Sunday, January 10, 2010

Feminism: Another perspective

I love Ounsi El Hage the philosopher more than Ounsi El Hage the poet. I will not comment on his poetic side now and I don't believe I do have the right in the first place but I might do so at a later stage. I don't have an opinion about his poetry at the moment although he is blamed for paving the way for hundreds of poets-wanna-be's whom I despise. In his last article -or is it better to say piece of writing- in AL-Akhabar, he subtly criticizes female feminists referring to a saying by Baudelaire and I tend to agree with him. You do not need to reject beauty and despise the female masses and all they do from wearing makeup, shaving their armpits, putting on high heels, using their secret weapons to attract, and highlighting their femininity, to be a feminist. And he was also right to refer to all the contemporary female authors in the Arab world, the wide majority of whom being feminists, who indeed care for their appearance (Alawiyya on the side although I worship her but take Ahlam Moustaghanmi for example).


  1. Laure: that is such a stereotype of what feminism is. This is a construct about feminism created by its enemies. And most Arab female authors are certainly not feminists. Mustaghnami is rather sexist if not more.

  2. This topic most interests me. I remember that article by Ounsi and I also remember how disappointed and furious I was when I read it. And I was unable to finish reading that article in which he lauded Joumana Haddad.

    I do not believe that poetry's true aim to be the reconciliation with those conservative forces that aim to hinder the human unfolding by their focus and anchoring in an illusory human archetype (male and female) which has, as much history and beautiful spirits have showed, been detrimental to the process of our growth and happiness.

    Poetry, inasmuch as I understand it, is for the revolution of the imaginative powers and for the release of their flow by removing the constrictions built by molding and society; it is for bringing light to those hidden corners of our being and thus for the promise of fullness and overflowing.

    Compare, for instance, the atmosphere of Ounsi’s writings on this subject with this here passage by Rilke:

    “The girl and the woman, in their new, their own unfolding, will but in passing be imitators of masculine ways, good and bad, and repeaters of masculine professions. After the uncertainty of such transitions it will become apparent that women were only going through the profusion and the vicissitude of those (often ridiculous) disguises in order to cleanse their own most characteristic nature of this distorting influences of the other sex. Women, in whom life lingers and dwells more immediately, more fruitfully and more confidently, must surely have become fundamentally riper people, more human people, than easygoing man, who is not pulled down below the surface of life by the weight of any fruit of his body, and who, presumptuous and hasty, undervalues what he thinks he loves. This humanity of woman, borne its full time in suffering and humiliation, will come to light when she will have stripped off the conventions of mere femininity in the mutations of her outward status, and those men who do not yet feel it approaching today will be surprised and struck by it. Some day…some day there will be girls and women whose name will no longer signify merely an opposite of the masculine, but something in itself, something that makes one think, not of any complement and limit, but only of life and existence: the feminine human being…

    This advance will…change the love-experience, which is now full of error, will alter it from the ground up, reshape it into a relation that is meant to be of one human being to another, no longer of man to woman. And this more human love (that will fulfill itself, infinitely considerate and gentle, and kind and clear in binding and releasing) will resemble that which we are preparing with struggle and toil, the love that consists in this, that two solitudes protect and border and salute each other.” [Letters to a Young Poet, pg 58-59]”

    The difference is stark. Amid these words, which are no longer words, my spirit breathes easy.

    I have not yet read this book for Rilke; my strongest influence have thus far been Fromm's. My good friend shared Rilke’s quote in this here discussion:

  3. I do not remember Joumana Haddad was mentioned in the piece so I looked it up and it wasn't there cause I assure if it were I would have torn the page up!!!

  4. These were two different articles. Here's the one that Ounsi dedicated to Joumana.