Both visually and conceptually, the long effortful process of mahshi preparation denotes gender roles and is metaphorical to how we deal with masculinity and femininity. In local Middle Eastern culture, mahshi is rarely cooked by a man, unless this man is a chef. Moreover, how well a woman can master cooking it, indicates how great of a cook she is, hence a housewife. During evacuation, unskillful hands may result in torn eggplants, indicating how skilled a woman can be in dealing with masculinity. Projecting the process of “evacuating and stuffing” on femininity in Egypt, we have witnessed an undeniable shift in female empowerment in the past twenty years. This in the form of women earning equally to men, starting to lead male dominated jobs such as taxi drivers and butchers. Female independence is also motivated by a significant percentage of divorce rate and singleness (In 2017, an average of 21.7% of divorce ratio to every 100 marriage cases). Thus women started to lead the role of herself being a female, and has “filled in” the role of the absent male.
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