New Feminism: 3 stories from Egypt, France and Brazil

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New Feminism: 3 stories from Egypt, France and Brazil


Deena Mohamed is a 19-year-old Egyptian graphic designer. She created Qahera (which means ‘conqueror’ in Arabic) in 2013. She is a superheroine from a webcomic who wears a veil. She fights against hatred of women and fear of Islam at the same time.


One story is about the topless “sextremists” from the Ukrainian group Femen. ‘Their type of feminism and freedom does not include Muslim women and they make Muslim women seem not human’ says Mohamed. ‘It is not a problem that they do not wear clothes - I don’t care about that and Qahera doesn’t care about it.’

Qahera also fights the Egyptian men who attack or make problems for women. She helps the women win and hangs the men from lamp-posts.

After the revolution in Egypt, more men are making problems for women in the street. Harassmap keeps a record of this; Graffiti Jarami take back the right of women to be in a public area - they paint pictures of powerful women on walls; men and women from Imprint (a group that started in 2012) walk around Cairo’s metro and city streets in high-visibility jackets to stop attacks and help people understand what’s going on.



Put on a false beard and walk into a space of power. This is what the French action group La Barbe (‘Beard’ in English) do. With no invitation, they walk into important French events where there are mostly men.

‘We show them what is happening, like in a mirror,’ says Chris Blache, from La Barbe. ‘We walk in and say to the men – “this is beautiful, fantastic, nothing has changed since the 19th century! Keep it like that.”’

La Barbe started as a protest against the people who were very sexist about Ségolène Royal when she ran for president in 2007. A little later, it grew into all areas where there are not enough women.

‘We found that men were also leading the very respectable groups – leftwing, civil society groups and the arts. They said, “Oh my god, how can you do this to us? We do good every day” or “But art is not the same as other areas!”’

People noticed this effective method and it became more popular. Women now use it all over France and the world, eg. in Australia. In Mexico, it is called Las Bigotonas – ‘the moustaches’.

Blache says it’s a good idea for all women to take a false beard with them all the time, because they might need it.



I don't deserve to be raped

A 28-year-old Brazilian journalist, Nana Queiroz, is fighting against people who think rape is the fault of women. Last March, she took a photo of herself topless with the words ‘Eu Não Mereço Ser Estuprada’ (‘I don’t deserve to be raped’) written across her body [on the front cover of New Internationalist July/August 2014].

She was very angry because, in a survey, 65% of Brazilians said they think women deserve rape if they wear sexy clothes. The research later said it was only 26% who think that – but this is still a quarter of the population.

Many people saw this photo on the internet and made their own similar photos. So Queiroz met President Dilma Rousseff. Now she is helping to create a document to plan how to educate schoolchildren about gender issues.

NOW READ THE ORIGINAL: (This article has been simplified so the words, text structure and quotes may have been changed).