For Women: Egypt’s Commandments


Don’t wear make-up.
Don’t wear your hair long.
Don’t wear short skirts.
Don’t wear high heels.
Don’t wear tight-fitting clothes.
Don’t look sexy.
Don’t bat you[r] eyelashes.
Don’t crack dirty jokes.
Don’t flirt.
Don’t smile at strangers.
Don’t offer to help strangers.
Don’t go out at night.
Don’t go to parties.
Don’t go on dates.
Don’t go anywhere alone.
Don’t attract attention.
Don’t work late.
Don’t trust anyone.
Don’t say yes.
Don’t say no.
Don’t be a woman.
Don’t exist.

A few more that I’ve heard of myself:

Don’t laugh in public.
Don’t chew gum in public.
Don’t be loud.
Don’t sing where anyone can hear you.

I can, also, say that I see all of those things all the time by girls all over Cairo. They may be commandments but it doesn’t mean we have to listen to them.


25 responses to “For Women: Egypt’s Commandments

  1. I cant help but wonder if this place isnt so disgusting because the women do behave like that. Maybe women should begin to know what being a real women is about. And that means – for a start – not behaving like a whore. I dont see why that means we cant exist. But why imitate the kuffar and all that is so “great” about the west.

    Forgive me, maybe I am just in a rotten mood, but I dont get the point of this.

  2. I don’t agree that all the things on this list are true. Nor do most Egyptian “women behave like whores” And you’re blaming societies problems on women is misogynistic in itself, UmmTravis.

  3. Wearing hijab and having boyfriends? Closes so tight that your fat falls over your waist? Mixing freely?

    I didnt say all societies problems are the fault of Egyptian women or that all women behave like whores. But maybe if people started behaving themselves this place wouldnt be such a dump.

  4. I agree with the last statement! Most people in Cairo need to learn how to treat others with respect and dignity. Manners are sorely needed in 99.9% of public situations.

    However I personally believe that if men learned how to behave themselves, things would improve immensely.

    Um Travis, I greatly respect your opinions, but I’m curious how you think that women dressing a certain way (conservatively) will improve Cairo?

    I’d love to pick apart the first comment but I think that you’re having a rotten day and its not fair to attack someone when they are venting. 🙂

    Mona- Most of the things on the list are things I’ve heard. Not from my husband specifically, but from friends’ husbands or fiances or in general.

  5. It is not about dress, it is about behavior. A shy, polite girl wouldnt dress like that to begin with in public. It all comes back to religion and behavior (or practice of religion) of men or women. But since you started the post about women that is what I mentioned.

  6. I agree that people need to behave correctly and a lot of behavior here is plain unIslamic.

    Clothes while they should adhere to Islamic guidelines but plenty of Non muslim people in many western societies are able to behave better than people here do.

    The behaving like whores thing was a bit much though.

  7. Actually sis Mona, I wasnt referring to Egyptians or Muslimahs but woman who behave like whores according to what was listed in the picture above. My apologies for the confusion.

  8. No worries. Molly you should post this list again detailing each one weather they are cultural or Islamic, you know?

  9. Don’t wear make-up. “Right”
    Don’t wear your hair long. “Right”
    Don’t wear short skirts. “Right”
    Don’t wear high heels. “Right”
    Don’t wear tight-fitting clothes. “Right”
    Don’t look sexy. “Right”
    Don’t bat you[r] eyelashes.
    Don’t crack dirty jokes. “Right” would any wife like her husband to tell her dirty jokes that he heard from his co-worker “the girl”.
    Don’t flirt. “Right”
    Don’t smile at strangers. “Right”
    Don’t offer to help strangers. “wrong” and it depends on what kind of helping
    Don’t go out at night. “is it safe to go out at night in the states?”
    Don’t go to parties. “depends on what kind of parties and the ppl in it”
    Don’t go on dates. “Right”
    Don’t go anywhere alone. “wrong”
    Don’t attract attention. “Right”
    Don’t work late. ” the same value of dangerous”
    Don’t trust anyone. “Right” and they say in the business don’t trust the American merchants” lol
    Don’t say yes. “depends on what’s yes for”
    Don’t say no. ” depends on what’s no for”
    Don’t be a woman. “wrong”
    Don’t exist. “wrong” who will we bother if there’s no women?

    A few more that I’ve heard of myself:

    Don’t laugh in public. “Right” but you can fart in public.
    Don’t chew gum in public. “wrong” only if you would open your mouth”
    Don’t be loud. “Right” Allah said the same to the prophet’s wives?
    Don’t sing where anyone can hear you. “Right” is the woman can call for the prayer?”

  10. HAHAHA

    good one

    Im sorry for being so mean. Bad day.

