I think I’ve discovered why (some) women don’t know what they want
Unfortunately I’m afflicted with the worst cliché of all time. I’m a woman who doesn’t know what she wants. There are so many memes about this, it’s embarrassing. The super empowered, justice warrior part of me is like so annoyed when I see those memes. But the funny, want to make fun of everything side (the true inner me) thinks it’s hilarious. And it is. In a sad way.
For years, I was convinced I was a feminist. It started with The Spice Girls and the ‘Girl Power’ thing and I’ve been going strong ever since. I fought tooth and nail (until I was practically arguing with my own echo) to explain to mum and Bibi why feminism and equal opportunity are important and why these old ideas we have about how men and women are supposed to act are so out dated and ridiculous.
Then I realized somewhere in my mid twenties that I have so many traditional ideas about life that go against what it means to be a feminist.
Conflicting ideas about feminism:
I want a guy who makes more money than me so I can chill if I want (but if I end up making more money than him it shouldn’t be an issue)
I don’t know if I want to work when I have kids (but I don’t want my daughters to think that it’s OK not to have a career)
I want a guy to chase after me (a guy who isn’t assertive is gross to me)
I want him to pay for stuff when he’s wooing me (but after we are married it doesn’t matter – well maybe it does. I don’t know.)
I like the idea of taking care of my man, cooking for him etc. (but I also want him to say thank you and always appreciate it, not take it for granted and once in a while take over and do things)
I never want to be judged by other people for what I’m wearing (but I can’t help judging other women on how they dress)
Whenever I encounter strong famous outspoken feminist in the media I don’t relate to them at all (especially Lena Dunham – how the fuck is she the voice of our generation?)
I like the idea of being photo shopped (realistically) and hiding some of my physical flaws (filters are my best friends)
I hate words like Herstory and Shero – they sound weird to me.
I want to have it all (but I know deep down that it’s impossible)
I thought I was a British girl from Kensington in London that loves dolma and can speak Arabic. But turns out I’m more Arab than I thought.
I’ve been thinking about a lot of these issues recently and things got a bit more heightened (as they do in my head) when I was baking another pistachio cake after work today.
I decided to try something different this time and used semolina as a major ingredient in the recipe. I love semolina. We use it in an Arabic cake dessert called Basbosa. I think it will give the pistachio cake an interesting texture and add some moisture to it too. Sometimes pistachio cakes can be a bit dry and dry cakes are gross. But the word moist is also gross. Dry moist. Double gross.
And then as usual he made me feel 100% better about the fact that I’m a non-ambitious, cold-hearted, over dramatic bitch that has no goals in life.
I was talking to Ahmed on the phone while I was measuring ingredients and told him what happened at the office yesterday. You remember? Rainbow Bug telling me that the firm is suffering, half the staff might get the sack and D4 thinks he’s a hero and is trying to save it by taking on a huge case linked to his fiancée’s family? Sounds like suicide to me. And also I might have a chance to save my job if I work on the Grogary case.
‘The Grogarys are huge. If your firm can pull it off then you’ll be sorted for sure. You should try and do as much work on that case as you can. Even if they fire you, or you leave before they fire you, at least you’ll get some pretty good experience working on a case like that,’ Ahmed said.
‘I don’t know . . . I don’t think I want to work so closely with D4. He’s such an ass hole and super anal. I’ll also have to work with Francis Alpha Bitch and that’s a whole other dimension I don’t want to fall into. She’s really into the Grogary case.’
‘She probably knows how important it is,’ Ahmed said, ‘you need to be more like that Sarah.’
‘Like what? An alpha bitch?’ I asked.
‘No,’ Ahmed said, ‘just more on to it with work. Do you really want to quit? Or worse get fired? You know how tough the job market is these days. You might have to move back to London. We don’t want you to leave.’
‘I know,’ I said, ‘but I mean, maybe leaving the firm wouldn’t be the worst thing in the world. I can figure out what I want to do.’
‘Do you have any ideas what kind of job you’d want to get into other than law?’
