From Falafel to Freedom: The Neck

Marianna Michael

“The man is the head, but the woman is the neck. And she can turn the head any way she wants.” Maria Portokalos My Big Fat Greek Wedding

Women. They are admired in every culture. The one thing that separates them is the pressures of their societies and the roles that they have to play. In America there are many women that have to work and raise their children at the same time. They are known as soccer moms. These soccer moms only have time for two things: work and their children. You also have the more fortunate women, the housewives, who have time for themselves and for their friends. They are the wives that were born from money and have married into money. In Egypt you have much of the same classifications.

The one major difference between these cultures is what is expected of these types of women. In America the soccer mom is not expected to do what she does but she continues to do it because of her devotion. In Egypt, there is no choice for women. If you are a good wife then you cook, clean, and raise your children. If any one of these things is less than impeccable then the woman is viewed to have failed at life and is now susceptible to being ridiculed at every moment. I have watched both of my grandmas and my own mother follow these unspoken rules.

My mom should be labeled Superwoman. She picks me up from the bus stop after working her full time job, rushes home to start cooking, after being on her feet from that moment until dinner is on the table and my father has arrived home to eat, she starts cleaning the dishes and the kitchen since she cannot sit down until all of those things are finished. This is a DAILY routine. It is not like my dad commands her to do these things. Most days he tries to get her to sit down and rest when her face reads of tiredness. But these are the things women go to to be called women. It is as if child bearing weren’t enough.

Here is my call to action. I want you to pick up the phone and call your mom/mother figure. I do not care what nationality you are or how you were raised. If you have someone like that in your life then it means that she loves you very much and went through a lot to give you what she did. I am the worst person out there because I do not tell my mom thank you enough. Seeing all the things that she goes through just to keep me comfortable is astounding. It used to amaze me how protective a mother bear was with her cubs until I realized that my mom was the same exact way. As a teenager I can’t fathom doing all those things and not complaining because that is what is expected. I hope that as I get older I can understand a little more. Until that time comes, here’s to you mom!