..how those little battles bit at you like acid

Saudi Arabia stuck to me, followed me home and shadowed me through my days, tainting the way I perceived men and women everywhere. Back home in Cairo, the cacophony of whistles and lewd coos on the streets sent me into blind rage. I slammed doors in the faces of delivery men; cursed at Egyptian soldiers in a language they didn’t speak; kept a resentful mental tally of the Western men, especially reporters, who seemed to condone, even relish, the marginalization of women in the Arab world. [..]

People asked, always: What’s it like, being a woman [in Saudi Arabia]?

You are supposed to say that you were privileged, because you had a pass to the secret world of local sisterhood, to a place where faces showed and words were honest. You are supposed to say, in an almost mystical voice, “I could write about the women“.  [..] And then, too, the truth is not really easy to admit or articulate. You can’t admit how dirty it made you feel, the thousand ways you were slighted and how flimsy your self-assurance turned out to be, how those little battles bit at you like acid. Men who refused to shake your hand; squatting on the floors with men who refused to look at your face because you brimmed with sin, not one glance in an hour-long interview; the sneering underfed soldiers who hissed and talked about your ass when you walked past.

– Megan K. Stack, Every Man in this Village is a Liar (2010)

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