The Egyptian society has always been described as a “religious society by nature” where people consider sex a taboo. Theoretically speaking, sex is a taboo because Egyptians are so immune to it. They don’t think of it all the time. They don’t dream of doing it every single waking moment of their day. In other words, Egyptians are super humans who defy the idea of sexual frustration, sexuality and libido. However, statistics with reference to increasing sexual violence, sexual harassment and sex crimes claim otherwise. Libido is the name of a short documentary/satirical movie, shared by Girls Revolution fanpage on Facebook although that was without the creator’s consent. Officially the movie was also shared on the movie fanpage ليبيدو – Libido.
The movie is written and directed by Youssef Alimam as a way to mock the Egyptian society in regards to its greatest taboo: sex. The movie became viral on the internet as soon as it was posted, getting slammed for being “unethical,” “obscene” and for diverting from the real causes behind the sexual frustration problem in the Egyptian society. The movie had also received the Youssef Chahine Scholarship award for 2012 before seeing the light in 2013 and stirring controversy.
Libido tells the story of Mazen, an average young Egyptian man and what he faces as a youngster curious about sex up until the moment he decides to put matters into his own hands and “get laid.” The movie treads on forbidden ground by discussing the lack of sex education in Egyptian school and how this problem negatively affects Egyptian youth, inability of parents to discuss the three letter word with their kids and porn addiction that nearly all Egyptian men suffer from.
The movie doesn’t shy away from using Egyptian slang to tackle sensitive topics such as masturbation, making out, using condoms and premarital sex with hilarious illustrations and testimonials from various Egyptian youths. Most of the youths interviewed -boys and girls- were open about their desire to have premarital sex and argued that religiously speaking watching porn is also haram “forbidden” so why not submit to our basic instinct and just “do it?”
Libido also discussed the radical religious treatment of the subject and how defining it as haram supposedly ends the discussion. The movie also tackled the noveau religious movements that promoted fighting “sinful” sexual needs by practicing sports, praying and playing PS3. The movie blatantly made fun of all these solutions saying “none of it worked to alleviate Mazen’s mind from sex.”
In the end, Alimam hints that the girls were totally forgotten from the “suggested solution” section. In a society dealing with girls like pop tarts with an intact “exterior” -also called hymn- which needed to be left that way until their wedding night, it would be nearly impossible to discuss the idea of having sex without challenging the huge and terrifying concept of “virginity.” The abrupt ending closes up on a guy puffing desperately when mentioning girls and the movie leaves the viewer with questions on how far the double-standard society would go to repress its less fortunate members. Even as a supposedly “scandalous” solution could be found for men, women didn’t even have the privilege to think of it.
Reactions to the movie varied from highly praising to downright bashing. Many people saluted Alimam for his courage and his bravado. A lot of the comments on Facebook and twitter, however, were disdainful. Many youths tweeted that the solution provided by the movie was very unethical and suitable only for liberated, Western societies. Most of them said that prayers and fasting actually worked in suppressing sin while a bunch suggested that Alimam should better tackle the reasons behind the difficulties of getting married in Egypt instead of encouraging people to just get laid. Poverty, political oppression and unemployment played the greater part in Egyptians’ sexual frustration, they said.
Watch the movie with English subtitles here:
By: Jaylan Salah