On Blood and Shame

On Blood and Shame

I am so thrilled and honoured to have had a short narrative essay featured in sister-hood,  an online magazine that spotlights the voices of women of Muslim heritage. The essay explores shame and coming of age in Saudi Arabia as a young girl through the lens of the experience of my first period. An excerpt appears below. To read the piece in full at sister-hood.com, please click the link after the excerpt.

Where I come from, menstruation remains a topic too awkward or embarrassing to discuss in public or even in private. A topic that like the female body itself remains shrouded in secrecy. And stigma. And shame. So much stigma surrounds the female body and its bodily functions that the first time I bled on my first period, I was completely ignorant and unprepared, and as with most changes my body underwent in the early years of my adolescence, I felt overwhelmed with inexplicable shame. Continue Reading.

Image Credit: Tasmeem QScience, ‘Figure 2. Dancers wearing reinvented versions of Arabic “abaya”’

To Be an Immigrant Is Still to Be Human

To Be an Immigrant Is Still to Be Human

 

Being an immigrant has at times been scary largely because being different can be scary. To be an immigrant is to be foreign, and to be foreign is to be different. One Akkadian word for “foreign” is nakrum, the same adjective used to mean “strange” and, even, “enemy”. In the ancient world, being foreign could also mean being strange, possibly even hostile, and based on recent social and political trends, for some, not too much has changed since 2000 BC.  Continue reading “To Be an Immigrant Is Still to Be Human”

Abuse, Asylum, and Agency

Abuse, Asylum, and Agency

On January 16th, CNN published an article about a handful Saudi women who decided to seek asylum in the US. Through the lens of these women’s experiences, the article explores some of the human rights abuses in Saudi Arabia, like male guardianship over women and the death penalty for atheism. The article also notes that the Saudi women featured might not fit the conventional mould of a refugee or asylum seeker, but that they faced sufficient danger in their home country to warrant an asylum application. Continue reading “Abuse, Asylum, and Agency”