Monday, September 22, 2008

Petra, world's first feminist

The Pharaoh of Egypt had five sons and a very beautiful daughter, Petra. As she was growing up, Petra was able to do “men’s work” equally well and sometimes better than any of her five brothers. She spoke often of how the women in Egypt were treated like slaves and that they should become equals to men.

The Pharaoh scorned this behavior and warned Petra many times not to continue to be outspoken. Petra ignored her father’s warnings and began a women’s liberation movement, and soon she had a following of over 100,000 women. The Pharaoh could not tolerate Petra’s actions any longer and sentenced her to death, whereupon the Pharaoh’s guards took her to a cell to await her execution.

With some inside help, Petra was able to escape and steal the Pharaoh’s camel. After hearing of Petra’s plight, her followers were quite surprised to see her ride out into the streets high atop the royal camel. She was the most beautiful woman in all of Egypt, clad in a gold skirt and sequin studded top that revealed much of her perfectly tanned skin. A huge crowd gathered quickly to hear what Petra would say.

Petra called for her followers to shed the old ways and join her in starting a new life. As she said this, she released her sequin studded top and held it high over her head, symbolizing the freeing of all women from their restraints. Then she let it fall and it tumbled over the back of the camel and came to rest on the Egyptian soil. Petra rode towards the Nile as thousands of women followed her, many of them stepping on the sequin studded top to show their anger for the past.

The next day the Pharaoh and his five-year-old son walked the street where Petra had challenged her father’s ways. His son looked down and saw Petra’s top stomped into the ground. He asked his father what it was. “That, my son,” said the Pharaoh, “is the bra that stroked the camel’s back.”

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