How to write about Somali Womanhood

So, you want to write about Somali womanhood but you don’t know where to start. Well, don’t fret because this guide will assist you. It will explore the most important tropes you’ll need in your arsenal. I’ve taken it upon myself to create one that thoroughly outlines how to write about Somali womanhood.

Moralize the survival of women before you  

First and foremost, we have to moralize survival. Moralizing survival is imperative to our cause. Moralizing survival is the precursor to martyrdom. Martyrdom is one of the essential components of Somali womanhood. It’s important to normalize turning down jobs, exciting opportunities, travel and anything else that makes you happy. Just imagine what the women before us went through. Write about the elusive “rewards” that will unfold. Spoiler: no one will reward you for your martyrdom. Who needs freedom, autonomy or self-determination anyways? It’s not like any of these are basic human rights or anything.

Normalize trauma bonding

Normalizing trauma bonding is an integral part of writing about Somali womanhood. It’s absolutely normal to monitor a 28-year old woman’s choices including what she wears, who she dates and where she goes. Trauma bonding justifies controlling and abusive behavior by disguising it as concern.  Stockholm Syndrome. Normalize this bizarre trend.  This is an opportune time to include martyrdom and guilt. Rationalize suffering. Try to find the “lesson.” Cite religious text when necessary. Mental chains are harder to break.

Reduce womanhood to genitalia

This will be your selling point. Why? Apparently, womanhood revolves around our nether regions. Female Genital Mutilation. It’s almost like we can’t mention Somali womanhood without including this. Sometimes, this can become an entire platform of its own. You can capitalize on this stereotype because it’s what people expect. Newsflash: reducing womanhood to genitals is misogynist and insulting. Womanhood that is centered upon our reproductive capabilities is violently patriarchal. Ironically, this has the inverse effect by centering men rather than introducing a paradigm shift altogether.

Here at GabarIskuFilan, thinking outside the box is just one solution. Contrary to popular belief, it’s possible to write about womanhood without mentioning exploitative tropes like FGM, civil war or refugee. I know what you’re thinking: but Fadumo, how are you going to run an entire blog and not include any of the aforementioned? Womanhood is not a monolith. It’s absolutely possible if you’re creative, imaginative and courageous enough. But maybe that’s a big ask.


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