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Women in Black 3 - Egypt

Where to start? This week's episode was by far my favourite - I thought it was very well researched, though made a few too many generalisations, as per usual. It talked about my three favourite topics - fashion, blogging and women's health. As per usual, you can catch it for a few more days here if you're in the UK. Here's a short clip from YouTube, and I've also posted some stills at the end of this post from the rest of the show:

I was amazed by how many issues the show covered in the space of half an hour. For someone who is unfamiliar with Egypt, I imagine it could have been an information overload, but I felt I could understand everything that was being said.

So on to the analysis:

Amani introduces us to the world of Egyptian hijab fashion by saying that other Arabs view it as a bit chavvy. It's hardly the glam style of Dubai, but a heck of a lot more interesting! Not to say that Egyptian fashion lacks in style, but when your eyeshadow matches your ring which matches your handbag, which complements your hijab which matches your shoes which match your lip gloss - we've got some problems! Sure it's important for an outfit to be co-ordinated, but using the same two colours throughout is a little overboard - mix it up a bit and add pieces which contrast! If you want to check out Egyptian fashion yourself, have a look at Hijab Fashion magazine.

I absolutely loved the hijab shop that Amani walked into. How amazing were those styles? And what she said is true - that the fashion in Egypt is lead by everyday people on the street, and not by elite designers. And that is something I think is great.

Another topic this episode covered was the booming cosmetic surgery industry. However, this is not confined to Egypt only. Women all over the Arab world are becoming obsessed with having these procedures done. You'd be hard pressed to find a female actress/singer who hasn't gone under the knife! Sabah anyone?

Something I really appreciate the show for including was Egyptian bloggers. In my view, Egyptians are the most prolific users of the Internet in all the Arab world. It's a common past time among young people to hang out 'fel net' - in Internet Cafes. The Egyptian blogosphere is incredibly active, as it presents a medium for people to express views which they are not normally able to. Some of them have even been arrested for doing so! One of my faves is Arima's blog, and she has links to plenty of others if you care to research more.

Amani also had the opportunity to talk to Dr. Heba Kotb, Egypt's first licensed sexologist. Personally, I think she does a great job. Finally there is someone who can talk frankly and respectfully about an issue which is so often considered taboo. What do you think?

'Cairo is ze barty cabital of ze Arab world' - oh yes it is! Egyptians never do things by halves - and they sure know how to have a good time! One thing that really amused me was the fact that many of the Khaleeji tourists objected to the film crew being in one of the popular hang-outs!

We were also given the opportunity to see the wedding of two AUC graduates. It was a thoroughly extravagant affair - live bands, dancers, a troop of cameramen... Obviously this was a very well-to-do family. I'm surprised that the programme did not make any comment about how this very extravagance is what makes marriage in Egypt unaffordable for many young people. There is a huge disparity between rich and poor, and I wonder if they should have perhaps said something about this.

I've caught some stills for those of you who are unable to watch:

Amani demonstrates the art of 'hijabifying':

Amani gets her hijab done:

The answer? They just stand in front of the mirror and create!

End result:

Sharifa Barakat's hijab production workshop:

Amani checks out the Egyptian blogosphere:

Dr. Heba Kotb:
The happy couple:

A hijabi bride:

Now this pic is from next week's episode, which is filmed right here in the UK! I can't wait!

Egypt is definitely a country of contrasts. I reckon everyone should try to visit this vibrant country, and I don't just mean Sharm El Sheikh. Cairo is top on my list of places to visit... ta7ya masr!

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