As an Arab woman, I have suffered from the stigma associated with menstruation in general in addition to a severe chronic endometriosis which incapacitated me several days, sometimes weeks every month. In fact, the assumption that menstruation should be painful and women are expected to go through it without complaining, suppressed me from seeking treatment for a long tome.

When the pain became debilitating, I was faced with additional stigma from male gynecologists who either did not appreciate the situation I was in, or did not know enough about the disease and its implications on my life. They prescribed medication that only made my condition worse without taking into consideration its impact on my life, subsequently my quality of life deteriorated dramatically.

It was only 20 years into my silent suffering that I was able to find a female gynecologist in the United States who prescribed the right treatment to my condition. 

She listened and proposed to me a variety of options that none of my previous doctors discussed with me.

Between the stigma of menstruation, the obsession with female pre-marriage virginity and family interference in women’s health choices, most of the options I she proposed to me were off the table for Lebanese doctors, guardians of sexist traditions that confine women to chronic pain!

We need more female doctors who understand the woman body intuitively, who experience the pain associated with menstruation, and who are not afraid of breaking taboos and prescribing the treatment that saves lives and improves their quality as opposed to treatments confined by cultural assumptions, traditional approaches to menstruation and the pain associated with it.

Here is an article in the Times by Activist and Actor Meghan Markle and her work around the world the alleviate the stigma around menstruation.

http://time.com/4694568/meghan-markle-period-stigma/ 

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Female Political Activist Arrested for her Facebook Posts


Developing story – Beirut, August 11, 2017: Hanady Elias Gerges (27), was summoned to interrogation on Friday August 11 by the Cybercrime and Intellectual Property Office of the Internal Security Forces (ISF), to answer questions about Facebook posts in which she criticized the Lebanese President, his son in law and the Prime Minister. She was subsequently arrested on investigation at 12:30pm. Her mother told the media that a judge warrant was issued after normal working hours, and while the judiciary is on strike. When her lawyer questioned the validity of the warrant and tried to get her out on bail, he was not allowed to see her and was told to come back on Monday. In Lebanon, the judiciary does not work on the weekend. The ISF uses the practice of summoning activists on Fridays in order to keep them in custody for the weekend as a way to intimidate them and pressure them to secure confessions.
hanady-gerges.jpgHanady was transferred to the Hbeish Police station and Jail in Hamra, Beirut. This police station runs the “Moral Protection Bureau” and is known for its arrests of LGBTQ persons, and drug dealers an
d is notorious for committing human right violation including torture. After the story broke out in the main stream media, with criticism of her arrest at Hbeish, Hanady was moved to the women’s prison of Barbar Khazen in Minat Al Hosn, Beirut. Conflicting information about her whereabouts are circulating on social media. Since her arrest, she was not allowed to speak to her lawyer or her mother. Such shady techniques are comm
on currency of the ISF which is notorious for not abiding by the rule of law. Freedom of speech and political activists are gathering in front of Hbeish prison in protest. Hashtags in Arabic such as #StatusIsNotACrime, #ArrestedForAPost, #SonInLawIsNotGod and #FreedomForActivistHanadyGerges are trending.
Her Facebook statuses earlier from the day were deleted in addition to her posts in which she criticized the President (Michel Aoun) and his son in law who is also the Minister of Foreign Affairs (Gibran Bassil) as well as the Lebanese Prime Minister (Saad Hariri). It is not
clear if the police seized her phone.

