Women’s rights differ around the world but as a rule the more religious the country the less protections and freedoms are afforded to females. In Egypt, gender roles largely correspond with traditional Islamic family structures. Which basically means that girls have to look forward to a life as a wife and mother, expected to stay at home and cover themselves up in public. Many men view them as objects to own, covet and abuse, as opposed to human beings.
On the second anniversary of the revolution, a serious of heinous sexual assaults were perpetrated in Tahir Square, Cairo. In response, large groups of enraged women took to the streets to show their discontent. Amongst them is Samaher Alqadi, who, camera in hand, goes out onto the frontline to document this uprising. The prospect of impending motherhood also prompts a journey back to her childhood home in Ramallah. This is all captured in As I Want.
As I Want is a powerful and emotive documentary which traces the daily hardships and privations for millions of women living in Egypt. It’s not easy viewing, at times, but Alqadi’s film has never been timelier. It’s an incredibly brave film which both captures the personal impact of toxic masculinity and serial misogyny as well as illustrating the wider trauma it places on a society. As I Want serves as a wake-up call for men everywhere.
As I Want screens at CPH:DOX.