Drain Cleaner, Feminism and Home Economics

CONTACIt is a truth universally accepted that clogged drains are a nuisance. When TBE HQ was recently the victim of this scourge of humanity, our brave drains and sinks correspondent snapped into action.

Having purchased a product called al-Amlaaq CONTAC, he began reading the directions on the back of the package. After completing the initially mandated procedures, he came upon this headscratcher: “Put an appropriate quantity amlaq of pipes.” Seeking clarification of what an “appropriate quantity” might be, considering the total lack of direction in that regard in the English directions, he hoped that perhaps the Arabic instructions would clarify things: “ضعي كمية مناسبة من العملاق في المواسير” No dice. 

A couple points to ponder in this short instruction:

  1. Perhaps in Arab countries (or in Jordan, where I gather this particular product is produced) students in home economics classes are taught the appropriate amount of drain opener to use for various levels of cloggedness. This imaginary scenario was followed by an extended reverie in which your humble editor-in-chief fondly remembered his own time in “home ec.,” like that time we made some absolutely scrumptious cinnamon sugar toast using the theretofore unbeknownst to TBE oven addendum, the broiler. Oh sweet days! This was followed by a rather less savory thought that while “home ec.” (which was actually just cooking) was a required subject, simple “ec.” was not so much as offered. TBE hereby blames the economic crisis on home ec.
  2. One ought to notice that the verb used here (وضع) is a command in the feminine form. Being a rather progressive myn (that’s the masculine form of womyn, for my less progressively-inclined readers), TBE’s drains and sinks correspondent is well aware that all and sundry cleaning products are marketed to women, both here and in the West. But he was nonetheless unprepared for this assault on his mynliness from a humble drain cleaning product. Usually in the more PC provinces of Arabic usage, the feminine ya is affixed after a slash (ضع/ي), though I guess if they really wanted to represent 4 the ladiez they could write it like this: ضعي/-ي. On the other hand, in academic writing it has become fashionable to use “she” when referring to an initially ungendered construct, so maybe al-Amlaaq was using it in that sense. TBE guesses that in languages where there is no neuter (non-gendered) way of speaking we will always be sexisming in some sense. And even in languages where there is a neuter form there is sexism, since to neuter means to make a male animal sexless, whereas the corresponding act for female animals is called spaying. TBE wonders if German feminists use terminology that includes masculine, feminine and spayed forms in order to subvert the dominant grammatical paradigm.  

All the ingredients you need to create your very own literary salon (Arabic feminist linguistics poetry/al-Kitaab 3 flashback and cinnamon-sugar toast recipe) after the jump.

  فيتو على نون النسوة
   سعاد الصباح  
إنَّ الكتابةَ إثمٌ عظيمٌ..
فلا تكتبي.
وإنَّ الصلاةَ أمام الحروف…حرامٌ
فلا تقربي.
وإنَّ مدادَ القصائدِ سمٌ…
فإياكِ أن تشربي.
وها أنذا
قد شربتُ كثيراً
فلم أتسممْ بحبر الدواةِ على مكتبي
وها أنذا…
قد كنتُ كثيراً
واضرمتُ في كلِّ نجمٍ حريقاً كبيراً
فما غضبَ اللهُ يوماً عليَّ
ولا استاءَ مني النبي…
إنَّ الكلامَ إمتيازُ الرجالِ…
فلا تنطقي!!
وإنَّ التغزلَ فنُّ الرجالِ…
فلا تعشقي!!
وإنَّ الكتابةَ بحرٌ عميقُ المياهِ
فلا تغرقي…
وها أنذا قد عشقتُ كثيراً…
وها انذا قد سبحتُ كثيراً…
وقاومتُ كلَّ البحارِ ولم أغرقِ…
إني كسرتُ بشعري جدارَ الفضيلهْ
وإنَّ الرجالَ همُ الشعراءْ
فكيفَ ستولدُ شاعرةٌ في القبيلهْ؟؟
وأضحكُ من كلِ هذا الهراءْ
وأسخرُ ممنْ يريدونَ في عصرِ حربِ الكواكبِ..
وأدَ النساءْ..
وأسألُ نفسي:
لماذا يكونُ غناءُ الذكورِ حلالاً
ويصبحُ صوتُ النساءِ رذيلهْ؟
يقيمونَ هذا الجدارَ الخرافيَّ
بينَ الحقولِ وبين الشجرْ
وبينَ الغيومِ وبين المطرْ
وما بينَ الغيومِ وبين المطرْ
وما بين أنثى الغزالِ،وبين الذكرْ؟
ومن قالَ:للشعرِ جنسٌ؟
وللنثر جنسٌ؟
وللفكرِ جنسٌ؟
ومن قالَ إن الطبيعةَ
ترفضُ صوتَ الطيورِ الجميلهْ؟
إني كسرتُ رخامةَ قبري…
وهذا صحيحْ.
وإني ذبحتُ خفافيشَ عصري…
وهذا صحيحْ.
وإني اقتلعتُ جذورَ النفاقِ بشعري
وحطمتُ عصرَ الصفيحْ
فإن جرحوني…
فأجملُ ما في الوجودِ غزالٌ جريحْ
وإن صلبوني.فشكراً لهمْ
لقد جعلوني بصفِّ المسيحْ…
إن الأنوثةَ ضعفٌ
وخيرُ النساءِ هي المرأةُ الراضيهْ
وإنَّ التحررَ رأسُ الخطايا
وأحلى النساء هي المرأةُ الجاريهْ
إنَّ الأدبياتِ نوعٌ غريبٌ
من العشبِ…ترفضهُ الباديهْ
وإنَّ التي تكتبُ الشعرَ…
ليستْ سوى غانيهْ!!
وأضحكُ من كلِ ما قيل عني
وأرفضُ أفكارَ عصر التنكْ
ومنطقِ عصر التنكْ
وأبقى أغني على قمتي العاليهْ
وأعرفُ أنَّ الرعودَ ستمضي…
وأنَّ الزوابعَ تمضي…
وأنَّ الخفافيشَ تمضي…
وأني أنا الباقيهْ… 

Cinnamon-Sugar Toast

One loaf white bread, preferably Wonder brand

Butter, room temperature



Preheat broiler to 425 degrees Fahrenheit. Arrange bread on a shallow baking pan. Spread butter evenly on all slices. Add cinnamon and sugar to taste. Place pan directly under broiler. Remove from oven when the bread has achieved the desired level of toastedness.



Filed under Academics, Conspiracy Theories, Home Maintenance, Linguistics, Politics, Reviews, The Boursa

4 responses to “Drain Cleaner, Feminism and Home Economics

  1. Juicey


  2. Rebecca

    ها أنذا قد أكلت كثيراً من التوست بالقرفى

  3. propagandin

    my favorite post to date. a little part of me thinks (hopes!) that my specific personal enjoyment was taken into consideration while composing. there’s no need to destroy that fantasy.

  4. Thalia

    bravo! I’ve been shown.

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