#MuslimGirlStruggles know no bounds. On one hand, Islamophobes are making it extremely hard for us to practice our faith in peace. On the other side of the spectrum, the self-proclaimed halal-police meddle with every aspect of our lives.
So, when a random Muslim man felt entitled enough to lecture Egyptian journalist and activist Mona Eltahawy about her unconventional views, she decided to shed light on the struggles that face women in Muslim communities.
"I love you as a sister, Mona," the man, a total stranger, told Eltahawy in an email. "I say these things with greatest certitude of your Islam."
Being the badass feminist that she is, the New York Times columnist just would not have it. Like many other women in the Muslim community, she is fed up with men policing her every move.
So, Eltahawy called upon Muslim women on Twitter to share their struggles with patriarchy and misogyny in their communities, under the #DearSister hashtag.
"I swear if we scrutinized men way they scrutinize us, they'd wilt and hide at home," Eltahawy wrote in a tweet.
The tweets came pouring in immediately and the hashtag was used over 18,000 times in one day. "To be honest, when I first tweeted it out, I did it almost as a joke," Eltahawy told the BBC.
Women took to Twitter to talk about issues that are often under addressed or tabooed. Using the #DearSister hashtag, they shared things they are tired of hearing from men who interfere with their personal lives, criticize their choices and lecture them on how to be better Muslims. All that under the pretext that they are fellow Muslim brothers.
(Mind you, such guys are often far from being A++ Muslims and their haram tallies are less than stellar. But, apparently, their Y-chromosomes render their wrongful deeds insignificant.)
Muslim women have had one-too-many encounters with such men, and we are fed up. From our brothers, fathers and cousins, to the random dudes on Instagram, we are tired of having every aspect of our lives scrutinized and criticized. We are tired of having our personal beliefs, and the ways we express those beliefs, turn to matters of public conversation.
Here is what every Muslim woman would like to tell these "Muslim brothers". Note that these tweets are solely directed at men with backward attitudes and are in no means reflective of the entire Muslim male population.
Stop hand-picking Islamic teachings based on your personal interests
After all, even the prophet married some strong and independent women
Please take a moment to rethink your double standards
My "honor" is none of your business, thanks
I have ambitions far beyond putting a ring on my finger
Dear husband, I'm your companion and not your servant
Why are you threatened by my progressive opinions?
Gender stereotyping is so last century
And for God's sake, it's high time you stop comparing me to objects
As many Twitter users have pointed out, these regressive attitudes are rooted in culture and society -- or when taken out of the Quran are also taken out of context.
Fortunately, some men are taking note
On another note, why is it so hard for people to learn not to mess with Mona Eltahawy? Guys, it will probably backfire on you, so just save your breath!