Wednesday, 7 August 2013

Bent Familia Syndrome!

The other day, some guy for reasons unbeknownst to me, referred to me as “bent familia”*! I didn’t know what to do or say, my reaction astonished even me as I recoiled in disgust, I think it was the first time anybody called me that,to my face at least , I had never questioned if I would ever qualify as a bent familia or not but I always had a secret suspicion that I didn’t quite fit into that category.
I feel the prejudiced judgment this expression carries is too huge to consider it a compliment, so in response worthy of a 5 year old, I said “YOU’re bent familia”.
This way of complimenting a woman on conforming, on her ability to be a doormat, on her passiveness, it is the positive affirmation for adult woman, like saying to a dog or a toddler “good booooy” In an attempt to reinforce 'good' behaviour.
Congratulating her on the way she wears the jebba** and the way she tucks it into the sides of her knickers when she does the cleaning! Sexy! On the way she cooks her mother meals and in anticipation has learnt her future mother-in-law’s too, on the way she matches all her outfits and wears them all below the knee, on her miraculous and science-defying ability to remain a virgin, on the permanent smile she wears on her face, on the way she mimics old people and fits right in with them, on her robotic capabilities to sustain misogynistic male treatment and interpret it as Love.
Her favourite pastime, cardio and therapy are cooking and cleaning, her social exercise is gossip.
She is a Stepford wife in preparation.
The status of Bent Familia is elevated to the highest ranks of society ladders, high on a pedestal (with drawers for the detergents and the aprons). Something every girl aspires to be.
To be labelled a bent familia is considered the compliment, a high place of virtue every girl should aspire to reach, somewhere I don’t want to be, the girls up there are a tough crowd, I don’t fit in with them, they look at me with the same look I used to get from their parents as a child, like the bad influence friend, I want to jump out of this pedestal and look up their skirts, point and scream HA HA!
Ben Familia, is the good girl who played that role for so long, she forgot to stop acting, she can be a hypocritical pseudo-religious puppet who lives up to every silly expectation; she gets married between the ages of 23 - 28 and stays married, she doesn’t laugh like a hyena, she smiles but never shows teeth or makes noise over a 0.2 decibel, her hair is always smooth, tamed and in a the same colour (whereas you probably look like an electrocuted tabby); she matches her bag to her shoes to her bra and knickers (you don’t even match your bikini), she’s considered a safe asset, an innocuous choice (you’re a liability at best of times), she can make a 3 course meal out of an onion and an egg, she is extraordinary in the ordinary, her beauty is subtle, in her shyness and vulnerability; she talks softly never raising her voice (...I GOT nothing), there’s a term for it…Settouta!, she’s as graceful as a mermaid (half tuna, half human), she has a roomful of wedding/marriage (trousseau) items she collects since she was 12, she can pull off any djebba or kaftan, with a full cleavage and love handles that magically appear (you barely look like an adult), she is a virgin, she never had sex, her name is Monica Lewinski, her cousin and her neighbour Omar are her best friends, she never goes out when it’s dark, she wouldn’t upset her dad and brothers.
Oppressed by the patriarchy, It's the only way she will ever leave her parents’ home and the only way she'll keep a roof over her married head.  She has to put up and shut up.
She makes you look bad, you want to hate her but you can’t, she does no wrong, she’s the good girl and you are no match for her.
Dz-chick…bent A familia just not that one!
*Literally it means “daughter of family” but figuratively “the good girl”
**A house dress (long, and preferably sleeveless to allow you to do the house work)


  1. "and the way she tucks it into the sides of knickers when she does the cleaning! Sexy!"

    Bahahaha!!! As if voluminous folds of fabric round the hips are ever a good thing!

  2. Wonderful, I like ur writing , we share many things on common.

  3. I love this one, je me reconnais dans ce 'modele' que je n'ai fini par transgresser qu'une fois endehors de l'Algerie.La j'y suis en vacances et crois moi que c'est dur de voir que beaucoup n'ont pas d'autre choix que de se plier aux normes de 'bent familia' although there are others who are fighting and imposing themseleves

  4. Anonymous it's such an Algerian thing to do, the jebba tucked in the knickers! When I see it I am like ahhhhhhh the world is still alright :)

    Djamel Soufi thank youuu :)
    Saha Eidek

    Thank you, I think there's a little Ben familia in s of us, trying to get out! You have to fight it!
    Playing the bent Familia role means you are plain g up to the expectations of the patriarchal society and the oppression of the women. Ih ih feminism so...

