Music to Our Ears: May Matar’s Metlak Mish Ayzin

Most Arab women I know have at one point or another cursed an Arab man and his stubborn adherence to male chauvinism, something that rears its ugly head in patriarchal societies around the globe. This topic usually boils down to this: a man has problem with independent woman.

In a song titled “Metlak Mish 3ayzin” or “We’re not in need of people like you,” singer May Matar parodies popular misogynistic Arabic songs, such as “Jumhoriyet Albi” (or “The republic of my heart”) by singer Mohammed Iskander, which says women should stay at home instead of putting themselves in danger of mean harassers and the tough outside world.

“Jumhoriyet Albi” calls on women to stay at home and take care of their husbands instead of working: “We have no girls here that work with their degrees. Our girls are pampered. Everything she wants is at her service.”

And, get ready for this part: “Assuming I agree that you work, what would we do about your beauty? Your job is taking care of my heart … it’s enough that you’re the republic of my heart.”

The lyrics are so ridiculous that you can’t help but laugh. But it’s not funny when you know that train of thought has supporters. Attempting to guilt-trip women into thinking that making something of themselves is wrong or that their beauty (and not male behavior) will make them victims of sexual harassment should have no place in any society. Matar’s song title says it all: “We don’t need people like you.”

She explains why in this Los Angeles Times article and destroys the argument described in “Jumhoriyet Albi:”

“I have status, I have work and I’m up to the responsibility. Not a hundred managers can give me that indecent look,” sings Matar. “Enough pretending that you are concerned about me. This is weakness and selfishness.”

“Metlak Mish 3ayzin” cuts to the chase with lyrics like, “We don’t want young men from the era of ignorance. He comes and controls us and says ‘This is manhood.’”

And she describes the type of Arab man we need more of: “We have young men who take pride in their education. They are the young men who like girls for their intelligence and compassion. …We’re not in need of men like you who are only concerned about themselves and their lust.”

Seriously. It’s sad that the idea of an educated or financially independent woman is still questioned, not only in the Arab world, but around the world.  “Metlak mish 3ayzin” is a necessary response to the single-minded, out-dated mentality that encourages the Arab woman to underachieve. Kudos to Matar for having the courage to sing about a topic which won her fans and enemies. And let’s not forget that the song’s composer, Toni Abi Karam, is an Arab man.

He tells the LA Times that he wants to “answer every song that comes out against women and “counter every sexist song that is released.”

Now there’s an example men everywhere can follow.

  • http://muslimact.wordpress.com MuslimAct

    From people of many cultures we often hear things like women shouldn’t put themselves in danger of male harassers by remaining outside of the public sphere. This reinforces the idea that men are not responsible for their lust and women must do what they can to escape men desiring them. And the woman who does then disregard those ideas and decides to have a career outside, or be in the public eye, is then labelled as one who doesn’t care for her honour…What a frustrating cycle! What I find interesting is when I’ve heard this sort of reasoning from women.

    Anyway, Toni Abi Karam’s lyrics are refreshing.

  • Salah

    “which says women should stay at home instead of putting themselves in danger of mean harassers and the tough outside world.”

    I do agree ME Women having a lot to worry of themself, but as an Iraqi born live in Iraq this may not apply to other places their during 70′s to lat 80′s women were working moving side by side with men, although the war was very drastic on all women in Iraq but there were a lot to be proud at that time of women in Iraq (sadly this no longer existed in Iraq).

    I think the biggest threat to the society in our Arab world is the new generation and how to teach them to respect and be effective member of inspired society there is a lot to blame laws and orders but the small cell of our society “the family” have a lot to do to improve this matter.

  • http://canlisifa.com/members/UsTvStations7.aspx Ayyy Girl

    From people of many cultures we often hear things like women shouldn’t put themselves in danger of male harassers by remaining outside of the public sphere. This reinforces the idea that men are not responsible for their lust and women must do what they can to escape men desiring them. And the woman who does then disregard those ideas and decides to have a career outside, or be in the public eye, is then labelled as one who doesn’t care for her honour…What a frustrating cycle! What I find interesting is when I’ve heard this sort of reasoning from women.

    Anyway, Toni Abi Karam’s lyrics are refreshing.


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