I was quiet for a second. I really hate the fact that I studied law. It was such a stupid decision. I was so sure of it at the time. I thought that was what I wanted. I wanted to be a big baws feminist lawyer.
When I graduated school, my marks weren’t so bad. But I felt mum and dad putting this non-verbal pressure on me to try and be like Amal. They wanted me to get into medicine or be a pharmacist so I can help mum and eventually take over her pharmacies. I couldn’t think of anything worse.
I’m not naturally clever with science first of all and second, mum works her arse off. What for? She deals with so many weirdoes and sometimes it feels like you’re just counting pills and running a shop. No thanks. I wanted something more engaging that would give me more of a life work balance. Something that would help me change the world. So I did law. Stupid, I know.
Problem is, I was never one of those people who just had a “thing”. You know what I mean? A thing I was super passionate about, a thing I thought about all the time, a thing I knew I had to do, to become, to be. That’s my clichéd affliction. I’m a woman who thought she knew what she wanted but turns out I don’t know what I want at all. Yay… I’m a meme.
So, because I had no passion and wasn’t exceptionally good at anything and I was SURE that I didn’t want to do with medicine, I panicked and applied for first year law with Ahmed. And I got in.
My parents were so OVER the moon. Even Bibi basically had an orgasm and called her sisters in Jordan to tell them that I was going to be a big important lawyer. I’d never seen them so proud of me before. And I got sold on the idea in my head. Like ‘yeah, I want to be a big baws lawyer. Like how cool would that be? Changing the world one case at a time, putting the bad guys behind bars, wearing sexy law clothes (short pencil skirts, high heels, big shoulder pads – all black everywhere with a hint of colour in the lapel or some thing in the back of my heel – obvi I’d be wearing Louboutins to work).
I just didn’t expect one thing – how fucking boring studying law was. Like painfully boring. It was manageable. My marks were OK or they were good when I worked with Ahmed and we helped each other but I wasn’t enjoying it. So I decided to take some electives like English literature and that was fun but not fun enough for me to solely focus on.
I told all of this to Ahmed over the phone while I was in the kitchen and before I realised I was getting emotional.
‘OMG, I’m a bloody meme!’
Don’t worry, I didn’t cry (shocking I know) but my throat got lumpy and my voice kind of broke.
Ahmed was super quiet while I talked which meant he was thinking on my behalf. And then as usual he made me feel 100% better about the fact that I’m a non-ambitious, cold-hearted, over dramatic bitch that has no goals in life.
‘Listen, you’re one of the smartest girls I know. You’re interesting, intelligent, well spoken and talented in so many ways. It’s impossible that someone with so much going on won’t be successful at something. You just have to take it easy on yourself and let what you like make itself apparent. Then you’ll know when it happens. Trust me, you’re my best friend and I know in my gut that amazing things will happen for you.’
Aw. Isn’t he the sweetest? I told him I hoped he was right and that I had to go and focus on baking cause I don’t want screw up this recipe that I was trying out for the first time.
While I was beating the eggs with vanilla I started to think about things. Well thinking about me and what I want and why I don’t know what I want. Then I thought women generally and for some reason three very different but very similar women popped into my head – Amal Clooney, Megan Markel and Princess Ayako.
I remember when George Clooney got engaged. The world fainted. Like finally he’s engaged after all his literal fucking around – but to who? An Arab?! The Arab world double fainted. Like of course, obviously he married an Arab woman. The only person who can ever make a man get married, a man who has been a bachelor his whole life would have to be an Arab woman.
I remember I got obsessed with Amal Clooney when I found out who she was. I goggled her so much Google basically told me to get the fuck over it. I found her so inspirational. She’s beautiful in a normal attainable way. She’s super smart and accomplished (went to Oxford then moved to New York and enrolled at the NYU School of Law, worked on the Enron case, served as an adviser to Kofi Annan, and represented WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange. She’s also one of three people selected to investigate war crimes in the Gaza Strip) AND she seems nice. And she’s stylish. And she has nice hair. Like amazing hair.