    Djamila Salwawit7 thank you! True true I never lie :)
    Saha Eidek

  5. Saha Eidkoum ya bnate el familia! to me you're all fit in this category, especially the ones who lives in England they are (intelligent,intellectual and well educated) many, many, many success to come from you girls "nasta3ref bekoum"
    Eid mabrouk!

  6. Your list of the criteria that makes a girl deserving to be called "Bent Familiya" is outdated. Hopefully things are evolving slowly in a world that is changing more rapidly.
    There are criteria for being Oulid familiya too.
    What is unfair somehow is that if you loose your oulid familiya status it is always possible to recover it by changing your behaviour while the bent familiya status, when lost, is generally lost forever... No Mercy for women!

    Btw did you watch the tunisian movie Bent Familiya (Tunisiennes in french)?

  7. M hello! Saha Eidek
    You just proved what everybody has been saying, that the bent familia is a subjective concept!
    Thanks anyway :)

    Chatnoir you know I thought it might be the case, because I left Algeria a long time ago etc.. But according to the comments I have been getting it seems to be the current and general consensus!

    It's an intresting point you bring up about wlid Famila (son of family aka the good boy)! I just thought that the concept if wlid familia was absolete since there are none :D

    I found the link to the movie, I am going to watch it soon

  8. 3idek Mabrouk daughter of the family! happiness forever and all that stuff to you and your family...

    Bnet el familia, there is sooo much to say about the topic...
    for ouled el familia I think it can be summarized and categorized by "perceptional" order:
    -The boy who pretends to be polite and good in front of daddy's friends, who respects and blindly obeys his mother and the elder: the good puppy.
    -The boy who obeys his stepmother and his wife and who does nothing without their approval: the "stepgoodpuppy"
    -The rich.
    Having money and obedience issues do you think I will ever marry?:D

  9. "hiiii win rahom wled familiya! Ya hasra! Mabqaouch. Elli mat, mat, welli mazal 7ay hbel" Thus spoke Lady Dz-Chick...


    As a guy who never said klam el 3ib in front of a female, loving his parents, never drinking alcoholic beverages, never smoking cigarettes nor zetla, never listening to Raï music, just swinging his head on the music of Nouri Koufi and having two songs in his mp3 "Mezzaynou nhar el Youm" for el 3id sghir and "Ibrahim al khalil" for el 3id el Kbir, contenting himelf of blushing when speaking to beautiful girls until his mother pick a blond white skinned bent familia for him,

    As a honest wlid familiya,

    I REFUSE THE DENIAL OF MY EXISTENCE (this will be my first and last act of rebellion)

  10. Hahaha you laugh boys!! It's tragic in truth

    El Aswed thanks for the details, I tried to see if I know of one (wlid familia) perhaps only my brother and even then I suspect him of being an ass hole when it comes to girls!

    No I don't think you'll ever marry haha
    You should write a blog about wlid el familia and compare to mine!

    Chatnoir that Dz-Chick is a wise wise woman I tell ya!!
    Wlid el familia is the hypocrite, the self-righteous, the guy who goes to mosque and makes sure eveyone knows it, the guy who only does charity when people are looking, he doesn't drink or smoke shit, he's also a virgin if you don't count his neighbour's daughter and his cousin Hasina, his mother sings his praises and he is the dream-son-in-law...
    Hahaha your act of rebellion renders you wlid el Hram "fils de péchés" haha

  11. "the guy who goes to mosque and makes sure eveyone knows it"

    Some guys in twitter send messages like : "أذان العصر بتوقيت الجزائر العاصمة" : translation : "Look how wlid familia I am."

