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Les femmes dans les Balkans (Ejbi Gjasula)

Dernière mise à jour : 26 avr. 2021

Traduction des pancartes, de gauche à droite :

« Emmène ta fille à l’école plutôt que chez son mari. »

« Je ne suis pas ton jouet. »

« Je décide pour moi même. »

Copyrights de la photo :, prise lors de manifestation du 8 mars 2020 à Tijana, Albanie.

Sexism, along with gender equality, is a serious issue in Albanian society, that has only lately gained attention. I was not really educated in this subject until I grew up and started reading about it, I thought that getting killed, offended, or discriminated against just for being a woman was something normal, something that we had to live with. As people called it in Albania, “it was the perks of being a woman”. Over 50% of Albanian women have experienced sexual violence. Women in Albania struggle to lead independent lives due to the prevalence and severity of gender inequality. Sexist laws and cultural norms which limit women’s rights in Albania.

Being self-educated and aware of it since I was 15, it is an almost everyday occurrence that I encounter something sexist towards me or around me. Media as an institution that plays a big role in shaping society, is doing very poor work by feeding gender stereotypes, discrimination based on sex, and especially even the irresponsible, incorrect, and insensible portrayal of stories of sex-based violence.

Being a woman in today’s society is a challenge for all of us. Being a woman in a society where you’re not listened to, appreciated, and equal is something we all have experienced in our life.

I am a woman who was raised in a country where being a girl is being less of a person. Where we celebrate when a woman gives birth to a boy, and when we cry when it’s a girl. I remember that when I was a little girl I liked playing football, I liked hanging out with boys, I didn’t care about having long hair or acting in a proper way so I was always called a “tomboy” by my relatives. I grew up listening to words like, “u can’t play this sport it’s for boys, you should not talk too loudly that’s not how a girl should behave, you have to cook for your brothers, you have to learn how to clean so you can be a good wife, you should not wear shorts in front of you dad or uncles it is not appropriate” etc.

But being an eastern girl that comes from the Balkan it’s more than that, it’s growing up with the expression “who hits you, loves you’”, getting sexualized at a young age and getting arranged marriages.I left my country when I was seventeen thinking that France would be a better place for women to live, but what I experienced here as an immigrant eastern girl was as hard as the things I experienced in my country. I was trying to put a name on what I was living, I felt unprotected and sexualized just because I was Albanian and they think eastern girls are easy to get. I started getting comments, can you speak in your language it sound sexy or I love eastern girls, they make good wives. That’s where I understood that this phenomenon was more common than I thought, it happens in many cultures where women are being hit on just cause they are black, Asian or they come from an “exotic country”, I was not being appreciated for who I was but where I came from. I was fulfilling some sort of phantasm which was created from pornography and clichés.

What is more paradoxical is that we are put in two types of categories, sometimes we are the “good wives cause we come from a culture where we take care of men, we cook, clean and we are good mothers” and “the easy girls because we are often victims of prostitution and we are represented as an object that you can buy with luxury gifts”.

Many Eastern European women are part of the illegal and profitable business of sex trafficking. I was shocked to learn about the ways in which Eastern European women are sex trafficked from the region that I was born in.

The Internet helped me realize how Eastern European women and others like them are marketed as sexual objects and are perceived as commodities. I hope that one day, Eastern European women and others like them, will no longer be perceived as sexual objects. However, until that day, I want people to know that modern-day slavery still exists. We as a society have to help and prevent women from becoming sexualized objects or being perceived in that way.

Ejbi Gjasula

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