Samah Hamdi is an interior designer pursuing a master's degree in performance arts.
But she is a disgrace to the society she grew up in because she is 27 years old – and still not married.
In order to highlight this pathetic form of sexism and widespread societal stigma associated with single women in Egypt, Hamdi wandered around Cairo in a floor-length wedding dress for a whole year.
She made a video art project of her various encounters as a “groomless bride” on the streets and now it has gone viral.
Hamdi says she was “tired of being put in a pigeonhole by her family,” reports Ahram Online. She was constantly being told that she was "late" for marriage – as if she had no other purpose to live for.
"I just want to appear in the way my family and mother, a microcosm of society, have always pushed to see me in," says Hamdi. "No matter how accomplished you are, that won't count if you aren't married or haven't undertaken the mission you were purportedly created for: getting married and establishing a family.”
Her art project won the Ahmed Basiouny prize for video installation and was also screened in the Cairo Opera House's 25th Salon of Young Artists in November 2014.
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Hamdi says even in this day and age, single and unmarried women in Egypt are looked down upon – no matter how successful they are in their careers.
“[Society] believes that any other women's plans or aspirations should serve that end: you become a doctor or pursue master's so you can land on a doctor or a better prospective groom; you dress this way so you appeal to and attract men, etc.,” Hamdi said.
According to official figures cited by Arham Online, almost 9 million Egyptians reached 33 years without tying the knot in 2011, nearly half of them women.