Egyptian Women of the Arab Spring: A Social Media Revolution (Conclusion)


As Egypt struggles to define a new world order through these elections and beyond, it is important to embrace the historicity and narrative of the people’s struggle for rights over the last century, in particular for women. Women have recently taken to new forms of expression and mobilization – namely, social media tools – and have solidified their presence on the streets of Cairo and in the international media circuits.  Their narrative is now being told in a more personal, reflective and raw way than ever before. Asmaa Mahfouz’s 2011 video rallying cry is analogous to Hoda Shawaari’s brazen public act in 1923: figuratively and literally, these women unmasked themselves to the world in a moment of rebellion and fortitude.  These personal stories are what make a revolution: the deaths of Mohamed Bouzazi and Khaled Said, the abuses and struggles of countless women in the streets, the broken arm of blogger Mona Eltahawy, all depict a tragic –  and yet amazingly powerful – new movement for youth. New media systems capture and depose of terabytes of data every second, and yet in this overwhelming mountain of bits and bytes, we can see a clear story of what it is like to be a 21st century woman and man struggle to gain a better future. Their collective stories shape a movement, and will continue to as long as we have memories to contain them and servers to share them. What becomes of a movement, and women’s struggles to define a new path within, it is still unclear. I am hopeful that these stories, and the indefatigable spirit supporting them, can create a new paradigm for women in Egypt and all those who are watching.   


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