his “unique” feelings for his Chloe were developing, he describes how challenging it was for him to express them to the “unique” person that she was without the “banal” associations (the L word according to De Botton was mundane, and while he so dreaded mundanity, he also understood how precious his reassurance would be to Chloe). Did he give up on the dilemma? NO, he actually managed to “transport” his feelings using different wording- he referred to it as alternative means of transportation. “I marshmallow you” is what seemed to capture the essence of his amorous state with perfect accuracy. Chloe’s reaction? Needless to say, overwhelmed (yes, women!!!)

In a nutshell, women want a lot, a whole lot (and all well deserved, from an absolutely objective point of view !), but seriously, unexpected marshmallows will do the trick…every single time… now, what do men “really” want? Besides friendship, attractiveness, shrewdness, perfect cooking skills, problem solving skills, positive attitude &co? volunteers, anyone?