  11. if a muslim woman wants to have a boyfriend and wear tight clothes, then that’s her choice. who cares.
    molly- you should do a DON’T post for the egyptian men there too 😛

  12. “you should do a DON’T post for the egyptian men there too”

    Sometimes that seems to amount to “whatever you’re thinking of doing right now, just. Don’t.” 😉

  13. hahahahahaha…trueeeeeeee!

  14. I didn’t feel like these are really commandments for women in Cairo. Some of them, yes… but I felt like Cairo accepted that I exist and i felt pretty comfortable there being myself. The major problems were the things that people see as religious when it’s really cultural… Anywho…

  15. If we read some of the posts from our fellow bloggers in the gulf, we will notice that women who:
    1. wear all black, loose abaya with niqab
    2. don’t free mix
    3. don’t date or go out with boys

    are some of the rudest people. They shove you, they cut in front of you in line at the grocery store, they elbow you to get that tomato you’re looking at.

    When my husband first landed in Algeria in August 2007, after almost 14 years abroad, he told me that it was a jungle. He said eat or be eaten. Out of the window his manners went. There are no lines. There is no excuse me. There is cutting and knocking women out of the way without saying I’m sorry.

    These issues aren’t solved by women’s dress, free mixing, or dating. I would say a place is a dump more because of the attitude of the people and not how they dress. Bad day or not, that comment was not very nice.

  16. Naseem- I can’t do a DON’T post for men, there is almost nothing that they are told not to do by the culture.
    It would be a short list.

    Mishu- so right. soooo right.

    Umm Abdu- Thats exactly my point. It is eat or be eaten, the people here are so rude.

    Candice- Cairo is the most liberal of all the cities in Egypt for sure. But its still there.

  17. Umm Travis- I figured you were having a bad day so I didn’t pick apart your comment. It wouldn’t be fair.
    And you did, sort of, have a valid point as well.
    I hope you’re having a better day… me no… *sigh*

  18. I still prefer the gulf. If people are gonna cut in front of me and act all rude and stuff at least I dont have to look at ever roll on their body.

  19. This is a shocking list – particularly its “finale” (“Don’t exist”). Listen, I’ve lived in the UK for almost half my life, and I still am not entirely accepting or understanding of some of the UK’s customs, traditions, culture – whatever you want to call it. For you to think that you’re going to settle in any given country and feel at home is a tall order, I think.

    Two particular things about Egyptians today: they are in a bad place (granpa Mu has been around for too long, he’s no leader, and he’s been deeply demoralising), plus they say things without careful deliberation or thought – to release, to put out there, to discuss. So, I wouldn’t trust everything I hear from Egyptians in casual conversation.

  20. I was walking behind a girl once whose abaya was so THIN and so TIGHT that I could tell the only thing she was wearing under it was a thong.

    yep… thong.


  21. First of all, I’m not the hottest chick on the planet, but I’ve been hit on in the library after studying all night – unshowered, unmake-uped with my hair in a pony tail in an oversized men’s track suit. I’d say I was looking quite the opposite of sexy and certainly, so “sexy” is apparently in the eye of the beholder. And as a woman, I’ve certainly solicited unwanted attention while dressed conservatively and minding my own business. So have many of my girlfriends.
    Secondly – don’t wear my hair long? Why?
    Religion dictates what I can and cannot do, and my husband has his own preferences, but other than that – everyone can go jump off a bridge. Seriously.

  22. I have to agree with UmmAbdurrahman. People’s dress says little about how good a person they are.

  23. Umm Travis, looking at a body is worse to you than being treated rude? REALLY?

  24. Sorata, I’m sorry, I’m not going to approve your comments because this post is 3 years old so you can’t say that she was whining during the revolution.

    Also your comments were rude.

    I invite you to comment on things nicely, even and especially if you disagree with something, but these two comments you left are much better left directly on her blog. Mine is not the correct location for your vendetta.

  25. Hi again,
    actually most of the things you have mentioned in your list are more God’s orders to us (Muslim women) we have received those orders from God and have applied them till they became a part of our tradition (such as wearing a hijab. many hijabis dont even know that we (muslim women) should wear it. you’d have known better about that if you have lived in the Gulf) so we are not used on seeing a girl with hot short? or a girl laughing out load? or a gaudy look of a women. and when we (Egyptians) see women as such, they receive bad treatments, dirty looks etc. yet, i cant say that all Egptians act as such, but the close minded do so. Probably all of the commandments in your list are just to avoid such dirty words or looks.
    If your were a devoted muslimah you wouldnt porbably care about this list or what your hear from people since you will be only following what God is asking us to do, actually that is the best list anyway “should” follow.

    Thank you
    Although i didnt like the list much, I enjoyed reading your and people’s point of view.

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