By Hadeel Hegazy
Last week, the Daily News Egypt covered the initiative created by the Girls Revolution group called Hanlbes Fasateen, or We will wear dresses on 24 August.
Recently, sexual harassment has risen to unprecedented levels and women have been fearful of looking “feminine” while walking in the streets. The campaign was created to encourage women to “take back the streets” despite facing sexual harassment, asked women to leave the house wearing dresses and skirts. The goal was that by wearing dresses and skirts, women would assert their rights in streets.
Hanlbes Fasateen piqued the interest of a number of organisations; The Uprising of Women in the Arab World’s Facebook page, a platform that advocates human rights, freedom, and independence of women in the Arab world issues, strongly stood in support of the event, tweeting: “Egyptian women will wear dresses on 24 August to say no to patriarchal chains, no to harassment and yes to personal freedom.”
The page had asked its followers to tell them about their experiences and re-posted some of the comments: “I went out at the morning in Dokki and Zamalek wearing a white, navy blue, and yellow dress; have a nice morning” said one follower.
Some women expressed their concerns one recounted her fears of walking in the streets while wearing a dress. The group urged her to go in the company of friends, saying that the aim of the event is to “regain the street [as a safe territory].”
The movement garnered foreign attention as well, with comments even coming from Scandinavia. “I will wear a dress to support this. Love you all Egyptian Queens! Greetings from Svea in Sweden!” said one commenter. “I’ll wear a dress on the 24th in solidarity with the ladies in Egypt!” said another.
However, some also considered the initiative quite trivial, worrying that men would consider dresses as invitation to harass them. One Facebook user commented: “Dresses are not going to cure what ails Egypt now. It’s a shallow attempt.”