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8 Sexist Arabic Words and Phrases that Need to Disappear ... Like, Now

posted on: Feb 23, 2019



It’s 2019, yet it’s still difficult to be a woman in countries all over the world and more so in Arab nations.

This is because most Arab women live in patriarchal states where misogyny flourishes and is bolstered by laws that favor men.

Sexism exists in every aspect of life. It’s even part of the language people use to speak to or describe women across the region.

They are insulting, offensive words that should no longer exist and need to be destroyed.

1. Beyra (Unmarried)

Beyra is an Arabic word that refers to land that can’t be planted and doesn’t produce crops.

However, the word is often used to describe unmarried women.

2. 3anes (Spinster)

3anes means spinster, an unmarried woman.

In the region, it’s often used to insult women who choose not to marry.

3. 3ayb (Shameful)

3ayb is used to describe someone who does things considered shameful.

It’s a word Arab women hear on a daily basis given the fact that they live in patriarchal societies that consider everything “3ayb” for a girl.

4. Feltene (Loose)

An offensive and insulting word used to shame women for doing anything that defies misogynistic and sexist rules.

5. 3eybe (Imperfect)

Yep, some sexist Arab men expect women to be perfect and use this word to label them as “faulty.”

In some countries, people also use the term to disrespectfully refer to women who’ve had relationships outside of marriage.

6. Makenik el matbakh (Your place is in the kitchen)

A phrase used to perpetuate a regressive stereotype that confines a woman’s role to cooking and cleaning for her family.

7. Bas ma inte bint (But… you’re a girl)

The phrase every Arab woman is fed up of hearing.

8. El neswen bi nos 3a2el (Women have half a brain)

An Arab saying that’s become a favorite among sexist men who use it to demean women and deem them less intelligent than men.