“It’s hard to be a man, especially if you’re a woman”. I found this quote on one of the margins of a book written by Jim Dodge. I don’t exactly know either when and why I wrote it, or what I had in my mind that pushed me to make such a statement. Some phrases settle down to set up a round table while other phrases become those table corners you stumble with and hurt yourself. This very quote visits me from time to time, as if it wanted to make me think about it or as if it desired to speak with me for a while.
“The Forgotten Writers”, a group of Egyptian writers, reminded me of that phrase and many others when they opened a literary debate on the role of dominant women in society. “Women’s domination” is the second literary competition that they have launched worldwide in order to analyse how power is measured when sexual differences are involved.
I’ve always thought that generalizing is like lowering the resolution and the more you do it so, the more blurred the picture becomes, until reality ends up looking like a simple speck, like a brown pixel. It’s really complicated trying to discuss something by portraying the world with just two balls, two pixels: men and women. However, when I read headlines such as “Sexual harassment has become a game in Egypt”, the phrase hits me in the leg, in the stomach or in the head.
It may be worth to writing a focused a nuanced story, a simple story that just tells about how easily you can walk across the Plaza de la Merced and how difficult it is to do so across the Tahrir Square. Nevertheless, I don’t think the question is that one sex dominates the other, or reversing the roles in the struggle for power. What it’s hard is to respect, not to dominate. The hard part is to be respected, not dominated. It’s hard to be a man (in the taxonomic sense), no matter what you have between your legs.
The contest rules can be found at the following URL: http://www.democracychronicles.com/egyptian-writers-start-international-writing-competition/