“Lebanon’s constitution guarantees freedom of expression “within the limits established by law.” But the Lebanese penal code criminalizes libel and defamation against public officials and authorizes imprisonment of up to one year in such cases. Article 384 of the penal code authorizes imprisonment of six months to two years for insulting the president, the flag, or the national emblem.
Local and international human rights organizations have long documented Lebanon’s use of libel and defamation laws to penalize lawyers, journalists, and activists for opinions and statements that are protected under international human rights law. In December 2016, Lebanese authorities arrested Bassel al-Amine, a 21-year-old journalism student, for a critical Facebook post. They arrested Ahmad Amhaz on March 21, 2017.
The Skeyes Center for Media and Cultural Freedom found in a 2016 report that Lebanese defamation laws were being used for “targeting activists and dissidents and … intimidating online journalists, bloggers and Internet users from speaking about certain subjects, thus paving the way for self-censorship and the chilling of speech.” (HRW http://bit.ly/2o7C6UH) 

No, Wanting to Date & Have Sex Doesn’t Make Lebanese Women Whores


and today I feel vindicated…

A Separate State of Mind | A Blog by Elie Fares

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It’s 2017 and we’re still talking about this, but then again what can you expect when one of your country’s “liberal” TV stations is more conservative than America’s Fox News?

Earlier today, following this viral blog post, MTV decided to take part of the crusade against the seriously bad show on LBCI called Take Me Out.

Whilst the blogpost they tried to copy was somewhat conservative in tone as is the writer who penned it, a relative of mine whom I respect enormously, MTV took it to another extreme by calling the women on the show, without explicitly saying the word, whores.

This happened after a guy took off his shirt on TV. So the women got the short end of the stick? If you don’t get it, don’t even try.

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To them, being on a TV show about dating and wanting to go out on dates or –…

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Academia, Love Me Back


It’s not only race at play here, it’s also misogyny and a bunch of bias and feers!
Viva Tiffany, these should be reasons why you will not quit and why your place in academia will make a difference.
Last night, I had a conversation with female Middle East Scholars who were discribing the misogyny, patriarchy and lack of ethics among the male scholars in the field. How they undermine women, abuse their position to build on others research and work, and ostracize those who are too humble or too proud to make a scene. I am sick of it!

TIFFANY MARTÍNEZ

My name is Tiffany Martínez. As a McNair Fellow and student scholar, I’ve presented at national conferences in San Francisco, San Diego, and Miami. I have crafted a critical reflection piece that was published in a peer-reviewed journal managed by the Pell Institute for the Study of Higher Education and Council for Opportunity in Education. I have consistently juggled at least two jobs and maintained the status of a full-time student and Dean’s list recipient since my first year at Suffolk University. I have used this past summer to supervise a teen girls empower program and craft a thirty page intensive research project funded by the federal government. As a first generation college student, first generation U.S. citizen, and aspiring professor I have confronted a number of obstacles in order to earn every accomplishment and award I have accumulated. In the face of struggle, I have persevered and continuously produced…

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An example of what is at stake in this election 


The Montana incest/rape victim did not receive justice because the minor child, violated by her own father, could not find anyone to speak in her favor. Not even her own mother, who pleaded the judge to have mercy on the rapist because his two sons needed him.To say that the judge gave the rapist a 60 days sentence because his misogyny, and the fact that he was moved by the sons need of their father were enough disregard the savagery of the crime and keep the daughter’s violator in the same house with her.

To say that the justice system needs the pleading of a victim for it to work is the textbook definition of discrimination and misogyny! That is why, until we have more women in the senate, on the Supreme Court, in cabinets and in the presidency, laws written by men will continue to serve men, or at least lack a woman’s perspective, the other half of our society, until now almost very silent, and after November 8, more and more vocal.

It is on each one of us Nasty Women to step up and get to the voting polls and #VOTE!! for #women, for #equality, for #justice, for the #LGBTQ community, for the #underdog, for the #environment, for our #children! #YallaVote, #ImWithHer, Hillary Clinton 2016 Hillary Clinton 1 Million Strong For Hillary Clinton in 2016 #NastyWomen #MadamPresident

Here is the feature in the #WashingtonPost about the stories of two teenage girls victims of rape and incest in Montana and California, USA.

Two fathers raped their daughters. One got 60 days in jail. The other? 1,503 years in prison.

