EGYPT: Wanna be a bride?
More and more young Egyptian women are tapping into the blogosphere with wit and attitude. One of the most prominent is Ghada Abdel Aal, a pharmacist in her late 20s, whose "wanna b a bride" blog offers a strong, humorous voice for unmarried women facing the demands of patriarchal marriage rituals.
"I am one out of 15 million girls, between the ages of 25 and 35, who are pressured on a daily basis by their society to get married," reads Abdel Aal's profile on her blog.
In colloquial Arabic, Abdel Aal offers satirical accounts of how girls navigate a society dominated by men, tribes and religion. The blogger underscores the dominant perception of women as inferiors who cannot be fully recognized unless they are married. She depicts a series of funny anecdotes that ridicule arranged marriages and attempts by mothers to hunt for grooms on behalf of their daughters.
"Our society is hypocritical,” writes Abdel Aal. “Whenever you come across any group of people where there is a little boy and a girl, you find adults asking the boy what job he would like to have in the future. However, they ask the girl which guy she would like to marry. The older this girl grows and the more educated she gets, the more people say, 'We wish you’d get married.' "
Abdel Aal decided to launch her blog almost a year ago after a man proposed to her. Although her family hailed the suitor as Mr. Perfect, Abdel Aal found the offer less than inviting. She decided to speak about the unspoken.
"I created this blog as a means of releasing my inner thoughts and opening myself up," Abdel Aal told an Egyptian daily. "The positive feedback and comments I received from the readers sort of pushed me forward to go on writing."
The blog's candor and originality resulted in a book contract with Dar Al-Shorouq, one of Egypt’s leading publishing houses.
—Noha El-Hennawy in Cairo
Photo: The cover of Ghada Abdel Aal's new book, "I Want to Marry."
P.S. Click here for more Egypt stories. The Los Angeles Times issues a free daily newsletter with the latest headlines from the Middle East, the war in Iraq and the frictions between the West and Islam. You can subscribe by registering at the website here, logging in here and clicking on the World: Mideast newsletter box here.