Rania sort of said it as a joke at the time when I was going on about amazing Amal Clooney is and that I’d probably just like turn into a fan girl if I met her,
‘Yeah and we would never even know who she was if didn’t marry George Clooney. He’s so hot.’
It’s true. Not the hot part. Well, yeah he’s hot in a conventional way but I have a feeling that he might be like a little boring in real life. Like just a guys guy who likes to do guy stuff like play PlayStation (or whatever the equivalent of playing PlayStation is at 50).
None of us had any idea who Amal Clooney was or any of the important shit she was doing until she was engaged to be married. And what’s more annoying, is that for ages, in the Arab world and even in the West she was known as just George Clooney’s wife. Gross.
Like who the fuck is George Clooney? I can’t even think of one movie he’s in.One Fine Day with Michelle Pfeiffer – like that’s it. I’m sure he’s lovely and everything and this isn’t about him it’s just about the idea of him.
I also can’t believe that Amal took his name when she got married. Weird. Actually gross. Like aren’t you Arab? That’s one of the coolest feminist things we have – we aren’t expected to take our husband’s name when we get married. We don’t change, we are who we are.
It just really bothers me that we only saw Amal for who she was and what she was doing (you know, ACTUALLY trying to change the world) when she became Amal Clooney and no longer Amal Alamuddin.
I don’t think any woman can define 2018 like Meghan Markle has. She made2018. Married and pregnant to a prince? Yeah, I’m pretty sure this was her year.
Think about it, (I’m sure you all have a million times cause I have) she was literally just an actress on a TV show that not everyone watched. She had her own lifestyle website and did charity work. She was hustling to make things happen and then landed the biggest gig of her life.
Like with Amal Clooney, I became obsessed with goggling her (still am) to the point that Google pretty much wanted to break up with me. From the start though there were always these conflicting reports about her.
Is she good enough? White Enough? Black enough? Does she have an agenda? Was she marrying him for the right reason? She’s a self-proclaimed feminist, what does that mean as a royal? Can she still be outspoken about stuff that she’s passionate about once she’s married?
I was obsessed with finding out about her at the same time as I was criticizing the media (in my head) while reading all the vile comments people wrote under articles. I couldn’t wrap my head around it all – why would you give up a good and private life to be a royal? Nothing wrong with being a royal in a fantasy world but in the modern world . . . OMG, I’d hate it. Even though I loved her, I was cynical. Then I saw the royal wedding.
I’m not going to lie. I cried when I watched her come down the aisle. I actually cried. First it was like one dramatic tear falling down my cheek and by the end of it I was bawling my eyes out and ugly crying. Thank fuck I was alone. Me and Omar had just broken up, so I was cuckoo in the head.
I was crying because I was genuinely so happy for her. Despite all the crazy shit people were saying, I knew it when I saw her face. She was in love. I also love how natural she was (which is so fucking weird for me cause if that was my wedding you would even be able to see me because of the amount of a) Swarovski diamonds all over my dress b) how many hair extensions I would have had c) how heavily contoured my face would be).
But when I saw Prince Charles giving her away (random) and I thought about what she was leaving behind, the good (a normal life), the bad (a normal life), the ugly (her family), and then seeing her mother siting alone watching her, and then seeing Megan’s face, and then Harry seeing her – I lost it. Like I knew that shit was never going to happen to me. I couldn’t even imagine it. I still can’t.
The whole world thinks that Meghan Markle (like Amal Clooney) also “married up”. Except in Meghan case she gave up more than just her name when she married Harry. She gave up, working, social media, going out to clubs, wearing nail polish, wearing super short skirts, eating sea food (apparently you can’t eat sea food if you’re a royal). She gave up public opinions, she gave up whatever we think freedom is. For what? Love I guess makes you do some stupid ass shit.
And then there’s the Japanese Princess Ayako. She was all over the news. I read an article about her wedding in Vogue. Princess Ayako (who is super cute by the way) married her college sweet heart Kei Moriya who is considered a commoner. Based on Japanese royal law, Princess Ayako must give up her royal title and all that stuff once she marries him. It’s to make sure that no commoner can ever become emperor.
