How is the experience of talking about gender dynamics different in private spaces, between family members & friends, from public spaces in front of acquaintances and community members? Guest blogger Fahmida Azad writes a personal reflection having shared her story at the Curtain Call : The Gender Performance Townhall event.
For most Muslims, the most sacred and intimate of experiences are when one stands in front of God. In complete submission. On our prayer rugs. In that sacred space, men are taught from youth to stand with their legs wide apart (wide enough so that a baby lamb can pass through between them), they are taught to stand with broad shoulders, they are taught to take up as much space as possible. They are taught to use their voices so that their voices are heard. They are taught that leading prayer is their God-given right and standing in front of women is just how it’s done. A little boy is praised by entire communities if he learns to call the adhan- a right that can not be practiced by grown adult women in most Muslim communities. From the time that one is taught how to stand before God, little boys inherently know that they have privileges that their mothers don’t, and they are conditioned to feel and be more important. Is it surprising, then, if these boys grow into men who inherently think they are above the women in their lives?