Egyptian pornstar, Sherif Taliani, has published two different episodes online discussing the Egyptian activist, Sara Hegazi, after she passed away. When I began watching the first few seconds of the video he shot in London, I assumed he would mourn her, after he had said that they’d spoken twice and she was nice to him. However, the pornstar instead gave a shocking speech in which he attackedHegazi with horrendous language, calling her a ‘Sihaqiyya’ -an Arabic derogatory term used against lesbians, meaning a woman who performs tribadism, pl. ‘Sihaqiyyat’-, and demanding that the Egyptian government suppress any ‘Sihaqiyya’ like her who would go public with her sexual orientation.
This was incredibly distressful discourse, especially when it was coming from a pornstar who is publicly practicing his sexual freedom without being patronized, and even profits from his sexuality! The pornstar proceeded with more astonishing discourse, combining the religious, the ethical and the misogynistic. He went on to say that he does not oppose men being gay, but a woman should not have the right to be ‘Sihaqiyya’ … because “Sihaqiyyat are ugly and they seduce beautiful women, threaten men’s positions, and threaten families.”
In his shocking and widely shared video, Taliani tells his audience:
“I despise Sihaqiyyat, and the Egyptian state should fight them. Any girl who wants to be like Sara Hegazi should be exiled from Egypt and severely punished. I want to say that I’m happy Sara Hegazi was exiled from Egypt after Mashrou’ Leila’s fuckin’ concert, does Egypt really need this? They shouldn’t think of speaking up in Egypt, or else every Sihaqiyya bitch would make another girl a Sihaqiyya like her. I hate Sihaqiyyat, but I don’t hate ‘faggots’ because a faggot could be engaged or married with kids, it doesn’t stop him from starting a family, but being a Sihaqiyya stops women from starting a family. Stop annoying us with talking about Sara Hegazi, we don’t care if she died or committed suicide, we shouldn’t concern ourselves with social disintegration. A Sihaqiyya is an ugly woman who looks like a man, seducing beautiful girls, taking beautiful girls away from us..”
If there were no…
We face stereotypical violent misogynistic discourse against women and the LGBTQ community on a daily basis, but after Taliani’s complex discourse, I recalled the French saying that goes, “Everything would have been alright if there were no penises.” This tremendous legacy of primitive male dominance over females with the penis continues to haunt modern humans. The penis’s authority over man himself allows for him to recall assumed primitive manifestations of his dominance in sexual relationships, his role in family formation, and establishing his authority within his clan or tribe… And then came Sara Hegazi to accidentally ruin Sherif Taliani’s -and other men’s- primitive legacy which reassures them that they’re good enough as long as they have a perfect penis and use it to control females, as well as the entire reproductive process. Any other scenario in which a man would be afraid about not rising up to that imaginary standard is unacceptable.
Sherif Taliani confirms this theory in a series of Youtube videos titled the “Variety Show With Sherif”, in which he focuses on giving men tips on how to take care of their penis, lengthen it, treat premature ejaculation, seduce females, and control the act of sex, thus bombarding men with the age-old promotional idea of virility.
“Evolution specialists believe that due to humans walking upright, the remarkably visible penis became a crucial factor in the female’s choice regarding male fertility, and this female interest in the penis is what prompted its evolutionary development,” explains Dutch author, Mineke Schipper, in her book “Naked or Covered,” translated into Arabic by Abd El Rahim Youssef.
In his virility lessons, Taliani seems obsessed with the difference between straight vs. curved penises, and seems to pity himself for not having the curved version, which, according to him, is the sexier option for women. He has also famously focused on talking about advanced procedures that assist men in choosing their optimal penis, as if he were a live commercial that states that “your male organ needs enhancement,” “enlarge your manhood,” “magnify your love weapon,” “live as a king with your enormous wand, “ginormous dimensions just for you,” or “order your 7-inch penis from here.”
Penis competitions all over the world are an ineradicable phenomenon, as more men associate long penises with more virility and esteem, thus encouraging this ridiculous battle.
With Taliani’s fall into concepts and standards of virility, he also appears to be terrified by the idea of baldness and potbellies as they affect sex appeal according to him, seemingly sadly stuck in a complex web of primitive standards. I was amazed at his videos and wondered why he was still stuck in that web, which becomes increasingly exhausting and pressures him into keeping up with being a timeless mummy, as if no years have passed on his body, and why he never once wanted to revolt against these standards. I wondered how Sherif Taliani would go on with his life as a stud after fifty. Will he break down?
