Image Image Image Image Image Image Image Image Image Image

19twentythree | January 17, 2018

Scroll to top



 We just had a revolution the whole region boasts about; the world looks at us and sees peaceful people fighting for democracy, for liberty and for human rights.

Now you would also think that those people who died to liberate themselves from an authoritarian regime might also want to liberate themselves from the shackles confining our brains to think and act in certain ways dictated by ancestors and traditions. You would think that, in the process of seeking democratization, the society would maybe seek liberation from within; liberation from a collectively submissive ideology.

Nothing could be further from the truth, sadly.

Instead, Egyptian women today find themselves squeezed between having to yield to patriarchal values all the while keeping up with the burdens of being a modern woman.

The regime may have arguably fallen, the world may have hailed us, but the patriarchal, sexist, chauvinistic culture that allows for no freedom of thought, let alone speech, is apparently here to stay.

Don’t get me wrong, I love my people, I love my country and I am the cheesiest, least logical and most fanatical patriot there is. But even I couldn’t turn a blind eye on the miserably patriarchal, sex-obsessed culture that dominates many of us. I couldn’t turn a blind eye to the culture that raises us to be Muslims and Christians without so much as allowing us to question why. I am notoriously argumentative — seriously, my husband could write books on my God-given talents of debating just about everything. It is not that I like to talk, although I do, but I find it excruciatingly painful to take anything as fact. Although I am not an anesthetist, to me, anything is negotiable and arguable, from the existence of God to whether oranges are really good for you. I cannot swallow deterministic views and I definitely find it annoyingly dull to put my mind in hibernation mode and seek answers to questions I should be busting my brains off researching and contemplating, from traditions, social norms or religious scholars.

I do not take anything for granted, starting with why I believe I shouldn’t have been involved in picking my engagement ring — even though every Egyptian mother will disagree with me — and all the way to my views on veil.

This isn’t a blog about religion or politics, but it is a blog about being a woman in a not so revolutionary-minded Egypt. It is about my oh-so-many predicaments when my mind is simply unable to take things as is and not question them. It is a blog about the daily hardships, trials and tribulations us, women, go through while trying to pull off a modern woman persona who still has to answer to traditions and norms of a largely patriarchal, very traditional society. It is a blog about all women who have to work from 9am to 5pm before hosting a fondue night for their friends and then take care of all the housework, simply because that’s what women in the Middle East do. It is about how extremely grateful I am to have a husband who helps with the dishes and the cooking although it should really be the norm. It is about how I happen to love everything that is Egyptian but still refuse to accept the relationship dynamics set out by society.

This is a blog about women who, like me, are juggling between a career, a husband, a PhD, a family, a social life and looking relatively good, all the while respecting some ridiculously outdated traditions and culture of ours. Did I mention I have a dog?

Mommy Rants: You are not princesses

August 10, 2016 | Nadine El Sayed

To my two daughters: You aren’t, nor should you aspire to be, princesses. Let’s get this out of the way so we can all get along.Read More

Mommy Rants: Everything is not my fault.

September 9, 2015 | Nadine El Sayed

If my baby is gassy, constipated, sneezing or anything else in the medley of things I have to deal with everyday, the last thing I need is for you to make me feel it’s all my fault.Read More

Nothing Happened to Sahel

August 12, 2015 3

Sahel is what you make it out to be. Stop whining!Read More

Seeing the Beauty in Ugly

February 25, 2015 | Nadine El Sayed

There are people who choose to see the good in everything. Then there are others who choose to spot that one, rare and very slightly ugly angle of the most perfect beauty in the world. It’s not an ability, it’s a … Read More

The Bloody Feast

October 2, 2014 | Nadine El Sayed 2

How does parading a corpse in plain sight and reveling in spilled blood have anything to do with religion?Read More

I am not my Uterus

July 19, 2014 | Nadine El Sayed 6

No, I don’t have children yet. Sure, please feel free to inquire into my most private life without so much as knowing my last name.Read More

Alaa Abdel Fattah Versus the Tahrir Harassers: What a mess

June 12, 2014 | Nadine El Sayed

A group of brutal, inhumane and downright disgusting harassers face only one third of the punishment a young activist got for protesting without notifying the state.Read More

Inappropriate Attire? Are you Kidding me?

March 18, 2014 | Nadine El Sayed

Oh, forget the harassing mobs, forget the dirty words she heard or dirty hands that forced themselves on her. No, forget all that; let’s talk about the hot pink top, tight pants and blonde hair.
Read More

The Grosser, Sweeter Side of Love

February 12, 2014 | Nadine El Sayed 2

I loved my husband the most when he held my hair back as I puked my guts out and washed my face when I smelled a nice combination of vomit and burn ointment.

Not exactly romantic, eh?

But it’s true.

Read More


January 27, 2014 | Nadine El Sayed 4

Utterly ridiculous charges and massive double standards. Read More