Orlando Massacre: Hate, Extremism and Gun Proliferation


Rainbow-FlagI am infuriated about this atrocious act of hate in ‪#‎Orlando‬ ‪#‎Florida‬ and concerned about retaliation and escalation of violence and hate against both the LGBT and Muslim communities.
Let me be clear, hate and discrimination against the LGBT community is a common practice of bigots of all faiths, it is not foreign to the United States, in fact it is brewed here at home.
When US states and politicians pass laws and regulations that legalize state discrimination against their own citizens and spew hate and self righteousness against the universal right to love, to raise a family and to live in dignity; when all of this is happening at home, and when homophobia continues to be the feeling and the practice of many Americans of all faiths, I urge you all to look at this heinous crime beyond the ‪#‎ISIS‬ lens but also through the lens of the rampant bigotry and homophobia in the United States.
Let’s also not forget that what makes these mass killings possible is the resistance to passing proper gun control laws that make it more difficult for maniacs like Omar Mateen to execute their hate and kill innocent people.
Ironically, the deadliest mass shooting in the United States had to be against an ‪#‎LGBT‬ and a ‪#‎transgender‬ club for people of color, in a republican state, which Governor Rick Scott signed in March a law allowing pastors to religiously object to gay wedding…
And while people like Donald Trump want to reinforce a message of hate to ban all non ‪#‎American‬ ‪#‎muslims‬ from entering the ‪#‎US‬, it’s important to remind Mr. ‪#‎Trump‬ that ‪#‎Mateen‬ is American born, his ‪#‎homophobia‬ was brewed here at home, he practiced his hate for women and his ‪#‎misogyny‬ here at home and the guns he used to kill innocent people were acquired and purchased here at home! So please, spare us your sick wisdom and stupid solutions! CNN Politics CNN International MSNBC Los Angeles Times Hillary Clinton Donald.J.Trump Human Rights Campaign ‪#‎OmarMateen‬ ‪#‎MuslimAmericans‬ Eisenhower Fellowships ‪#‎PrideMonth‬ ‪#‎June2016‬ ‫#‏تفجير_اورلاندو‬

Why Hillary’s win is important to girls, women around the world


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Observing and talking to different people the past few days, I could not help this reflection: mothers and parents of girls are more likely to appreciate the historic moment of Hillary Clinton‘s nomination than mothers/parents of boys.
It seems that, mothers in particular, need to be reminded of all the things they were told they could not be, or do when they were girls. Boys were presidents, girls were mothers, teachers at most…

Girls “were told to not express their opinion too strongly — it’s not polite. To not challenge a man — it’s not ladylike”!

Wake up world, this woman made history for us. And yes it took a First Lady and a Senator and a Secretary of State, probably the most experienced politician who ever ran for president to clinch the nomination for The US presidency. Why? Because it’s a damn dysfunctional sick world that would not give the opportunity to women with less recognition or resume. A first term male senator is eligible to run but not a first term female… That’s why she was pulled away from her initial inspirational campaign message of equality to a more down-to-earth “I am experienced and qualified” kind of argument. Why? Because even her democratic opponent, yes the guy everybody is excited about his REVOLUTIONARY message, whether he was conscious of his misogyny or not, played the qualification argument against her.
Come on people! It’s perfectly normal to pull up the qualified argument against a woman but unthinkable to use it against of the 20 other candidates who ran for the nomination, which none of them match her experience. It’s ironic that out of all these candidates, only Carlie Fiorina, the other female candidate, faced the same kind of arguments. Telling, no?

She has always been a pioneer: for those who don’t remember, she went behind White House and State Department officials, changing her speech secretly at the last minute on her way to China and gave the landmark speech about Women’s Rights at the UN world conference on women in Beijing in 1995.
Her words: “women’s rights are human rights and human rights are women’s rights” scared officials back home. Yet she did not play it safe, she stood tall and made the case for women around the world. (See Full speech and video — http://tinyurl.com/ah9fx=:

Thank you ‪#‎HRC‬ for putting up with all the bullying and finally making history! Your words were spot on: it’s true that: “Tonight’s victory is not about one person. It belongs to generations of women and men who struggled and sacrificed and made this moment possible.”

