Higher Heels, Bigger Dreams comes as an act of defiance to all those norms, rules, customs and traditions that hung around me, and many a woman, from infancy like a dark cloud. It is a worded rebellion against the double standards that rule a society which is so obsessed with unrealistic ideals, which is so absorbed in hypocritical standards that sickens me to the depth of my soul. I have, thus, granted this book all green lights to take me back down memory and dreams lane, to instances and moments I thought I have forgotten about, to some secrets that I buried too deep, and others I never dared to write about: Honour, virginity, domestic violence, sexual harassment and all the atrocities that go unheard of, unspoken about, and unseen are given a voice in these pages.
It is a breath of fresh expression of the stories that many a brave soul has graciously shared with me. A tribute to the faceless and nameless ones still governed by silence, shame and fear. May you find your voice within these pages, may you rise to break the cycle of wrongful abuse, to dust off the shackles of outdated customs. It is an invitation, too, may you assume your gender with dignity, wear your scars with pride, slip in those super heels, and march on, head caressing the skies, towards your dreams.
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The book comprises four chapters; each deals with a topic and an issue that concerns women, gender being the very first. I, and many a woman, are born into the realisation that our sex is not quite as welcome and celebrated in the family; had it been a boy, there would certainly have been a party. The dilemma follows us as we grow. The education we receive from our mothers and teachers never seems to demystify the mystery that enshrouds our sex and body, and we are left with half-truths, patched answers, and loads of questions.
In chapter two, I go very personal and deep into the toxic family drama, the inexplicable animosity, and inexcusable pain my mother, siblings, and I were subjected to from my father's side. Instead of being a source of love, support, and compassion, they dedicated their life to seeing us down and drown in misery, which we did. Even the loss of our father was not enough to quench the evil fires of envy flaming within their nefarious souls.
Honour and its intricate complexities are the centre of chapter three. Arab society is obsessed with the preservation of honour, that of its daughters only. As part of their non-education instruction, they are taught to protect the family's honour at all costs. Is it ironic, then, that most cases of sexual abuse happen in the family, at the hands of fathers, brothers, uncles...?
The wickedness reeking from the world around us occupies chapter four as I bring out topics of body image and shaming, social scrutiny, rightfulness of dreams, and the soundness of a career. Each comes with a hefty ransom of judgments, self-consciousness, and heaviness that weighs on our lives as women.
The book pushes you to pose the question if you have not done so before; had I been born a boy, would my birth be more joyous? Would I be entitled to a more comprehensive education, shame-free? Would my family harbour less hatred towards me? Would society give me a chance to breathe, live, and be?