A female face in a sea of mustaches and beards: We went looking to document women’s rights and found a street vendor selling bread in Amman.
By Masa Masri and Tara Tarawneh
When we chose the topic of women’s rights for our photo journal, we knew we wanted to document something that was closely related to Arab culture, something that couldn’t be found outside of our region.
Our photo journal is about a woman we met on the streets of Amman. She’s one of the only female street vendors selling kaak — bread covered with sesame seeds — that we have come across.
Our streets are heavily populated with vendors selling orange juice, grilled corn, tea, kastana (chestnuts), fruits, turmus, sha’ar banat (candy floss), miska (mastic gum) and kaak. Most of these vendors are men.
Seeing a female face in a sea of mustaches and beards was refreshing, so we stopped to talk to her. We wanted to hear what she had to say about the issue and what experiences she had to share with us.
We were surprised at how much she had to say, for to customers, these vendors are mere intermediaries between us and our tea. (She asked that we not use her name.)
Speaking to her and hearing her story made for an enlightening experience, and we were reminded of the importance of supporting women like her in our society.
She also reminded us of a book, entitled “Sit al Kul” (Everybody’s Lady), about a Palestinian fisherman who was the only female in the business and who faced many struggles and criticism because her gender didn’t “fit” her job.
Like the character in the book, our kaak lady took on a job that was expected to be for men.
(For more articles by students on women’s rights, click here.)
Masa Masri is in her third year of high school at King’s Academy in Madaba, Jordan. She enjoys Language and Literature classes, as well as Art History. Outside of school, she enjoys tennis, photography and creating art. She is a member of a club that advocates for social justice in the Middle East.
Tara Tarawneh is in her third year of high school at King’s Academy in Madaba, Jordan. She is deeply involved in the Humanities Department and enjoys English and Art History. In her free time, Tara likes to draw, take photos and visit art museums. Tara also enjoys meditating in nature.