Thank you #HRC, thank you ‪#‎DEMParty‬ and congratulations to ‪#‎America‬

Managing Your Feelings Is Not My Job


An amazingly well written piece! It so happens that I just read it after I had witnessed the discomfort one man exhibited at the sight of a news report about the historic win Hillary Clinton locked out yesterday. I mean, he was really disgusted he could not even finish is “Salade Niscoise”. And you would think a sophisticated guy in the 21st century sitting in the OBGYN wait area eating a sophisticated Salade Niscoise would be less offended to see women celebrating the nomination of the 1st woman president to a major world leading economy, and what he and his likes believe it to be the greatest nation on earth.
And of course this guy and his likes will be very upset and discomforted at the sight of all these feminists which came out of nowhere celebrating a long due and well earned win.
As my Arab kins would say: yalla ta shouf. Deal with it and be gone!
Here is a great read, for a good cynical laugh about all the bruised feelings of those who cannot be gracious losers, the way we have been for centuries.

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“Whistling girls and crowing hens always come to some bad ends,” my grandma used to say, just before she would tell me that while I was a gracious loser (she was right; I am), I was a “very poor winner.”  By that, my grandma meant that I loved winning too much and that, when I did win, I wasn’t good at pretending not to care.  And, she was right; I do and I’m not; it’s made me a hell of a lawyer.  My grandma loved me and she was just trying to prepare me for what she called “the real world.”

One of the almost unconscious (and completely unpaid) jobs that women are doing all the damn time is managing their own behavior in order to manage men’s emotions.  We do it so much that we’re often not even aware that we’re doing it.  While the Jungian projection is that…

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Only Passionate women run for president


Watching CNN International one of the political commentators described the Clinton/Sanders race as a battle between #Passion and #Pragmatism! I wonder how could one describe a woman’s long journey in public office Pragmatic?
It’s scaring, it’s tough and it takes all the passion in the world to start and finish the race! She’s been making politics better for people, sacrificing her personal life along the way. She’s been unfairly judged all the way and not on substance: scrutinized for the way she wares her hair, for the pitch of her voice and the color of her dress instead of looking at her track record of delivering change and policies in each position she assumed.
That’s why republicans are after her and don’t even mention Sanders! It’s because they know she can deliver, they know she can build consensus, they know she can be trouble because she understands politics and she knows how to make things happen!
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Fighting for minorities is not a political agenda for her, it’s a commitment she has long been upholding. First Lady Hillary Clinton with Latino Children

God knows I’m a dreamer, a daughter or two simple villagers who had not the opportunity to finish middle school. I’m a passionate woman, everything I do, I do out of passion! And so it insults me, deeply insults me, when Hillary Clinton is described as dispassionate and only pragmatic. This is just not right! Not fair and only stands as an argument because she is a woman! Passion is not about the way you keep your hair wild or shout on stage, passion is about commitment to those who have no voice, passion is about a track record of working on civil rights issues, fighting for Children Healthcare, reaching out to minorities when this was not yet a trending issue for politicians to exploit. Passion is about taking all these scars and moving on with a big heart and still be able to sit down at the table with opponents to make the government work for families, single moms, and every person who still believe in the #AmericanDream.
Thank you #Hillary for standing up for me, for taking on all this brutality for me, and for continuing the fight in this totally bias and unfavorable battlefield for me. #ImWithHer #EnoughIsEnough #ArtfulSmear #Misogyny #NoFairGame #DEMdebate
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She’s been fighting for your children and families even before she took public office. A grandmother, Hillary Clinton understands what families needs to grow and stay strong