I’m no expert in royal lineage in any country but doesn’t that mean that Princess Ayako is the product of generations of inbreeding? How can they introduce new blood into the family if they are all marrying each other? OK I’m getting a bit too Game of Throneshere. But still – gross.
Anyway, Princess Ayako sounds happy that she’s marrying him and even though she’s “leaving her royal title” and will have to get a “regular” job, she still has some duties as a once royal person and is still rich.
At first, when I read this I thought it was the cutest thing ever. Here was a modern Japanese royal woman willing to give up her title and life to become a “commoner” for love. For love! It’s the stuff of rom-coms! She was literally giving up the ultimate fairy tale to have her own fairy tale ending.
There’s that word AGAIN – give up. Sacrificing, become less than, different, leaving. Why does Princess Ayako have to give up so much? Her grandfather who is emperor now, also married someone who isn’t a commoner but he didn’t have to give up anything. It’s such BS really.
It’s another tired cliché. Why do we become when we get married? Why do we arrive when we get married? Why are we recognized when we get married? Why do we have to censor ourselves when we get married? Why do we fulfil our purpose when we get married? Fuck it, why do we give up so much to get married?
I tried hard to think hard about what George Clooney, Prince Harry and Kei Moriya have had to give up when they got married. I googled the fuck out of it and Google told me what I already knew. They gave up nothing.
If some guy is reading this and thinking “we give up our freedom” go fuck yourself. Go have your freedom and spend your time playing PlayStation and itching your balls while you eat your Nandos chicken wings. Gross.
Maybe that’s why I don’t know what I want. Maybe that why so many women don’t know what we want. Maybe subconsciously, in our deepest of deepest hearts we know if we work, fight and are passionate about what we want we have to give it up for a man – for love.
The only think I know that I want for sure is a juicy burger, a slice of cake and a cup of tea. As for the rest of it – fuck knows.
I asked Amal (my sister not Amal Clooney, cause believe me if I was friends with Amal Clooney I wouldn’t be writing a blog about this shit – I’d be taking notes from her) – anyway, I asked my sister what she thinks she’ll be giving up of herself when she marries Sammy. She texted back right away and said:
Nothing. We are compromising for each other.
I wondered how much of this is true. You know how you aren’t supposed to operate heavy machinery when you’re on certain medications? Or drive cause you might kill yourself or someone else? I don’t think we should make life-changing decisions when you are doped up on lovesick endorphins. You might end up ruining your fucking life.
When we are fully in lovesick mode all we see is that fucking white dress and the wedding and the thrill of it all before we realise that we’re sacrificing something irreplaceable. Like a huge part of ourselves.
While waiting for the oven to preheat, I started to think about whether or not I was in a love sick haze when I was with Omar and what it was that I would have sacrificed when we got married. Oh yeah, I never mentioned this but me and Omar were engaged.
As soon as I put the cake in the over my phone started ringing. It was Dania.
‘Bitch, find a costume. We are going to a Halloween Party at Miss Lilly’s. I’ve booked us a table.’
‘Miss Lilly’s? Gross. It’s so smoky.’
‘It’s going to be amazing everyone is going. They have a really hot DJ working there as well’ she said, ‘what do you think I should dress up as? I’m thinking Poison Ivey or Jessica Rabbit.’
‘So you want to be a red head this year?’
‘Yeah, I found this amazing red wig which looks really good on me. Listen, don’t pick a stupid costume like you always do. You can’t be a slice of pizza or a donut or a potatoes or the fat Jewish AGAIN – be something sexy! We are all single for the first time together in for-fucking-ever!’
I told her I’d think of something sexy and we hung up. Ah! I was already regretting saying I would go out this weekend. My sofa looks so comfortable. I could have hung out there instead of thinking about being super sexy.
Hmmm… at least I have three solid ideas of horrifying, sexy fantasies I wanted to be – I wonder if I’d make a better Amal Clooney, Megan Markel or Princes Ayako.