Egypt: Continuing to Explore the Taboos of Sex Workers and Machismo

New bloggers have been producing more blog posts tackling some of Egyptian society's taboo subjects in the framework of the “Exploring Taboos” project in Cairo. Some of the blog posts include subjects such as sex workers, and machismo. Some of the bloggers recently spent time outside of the country giving them an opportunity to compare and contrast the situation back home and in the visited country.


The blogger who goes by the name “Just a Human” writes about the stigma often given to sex workers in Egypt:

الحقيقة هى ان المصطلح قد يبدو جديدا و لكن مضمونه ليس جديد .
هذا المصطلح اصبح يطلق فى الدول المهتمة بحقوق الانسان و فى اوساط العاملين على هذه القضايا ..حيث نستخدمه لوصف هؤلاء الذين اعتاد المجتمع بتسميتهم “عاهرات و فتيات ليل”
This term may sound new, but its meaning isn’t at all, as it refers to ‘prostitutes and whores’. This term has been used in the countries with good record in human rights and by rights-groups.

The blogger made this clarification, before giving his opinion:

فى رأيى الشخصى انهم بالفعل يقدمون خدمة من حقهم ان تكون مدفوعة الاجر طالما ان احدا لم يجبرهم على تقديمها او يجبرك على قبولها فالمسألة فى النهاية عرض و طلب

انهم فى النهاية عاملين مثلهم مثل العاملين فى اى مجال اخر كل ما فى الامر انهم يعملون فى مجال شائك جدا اعتدنا التعامل معه بحذر شديد ..

In my personal opinion, those sex workers are offering a service that should be paid, as long as they are not forced to do it and you wasn’t forced to accept it either, it’s all about demand and request

… And before all, they are like labor in any other field, and they have rights, even if they work in a field we tend to be sensitive with it….


Meanwhile, the bilingual blogger that goes by the name “Freedom Fighter” was concerned with machismo, as seeing it is practiced by both men and women and targeting the two sexes:

الذكورية طبعا بتتمارس طول الوقت على المرأة بنسبة كبيرة جدا في المجتمعات الأبوية زي مصر كدا والشرق الأوسط والدول الإسلامية بالأخص وفي دول معينة في أفريقيا، لكن برضو الذكورية بتتمارس ضد الرجل في أحيان كتيرة ومش الرجالة بس اللي ذكوريين في ستات نفسهم ذكوريين بشكل أو بآخر
Machismo is mostly practiced against women, especially in paternal societies such as Egypt, Middle East, Muslim countries, and some parts of Africa. However, it could target men as well, as might be practiced by women themselves in a way or another.

Even though is widely believed that most targets of machismo are females, she went on to explain how a man could be subjected to a type of machismo behavior:

يعني الراجل اللي مش بيقمع المرأة يبقى لا مؤاخذة الراجل لازم يكون ناشف وقاسي وذكوري ورجعى عشنا يبقى راجل أصيل حاجة خلاص تجنن!!!!!
If a man is not oppressing women, he is not considered a “man”! It means the man should be cruel, macho, and backward in order to become a true “man’”!!!

She also promised to resume writing on machismo, but her next post was in a different topic, as she could not resist blogging about the cosmopolitanism of London, where she is attended a journalism program. What she likes the most is the tolerance of the city, which leads to harmony between its residents. “Freedom Fighter” compares London with Egypt under the title ‘Perception of my trip to London’:

In Egypt, there is a certain degree of tolerance, but not as much as in London, many foreigner communities live in Egypt, but yet the country needs a long way to go in achieving Multiculturalism , and respect for personal freedoms , respecting others` choices in their lifestyle, religion, and everything else.

In Cairo, it is not that bad, but still people can judge you just because of your behavior, clothing , religious or sexual or political tendencies, and yet the law still needs amendments in order to fulfill the conception of a civil state, which exists partially.

Nawara Bilal, also was recently abroad, but came back to Egypt with different experience with reflection about her own sexuality, which she shares in her blog Nooning:

In the last couple of weeks I have been out of Egypt…Kenya and Canada.

I have started to feel alive, I have started to feel as a female I have started to be a sexual creature…specially that I have a special friend, someone who treats me as a girl, someone who needs me and welcome my needs, someone alive, sexy in flesh and blood.

The blogger admits she is not a ‘sexual creature’; she even puts her confession to the title of her blog post:

Yet I had troubles with my sexuality…but I’ m not an asexual creature.. i had troubles identifying my needs, I had troubles thinking why I needed a man in my life…

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