Egyptian Hashtag Game #WeWillHarassMen Flips Sexual Harassment On Its Stupid Head

The digital activism comes at a time when people are protesting for women's rights, following the rapes of five women at the inauguration of the prime minister…


by Sophie Wilkinson |
Published on

Following the public rapes of five women during the inauguration of prime minister Abdel Fattah al-Sisi in Cairo, and protests following the emergence of a horrific video of one of the women being attacked, Egyptians have taken to social media to deride the rape culture they live in. The #WeWillHarassMen (as it’s translated from Arabic) hashtag is one long exercise in gender-flipping and sarcasm. It trended across the country overnight, with more than 20,000 tweets tagged with it.

By turning the sexual harassment around to make men the victims, the examples they give end up seeming laughably ridiculous, such as saying men deserved harassment for the tight trousers they wear, or that they’re asking for it because they don’t wear the veil, reports the BBC. (Some of the tweets they link to have since been removed).

But the point is these are the sorts of things said about women being victims of sexual attacks. Switching the genders of this harassment shows how ridiculous it all is. Though there was opposition to the hashtag – one woman pointing out ‘I dislike this hashtag, you can’t solve a problem with the same level of thinking that created it’ – we’re not convinced it was meant sincerely. In a country where 99.3 per cent of women have experienced sexual harassment, you can sort of see why at least a few might want to rise up to get their vengeance against men, so a few of the tweeters might have been genuine misandrists.

However, for the most part, it seems like the hashtag is a simple way of showing why it’s so stupid that Egypt’s female population have to put up with endemic sexual harassment. And though a trifling hashtag might not seem to be able to get loads done, remember it was social media that helped the Egyptian uprising at the beginning of the Arab Spring. Maybe, just maybe, this hashtag can help more women feel united in the fight against the horrific treatment they’re put through.

Follow Sophie on Twitter @sophwilkinson

Picture: Getty

This article originally appeared on The Debrief.

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