  12. Maybe he works for the ministry of religious affairs and plastic bottles!
    Yesteday I heard the expression "wlid familia" and I almost said it myself Lool ita catching dammit

  13. I was called "bent familia" a few times and I always felt as if it were an insult or a mockery. In fact, being called that was for me a wakeup call in a way; it meant that I wasn't doing the right thing, I wasn't 'Living the Life', I wasn't transgressing the rules and enjoying what was offered to me!!

    Being called "bent familia" made those uttering that blasphemy wrongfully judgmental to other girls who are not, from their perspective, worthy of being called that cliché that is "bent familia" and therefore not worthy of my respect to their despicable judgmental self!!


  14. Messed up hypocritical society. The same people who get outraged at non-fasters, the very same thieves and thugs that rape Algeria day in and day out
    I find this person calling you Bent Familia extremely patronizing and self righteous. I hate it when people self proclaim themselves to be judges or close associates of Allah. As if by doing so, we would think they are good people and somehow keep their shady dealings away from our attention.
    A large portion of the population have lost hope in Allah and des grands voleurs, but when Ramadan comes they are busy making sure their cover is not blown up in the eyes of others.
    Indeed, The worst catastrophes are those that make us laugh, something is seriously wrong with this society


  15. Blue So we're in agreement ;)
    My favourites are also the ones who have a Hadith or a verse for every situation! Bande de Sal-a-vi

    ATO yes exactly the same people!

    Do you know the more these religious groups speak and act in the name of Islam, the more they're wrong, the more Islamophobia is rising, the more people are losing faith and steering away from religion! It's counter productive and damaging in the short and long run...and it's not our society only!! This tends to prosper any patriarchal society where religion is important.

  16. Hi dz Bella,
    many years ago, or I should say in 60s, 70s and 80s wlid & bent familia was never about who goes to mosque or who wears the hijab. Religion was never involve, it was always about self respect and respect others and of course education and education!!! until the arrival of the Islamist (ali benhaj & abass madani) in 90s, criteria changed to who wear their uniform !
    soon will change to who steal the big money of the country.
    Rabi yastar!

  17. I agree with you M; religion was never involved! It was about respect and being honest and having Kelma (your word).
    Unfortunately, things are being taken out context too often, and people claim to be connoisseur in all aspects of religion; but we all know that it is a very complex matter!

    I'd like to add this: if everyone mind their own business and as the old saying suggests, voir notre propre bosse, well maybe, just maybe this world would be a better place.


  18. Yes I guess definitions change with time and place, anyone's definition of wlid or bent familia is not the same, as is the definition of home or food :)
    The Islamists do have a role to play here I agree...Ykawfou fina!

  19. Mehdi based on your comment, I gather you read about 2 to 3 posts and made your opinion.
    I should stop blogging and get out there according to you? Also who's 2? And who are you calling ignorant? :)

    I understand your comment is an amalgamation of a response to my last post on "bent el familia" and the "32 and single" posts! Perhaps one more! Not sure...shame, since I have been blogging since 2007 and you have missed the thought evolution process that took years of whining and self-ridicule etc...

    Hope to see more from you ...perhaps a more focused response as are my posts :)
    Cheerio for now

  20. I don t agree with you
    in my family , a bent familia is a well educated girl who gets college degree , polite independant and respectful
    i live in France and here , many maghrebis girls aren t bent familia
    they are just chavettes so maybe they are "free" ( aka out of control ) but i don t think it s a good thing too
    sorry for my english

  21. nice blog,,i see a lot of good articles in here,,keep it up peeps :)

  22. DZC
    You have every right to denounce and expose what you perceive as hypocrisy and outdated 7th century mentality.
    There will be a lot of nails hit on the head, as some people read and realize how evil they are, and how little human they are.
    Personally all the hypocrites can kiss my ass

