When I read Nawal El Saadawi’s description of what the patriarchy does to arabic women, I found that my experience growing up felt quite similar.
She writes, “The education that a female child receives in Arab society is a series of continuous warnings about things that are suppose to be harmful, forbidden, shameful or outlawed by religion. The child therefore is trained to suppress her own desires, to empty herself of authentic, original wants and wishes linked to her own self, and to fill the vacuum that results with the desires of others. Education of female children is therefore transformed into a slow process of annihilation, a gradual throttling of her personality and mind, leaving intact only the outside shell, the body a lifeless mould of muscle and bone and blood that moves like a wound up rubber doll.”
For how many thousands and thousands of years have women been conditioned to please others?!!! To have no self of our own? And we wonder why it is so hard for us as women to have self- esteem, to know what we want, to speak up, to know and do what is pleasing to us? So many women struggle to act according to what would be pleasing to us, either because we don’t know what it is, or because we have been conditioned away from our instincts and intuition, or because we are afraid to have worth, afraid to accept we have a self worth pleasing.