When I was young , I used to be my mum’s best friend. She used to tell me every thing about herself. She used to share every single detail of her day with me . I knew her better than my only brother who is 3 years older than me . he was another macho copy of my father , and I made it clear since I’ve been a child that I would never be the same as the father and brother .
For the rest of my life my mother will always be the first lesson on feminism I’ve been taught though she has never been a feminist .
as far as I remember I was not much in love with my father. For me he has always been the cruel macho man who would always come home late , and he would always have this kind of aggressive and violent fights with my mum . I also remember that I always used to stand by my mother’s side , not because she was weak or fragile , but because she has always been and will always be the one and only heroine in my life .
till now I don’t know for sure why have I been that close to my mum more than my other brother but I remember that not being a macho was never a decision that I made on purpose , it was a part of my nature I believe , and my mum was the only person in my childhood who approved that fact unlike my father and my big masculine family and that’s why for sure she has been my only shelter at that time .
I think that mum will never know that she is the main reason for why I am a feminist, she doesn’t know that I still remember those beautiful days when I used to hang out with her. My mum was my guide to the true world of women that most of the men know nothing about. I used to accompany her in all her visits to her girlfriends. Yes they had children that I can play with , but I have been an observer. I can still recall their conversations about their drama with the husbands , their suspicions about them and that they could be having an affair with other women.
I remember the days when I woke up to find my father is practicing violence against my mother for stupid and shallow reasons , I remember her tears , pain and her fight to restore her pride back . many times she decided to leave the house , I was a child by that time nonetheless I always backed her decisions , I always hoped that she’d really leave the house and has her own separate life . every time she’d come back home one day after the fight for our sakes . I could see it in her eyes , the bitterness after losing the fight for her own dignity.
My dad was never a bad man , I misunderstood him when I was a child and loved him when I became a young man . but he knows that I couldn’t totally forgive him for all the times he broke her heart and turned her life into endless pain.
My father is a leftist who got married when he was 35 years old, and my mum was his conservative 10 years younger cousin. I can’t claim that he was a backward man , but still an Egyptian masculine man after all who doesn’t mind abusing power against his own wife.
My mother is a conservative woman however she was never similar to the other females in the family . she was not a feminist but a leader of a whole family and by family I mean my aunts and cousins. She used to be responsible for every single person in the great family and that was a fact that my dad would never approve as he always thought that his wife should be his own property. My mum is veiled but she has always been a Vanguard woman at least for me . she was the only woman in the family that refused leaving her work after giving birth to her children as she believed that her education gave her power and her work gave her even a major power that she was never ready to give away.
She was the only woman in the family that would raise her voice if her husband tried to insult or humiliate her.
I can’t recall the reasons for her fights with my father but I can understand that the main reason would always be a sort of power conflict between the man and the woman in the house.
And I also understand that the reason for why I always hoped that she’d leave the house one day is that for me she is a woman who has always been fighting for her dignity , actually for the women’s dignity even though she never realized that.
I always felt that she never got what she deserves in life . my dad should’ve worshiped her for all the sacrifices. He should’ve worshiped her for taking care of his two kids when he was detained for political reasons, when she accepted to get married in her brother’s house as he couldn’t afford a home at that time , when she had a note book in which she always documented all the money she had to borrow to spend on our expenses not to be a burden on his shoulder , and when she forgave him because she always knew that he loves her as much as she does.
I grew up as a different young man with all these stories on his mind .i never forgot them , actually I recalled them when I founded a movement for women rights in my high school. I used to have these kind of meetings with my girlfriends trying to raise their awareness about their rights , about domestic violence against women and how they should stand for their own freedom .
Being a mother’s best friend helped me in being always close to my female friends and their own world. Day after day I learned how to feel , understand , and support them not out of being superior but of being a believer in them and their cause .
Being a mother’s best friend taught me how to respect and appreciate women , and how to share a civilized relationship or friendship with them instead of sharing a bed .
And also being a mother’s best friend helped me in observing all sorts of discrimination that the Egyptian society has always being practicing against its own women .
Two days ago when I was distributing the publications for the “ women’s march “ demonstration in Tahrir , I recalled my mum’s picture in my mind. I watched the scenes of her story in the face of every woman .
She was and will always be my real inspiration in life. The love she used to give , the dignity she used to hold on to , and the pain she has been through have always been my motivations to be the man I am.
And I have to admit that I would’ve never been a feminist if it wasn’t for my mother. Because for me feminism is not about slogans, fancy meetings or even international conferences. From my personal perspective and experience I would say that feminism for me is all about women’s daily and personal fights for their dignity , pride and rights .