I remember Sara Hegazi once posting on her profile a screenshot of a conversation with an anonymous girl, lamenting that she struggles to find a cultured sexual partner. To her, sex went beyond this primitive standard loop that Taliani is still stuck in. Sara Hegazi was in a developed place particularly when it came to awareness about these things, as her love came from intellect, understanding, and a certain level of partnership in dealing with the world, with humanistic and cognitive enlightenment.
“If I had a daughter who became a ‘Sihaqiyya,’ I don’t know what I would do… kill her?” Taliani coldly asks his audience, a terrifying question coming from a man who constantly asserts his sexual freedom. In one of his videos, he explains, “I have no complexes, I got rid of all complexes, and my life motto is do whatever you want and never be ashamed of it. This is my life, I have sex outside of marriage and this is normal, I’m free to do it, whether people like it or not, it doesn’t matter.”
Taliani who has been living in Europe for years shocks us with the fact that he turned out to be like many others who believe in the type of sexual freedom that maintains man’s dominance over the act of sex, and that the women in his life are no more than sexual partners. Therefore, his fight against Sara Hegazi was brutal, revealing the ugly face of misogynistic horror when women attempt to resist or abandon an oppressive legacy that has existed since the beginning of time.
I chose to focus here on an extreme example such as Sherif Taliani, because he publicly expresses the ideas that are present in the minds of lots of men and even some women in our traditional societies, who share most of Taliani’s ideas but don’t necessarily publicly express them.
On the other hand, we find Noor Selim, son of the actor Hesham Selim who recently announced his support to his transgender son. Since Sara’s death, Noor has been sharing Instagram stories that express to his followers that he was not okay after witnessing the brutal bullying of a dead girl, and adding that he was worried that society’s bullying against this community could reach an even higher level of cruelty. Noor Hesham Selim now faces a report from Egypt’s prosecutor general filed by Ayman Mahfouz, an Egyptian lawyer, accusing him of “promoting homosexuality” in a video according to Mahfouz.
In his report, the lawyer stated that “the war on our culture and morals continues, and the real war facing Egypt is celebrities children promoting and spreading vice and debauchery among our youth.”
One girl posted on Facebook that Noor Hesham Selim’s physical type was “very sexy as a man, and many girls would be satisfied in a relationship with him even if he didn’t have a penis. It’s not about the penis at all, it turns out that being human and brave and having compassion is much more attractive than penis.”
This girl’s statement among others, come as a shock to Taliani and his likes, who have set requirements for women’s sexual attraction, only to find that many females have forgone such standards to step into a territory no one would dare to enter.
Sherif Taliani unintentionally drives us into this paradox by accepting gays and not lesbians. I think this matter goes beyond the idea of forming a family, as it’s common for a gay man in our societies to get married to a woman and start a family, while his sexual orientation and desires stay repressed, but being a lesbian means rejecting the man as a sexual partner in the first place, which intimidates Sherif Taliani and his manly legacy.
Taliani’s fight against Sara Hegazi opens the door to important points that are worthy of serious research and inquiry into the penis’s position and its social and political, and sexual domination. Mineke Schipper explains, “The penis, which is a body organ, could be claimed to be of universal sexual importance. In other words, the common factor is that the penis/glans, which could be claimed to be associated with ideas of manhood (and all symbols and common ideas consistent with this concept), but at the same time, it’s associated with an area of human activity that allows for a limited level of creativity.”
Sherif Taliani’s discourse was heavy, repressive, and security-oriented. I was concerned for days with how to get rid of the heavy impact it left on my thoughts. I was so affected that I was biased and leaned heavily towards other writings by a woman about another woman with no authoritarian or repressive legacy, so I had to read “Mariam, I’m Arwa,” a novel by Egyptian author, Areej Gamal, to cleanse my palate. In that novel, I saw Sara Hegazi, and my heart felt at ease.
Arwa is thin, and white, she walks splendidly like a feather in an inkwell, sometimes wearing a short skirt swayed by the breeze, reaffirming the image; a young boy in a woman’s body, a man beautifully created like no other, hiding in Arwa. She leaves a big space between her legs when moving, her legs tormenting those who can’t sleep between them … She, who lived in Germany, leaned to the floor, gently playing her soft oboe… I’ll live in her image in the prime of her whiteness, leaning, flowing and crying while holding her oboe, saying not just to me, but to the whole world: “Enough.”