It is International Women’s Day today and Arab and Muslim women from across the world, have taken to Twitter to combat the misogyny and sexism they have to deal with in daily life. It all started when Egyptian-American journalist Mona Eltahawy received an email from a stranger. The letter explained why her views - in his eyes - were wrong. They were delivered hiding behind the phrase “dear sister, I say these things with greatest certitude of your Islam”.
She decided not to ignore the email and took to Twitter to express her frustration. “Save your lectures, whether you’re a total stranger or someone I know. ‘Sister Mona’ is not interested,” she wrote. She then asked other women to share their story using the hashtag “Dear Sister”.
#DearSister - Within hours, it had inspired thousands of tweets, with women from all across the world sharing their experience.
@Afgeezy97: “#DearSister I’ll mix societal/cultural factors into Islam in order to silence and subjugate you, and use actual Islam only when it benefits me.”
@nadiaxyas: “#DearSister isn’t a trend for us to bash our BEAUTIFUL religion. Sisters are simply shining light on the hypocritical things men say.”
@Real_Wordslayer: “...Hashtag #DearSister is mandatory reading today.” @nalisaaa: “#DearSister I’m going to be an incompetent son without any household skills but god forbid if a woman can’t cook...”
@AshKaneSkittles: “...feels women shouldn’t pursue careers and stay at home but only wants female doctor to check his wife #DearSister.” @Afgeezy97: “#DearSister Islam stopped you from being buried alive but now I’ll allow my patriarchy, culture & superiority complexes to bury your dreams.” @eemanabbasi: “The #DearSister tweets prove how men misinterpret any ideology or faith to control the lives of women. Ego, not religion, is the problem.” @hijabispeaks: “#DearSister - Do you really want to pursue that career? Do you know how long it will take? When will you have kids and care for them?” @Q8i_Outsider: “#DearSister I respect you because you cover your hair. #DearBrother I don’t want your respect based on a cloth.” @RashaAlAqeedi: “#DearSister, ‘when you walk into class, don’t say good morning. It comes off as flirting. Assalumu Alaikum is more appropriate’ - 2002.”
@monaeltahawy: “Thank you fellow Muslim women who’ve shared their experience. +18,000 tweets from around the world! #DearSister”
Helga IA Worotitjan: “Really..really..proud of her!” Maya Arianna Cruz: “Haha the tweets get the double standards spot on!
Fatima Rahimi: “#dearsister on twitter made my life. Unsolicited advice and hypocritical opinions... you know the usual for girls.”