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“Not really surprised…” –me, on The Drew Barrymore article from EgyptAir

Some of you have been asking me about my reactions to the Drew Barrymore article published in EgyptAir’s inflight magazine…first, I laughed at the tweets (how could you spell “Barrymore” incorrectly–you wrote an entire article about her!?)…then as I read more quotes from the article, I felt disheartened to see that the writer twisted her words to make it sound like motherhood is the ultimate calling for all women, everywhere.
Then again, this was written by an Egyptian woman from an older generation than me–a woman raised with different values, norms, and unquestioned beliefs about how women should live. She wrote an unfavorably partial article on an interview she had with Drew Barrymore. English is not her first language, and the standards of journalism in Egypt are–dare I say–nowhere near the standards we are used to in the United States.

It was sad to see an article like this going to print- but then again, I’m not surprised. I’m not surprised an article like that was published in Egypt’s in-flight magazine. Nope, not at all. After living in the Middle East for seven years and learning Arabic from zero–along with many of the cultural norms and attitudes toward women–I honestly wouldn’t have batted an eyelash if I had been on that flight and read it. Why? Go visit any country in the Middle East – UAE is great for starters. In Dubai you’ll see biased articles in national newspapers, misspellings on menus, signs and billboards…hell, even my first book–which was published in Saudi Arabia by a Saudi publishing house–had a misspelling on the front cover. The freakin’ front cover!

So in response to your requests for comment, all I have to say is that I’m not surprised.  Thank you, next.


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