I am still reading Isabelle Eberhardt's last book, In the warm shade of Islam, and although I wish I could reprint the whole book right here on my blog, I shall have to be content with publishing a few quotes that really strike a cord, somewhere inside for whatever reason.
In her chapter, Reflections in a courtyard, Eberhardt talks about the ever so contemporary issue of women. I was surprised at her ideas and thoughts, though 100 years old, it seems we still ask the same questions, regardless of emancipation and equality. In the following quote, keep in mind Eberhardt is disguised as a man and just entered a courtyard in Bechar, Morocco.
"I entered into their midst and sat down in a corner of the courtyard. They didn't even notice me. Of course, there's nothing remarkable about me. I'm able to pass everywhere completely unobserved, an excellent position to be in for observing. If women are not good at this, it's because their costume attracts attention. Women have always been made to be looked at, and they aren't yet much bothered by the fact. This attitude, I think, gives far too much advantage to men."
So what do some Arabic proverbs say on observance?
Absar min Zarqaa Al Yamama, which means, more observant than Zarqaa Al Yamama, who apparently was a woman famous for her good eye sight.
Absar min al watwaat, which means more observant than a bat.
The question is, do women face the same predicament today? Are they made to be looked at and if so, by whom? Do they themselves contribute to it whilst being, like Eberhardt said "not yet much bothered by the fact", or is it imposed on them unawarely?