‘Unwed bride’ roams Cairo in her white dress
Got the message? This woman's viral video project aims to dump taboos about unmarried women in Egypt
An unwed woman is roaming the streets of Cairo in a wedding dress to dump social taboos about unmarried women in the country.
In a viral, award-winning video, Samah Hamdi, 27, is seen riding the subway, walking about, and eating at a restaurant – all while donning her bridal attire.
According to Egyptian news site Ahram Online, an unmarried Hamdi was “tired of being put in a pigeonhole by her family.” She was reportedly inspired by family squabbles over the fact that she is "late" for marriage.
"I just want to appear in the way my family and mother, a microcosm of society, have always pushed to see me in," Hamdi, an interior designer who is pursuing a Master's degree in performance arts, was quoted as saying by the site.
"No matter how accomplished you are, that won't count if you aren't married or haven't undertaken the mission you were purportedly created for: getting married and establishing a family," Hamdi added.
The five-minute video art project produced 56 photographs of Hamdi going about her usual daily routine in the dress. It was shot over the course of almost a year.
“The project only came to light when it was shown in the Cairo Opera House's 25th Salon of Young Artists in November 2014. There was a screening of the video, with the photos displayed on an adjoining wall coupled with twin-texts representing Hamdi's replies to the negative conventional image of unmarried women. The project won the Ahmed Basiouny prize for video installation,” Ahram Online reported.
According to official figures in 2011, almost nine million Egyptians reach 33 without tying the knot, nearly half of them women.
"[Society] believes that any other women's plans or aspirations should serve that end: you become a doctor or pursue Master's so you can land on a doctor or a better prospective groom; you dress this way so you appeal to and attract men, etc."
But Hamdi still faces conflicting ideas within her own family about the project.
“Hamdi's mother … thinks her daughter, whom she views as a ‘spinster,’ played in the stunt a role she has ‘failed to accomplish in real life’ — getting married,” Ahram Online reported.