Last night’s disturbing dream featured me reaching the conclusion that I chose to be queer because in response to realising that no man would ever want me. Queerness essentially was my refuge; I embraced the rejectionism of queerness to escape a perceived rejection.
Beyond fears about what this creation of my subconscious has to say about me, it frightens me how seeking and wanting men’s gratification and notice has become woven into our fabric of being.
Despite knowing for well over half my life that I do not in want to have a man exerting himself over my body in any way, shape or form, despite being repulsed by the dominant institution of marriage and the rituals surrounding it, despite feeling weighed down by the heteropatriarchal norms of society, I do acknowledge how crucial it is to be considered worthy of participating in these practices.
One of the most intimate conversations I’ve ever had with several* fellow queer Arab and/or Muslim women revolved around marriage proposals. While we lived in dread of marriage proposals and the excuses we’d have to fabricate, and complained of the heavy burden of the expectations set before us, it ultimately did feel affirming.
And that affirmation is derived from knowing that we willed to reject, that we at the very least teeter on the edges of acceptance and worthiness.
Which brings me to the issue I’ve been obsessing most about lately: finding and defining self-worth in this neo-liberal era. What does a sense of worthiness entail? How does it interact with the myriad forms of marginalisation many of us face – gender, race, sexuality, class, national belonging, disability, etc.? What does it mean to be stripped of worth? Who is unworthy? Am I worthy?
These are a few of the questions that have been playing out in my head all day (and that I hopefully won’t have to dream about tonight).
*Well, six to be precise