  23. Bent familia
    To me is more of a concept rather than a category of girls with a certain profile dictated by cultural and social values..
    The concept itself simply is about that girl who was born in a socially and financially secure family
    With a healthy balance of siblings ( loving father , caring brother , wise sisters and sh*** load of uncles and cousins ) growing in such an environment will mold a proud character with a self esteem that will be the the motive behind that behaviour we all consider …as metrabia.
    In our Algerian case …as you may know …she is strong willed and smart ..and takes sh** from no one …if she bows then only out of respect to her elders.she faces lifes with the nayf of her family in mind …
    She was always spoiled and free ( the healthy balance of family members ) so she really have no reason to rebel or seek a diferent life …she was never oppressed she doesn t have a clue what submission is …and she can travel and chose a husband even ( sometimes at the cost of loosig her dadys blessing )
    By that I am referring to the well known quote ( benti raki tia khayarti al ben adem hada ….we ma ranish radi 3lih … will get married …be my guest besah ma ranish radi 3lik li yawm deen )
    In our current decaying society …bent al familia is facing extinction more than we dare to admit …after all ….only bent familia can be a mother of a rojla argaz sandid horr …mool nif and kelma ….
    Without her …we are merely a bunch of tahahna …so yes ..she is there …I saw her with my own eyes …she does exist …and there is nor half tuna nor half creuvett …
    She is well educated and yet an excellent house wife ….i dare say …
    Her familys legacy is so rich …she can not possibly be broken …no matter what life throws at her
    I know she is not a fictional character because I have seen them…

    for an algerian girl in london to be facing dilemmas ..that means you have a great % of bent familia in your veins ...and trust me ..i don t mean it as a compliment even if it is ...
    for a single algerian girl in london to be facing dilemmas ..that in itself tells me something !! because from what i have seen ...people will simply blend in and eventually loose their individuality in the mainstream ...i am glad i stumbled across this page ...gotta admit though i only found this page because of wrong search key words on google ..

  24. Hey! thx for your long comment :)
    I think we have all been saying the same thing: The Bent familia is a subjective concept!

    I am not quite sure what you mean by your last paragraph- can you say it more clearly pls :)

  25. Fantôme d'Alger30 July 2014 at 09:37

    I just come to discover your blog, and I am amused by the way feminism is altering the old "bent familia" concept. (although I reaally appreciate you as every "smart" girl)
    What's a bent familia?
    a woman who just worships family above all, as much as the man has to do too. I admit, men, in this regard, usully look for a nice decent "gentille-fille" who can raise her children on good values and push her husband to the best. Yes, a man wants his wife to be the best part of him. It's not abour cooking well, it's about cooking in time; it's not about looking at you cleaning, it's rather about keeping the house clean, and we are ready to share the tasks with you. that is to say we don't want maids, but rather women who save us from our absurd and insane single life style.
    Don't you want a "wlid familia" too?
    A responsible man who doesn't come home drunk, who doesn't shit at you, who takes care of you and your children, who invest time and energy in his family...Don't you look for that kind of guys?

  26. Fantome d'Alger Blogging since Nov 2007 and only now you came across my blog!!!! Get me my PR person. HE IS FIRED.

    I guess I do want a guy like that, I just wouldn't call him "Wlid Familia" because that encompasses so much more and this so much more is always about conforming against your will and at your happiness's cost.
    As for bent el I said before, it's very much a subjective concept, your bent familia isn’t necessarily everybody's elses bent familia, to each his bent famlia ;)

    I would rather just be someone of principle and integrity, who has family values and fun values, who find the right balance between love, work, family,fun etc...all the little details you mention "cleaning house, keeping the home tidy, etre gentille, raising the children" are details that can be discussed and worked out between the couple/parents. it is in no way the women's sole responsibility.

    Bent el Familia exists when Wlid el familia exists. they spring each other on if you will :)

  27. Fantôme d'Alger30 July 2014 at 10:14

    Ok then, I'm bringning you flours next friday :D

  28. Youyouyouyouyiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiii

  29. Fantôme d'Alger30 July 2014 at 10:29

    Sincerly I really appreciate to know "DZ chicks" who have a more subtle conception of life then gossip, even if I find it funny and charming (mignon) to listen to his wife feedback on the way back home from a wedding party.
    Wish you all the best

  30. HA HA well we find it "mignon" to watch you get all worked up over a ball game ;)

    Thank you and wishing you the best

  31. Fantôme d'Alger30 July 2014 at 10:38

    I advise you yo Invoke ghosts when you come to Algiers


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