The struggles you’ll only understand if you’re a Middle Eastern girl


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The struggles you’ll only understand if you’re a Middle Eastern girl

‘Your English is SO good!’

A human melting pot of two cultures that oppose one another both socially and politically, being a first-generation Middle Eastern girl in the West certainly comes with its assumptions.

People assume you’re religious by default

“You’re Muslim right?” – a classic. Many assume we’re religious simply because we, well, look a bit different to them. Pretty narrow-minded hey? Would it be correct to say all Europeans are devout Christians? Our parents’ home country may be religious by law, but we’re not in that country – are we now?

‘So isn’t *insert name of Middle Eastern country here* like really dangerous? Is it a third world country? Isn’t there a war going on right now?’

No, no, and no.

Contrary to public belief, not all Middle Eastern countries are war-torn and impoverished.

Getting stopped in public by strangers and being asked if our brows and lashes are real

We’d pay off our student loans in a heartbeat if we had a pound for every time this happens. Exiting the womb knowing how to thread and our brows already being on fleek – mate, it’s a lifestyle. I’m not sure whether to laugh or cry at the fact that our hair grows at 234565432mph though.

‘Are you a terrorist?’

Do I even need to justify this one

‘Middle Eastern women are sooooo oppressed!’

Western media has fooled the world into thinking that every single woman from the Middle East is ‘oppressed’. Yes, women may have been treated unjustly in this part of the world, but regardless of what you may think – sexism is a GLOBAL issue. We live in a world that, unfortunately, sees women being subjected to disrespectful treatment absolutely everywhere.

Let’s not be ignorant and solely attribute all the world’s problems to a single region. Here’s some advice: don’t believe everything you read, see, or hear.

Traumatic cab experiences

We literally cannot get into a taxi without our driver (typically Middle Eastern/Asian) assuming we’re religious, asking us which country we’re from, our views on sex before marriage, how we feel about arranged marriages, THEIR thoughts on arranged marriages, our relationship status, a creepy compliment every 30 seconds etc.

This legit happens 95 per cent of the time. We’ve learnt to stick it out simply because we have places to get to. Honestly, the amount of times we’ve asked someone to ring us just so that they’ll stop asking us weird questions. An uncomfortable experience to say the least…

‘Are you from like Dubai or something?’

Contrary to public belief, the UAE isn’t the only Middle Eastern country in existence.

‘Random selection’ at airports

Every. Single. Time.

Just tell me you think I’m a threat to the general public rather than saying you “inspect every 26th person”. Taking me to some tiny back room where you aggressively empty my hand luggage and investigate the entirety of its contents – I mean, my MAC studio fix fluid must be so dangerous right?

Questions include:

“What is the purpose of your trip?”

“Are you travelling alone?”

“Where’s home?” “


‘My friend is Middle Eastern too – maybe you know them!’

We’ve all been approached by someone claiming their pal knows us, whether that’s a good or bad thing.

‘Your English is SO good!’

People automatically think we’re immigrants just cos we have a different look to them. What a time to be alive. It is possible to have foreign parents who moved to the UK, just FYI.

‘Why do you always wear black?’

It’s clearly because us Middle Eastern girls are dark and bitter af. I’ll stop wearing black once they invent a darker colour.