Written by: Mariam Khattab – 14 years old
Have you ever felt like what you are saying goes in one ear and out the other? Welcome to the life of every Egyptian teen. Adults somehow find every possible way to dismiss our thoughts and curiosities with the tried and true “you’ll understand when you’re older” or the unbeatable “you’re too young to have opinions on the matter”.
Teenagers nowadays have more access to knowledge and information than ever before, and usually form mindsets and political opinions based on the articles they read and the news they hear. These opinions are very valid and realistic. But, those who grew up without a vast world of information at their fingertips simply can not understand that the “uninformed innocent youth” is no longer uninformed or innocent.
Teenagers have witnessed and read about the horrors of the real world, much earlier than those before us. They have been exposed to the barbarity of society, whether in the form of blatant sexism and racism, the atrocity that is sexual assault, the corruption that seeps through all people in positions of power, and the conservative mindset of the Egyptian culture. A mindset that encourages women to sit down and shut up in the face of oppression, and doesn’t acknowledge the wrongdoings of their men, nor have them face the consequences of their actions.
Teenagers now form political opinions based on how they view social issues instead of adopting their parents’ mindsets without question. We challenge everything and everyone, from governmental officials to religion. Yet, we are met with no response, “be quiet, don’t ask that” or “you just can’t see the bigger picture”, but we can. We are just as much a functioning member of society as you are, maybe even more, and we fight for what we want, instead of accepting what is given.
We will not settle for a grunt of acknowledgment, and we will shout and scream until our voices are respected and heard.
Further reading: Rahet Bally Teens: The Pursuit of Perfection as a Teen