I’m sick of all the stereotyping going on, not only in the media but also in the minds of people and the daily conversations reflecting their perception of reality, or their denial of it.
For example, there’s this image of the woman running after a man who’s in turn running for his life. You know, the girl nagging about wanting to take a relationship to the next level, make it official, get him committed. Now I realize this happens, especially in a society were single men enjoy more liberties that those enjoyed by single women or married men, while married women obtain this imaginary new status that gives them a sense of superiority over those who are still outside this social circle. Yes, I understand that. But I also understand that this image of the girl with pinkish dreams and stars in her eyes is a naive generalization that no longer works.
You see, girls can take commitment seriously too, even to the point of being commitment phobes. Victimizing yourself as a free bird trying not to fall in captivity is quite absurd and senseless. You might think a girl has nothing to worry about because here in our society it all falls on the shoulder of the man, and I agree that they do shoulder a huge burden in that regard which makes them refrain from the whole thing altogether, but that doesn’t mean every girl is the queen of England, just sitting there looking pretty without a care in the world on her mind. Let me give you a few examples of the concerns a girl could grapple with when being or even considering a serious commitment:
1- Financial burdens: Hello, 2013 to 1910, this is future, apparently men are no longer the only hunter-gatherers in the family, women are busting their spinal cords off working too to put food on the table. Look around you at any middle class family, you’d see men and women working all day to support their families. This friend of mine who, before getting married, didn’t have to worry about leaving her job if she didn’t feel comfortable, she would stay home and get her pocket money from her mother or brothers. But after she got married things were different. Now she can’t afford to leave her job no matter how much she hates it, because she has a house, and a son, and her husband’s salary alone can’t pay all their expenses. So, it’s goodbye to shopping whenever you feel like it, now there are more important things you need to save for, like diapers and milk bottles.
2– Social commitments: You think it’s fun to have an entirely new family you need to keep up with? New occasions, weekly visits, events to attend, blab la bla. I mean, sure it could be fun, those could be nice people but still it’s a new item on you agenda, multiple items.
3- Spousal and household commitments: You know how a man feels that he’s making the ultimate sacrifice by coming home early instead of spending the night puffing argeeleh smoke, arguing about politics and playing cards with his friends. Some sacrifice! You want sacrifice, I’ll give you sacrifice: It’s giving up the liberty to sleep in every morning, waking up and then going out or even going to work without worrying about a house you need to clean or a husband who would sulk if he came home to find that you didn’t have time to cook that day. Seriously, you know sometimes I wake up in the morning and I think of all the things my mother does around the house, which she doesn’t even let me worry about leaving me to my own work, and I think: How would it feel to wake up and realize there is an entire house you need to clean? That your daily mini heart attack. And please don’t get me started on when children enter the picture, any woman would tell you her ambitions would be reduced to going to the bathroom by herself, in peace.
4- Pressure, pressure, pressure: As a woman, you are expected to do all the above, go to work, have children, take care of the house, cook, and magically look your best, not only because your husband believes everything he sees on TV (If Nancy Ajram can do it, then so do you), but also because you would feel like crap if you looked in the mirror and couldn’t recognize yourself behind all that extra weight and disheveled hair. But you know who deserves a kick in the gut? That same man that compares his wife to TV personalities while he sits around the house in a white sleeveless undershirt, because he’s a freaking Casanova who looks charming just as he is! Whatever…
This is by no means an attempt to portray commitment as a mistake that should be avoided at all costs. Not at all. I actually believe it could be a beautiful experience depending on how you choose to deal with it, among other things. What I’m trying to say is: Don’t let yourself fall under the false impression that, as a man, you’re doing something heroic by going into commitment or that you’re the only one making a sacrifice. She might be making an even bigger sacrifice you know, it’s a two-way street, nobody has it easy.
Monday, January 25, 2010
This morning, a certain memory crossed my mind
My cousin and I went for a ride one evening, I was a new driver. We drove for a fairly long distance on highways, pressing down on the accelerator with a kick-down every now and then. Cutting to the chase, we soon started to hear a strange sound and there was a weird smell in the car. Just when I pulled over and reached my hand to pull the hand brake up, I realized that it was actually on all that time
The stench of smoke filled the car and we had to get out. I looked at the left rear wheel and there was smoke coming out of it. I panicked and started calling people to know what I should do. We sat on the pavement waiting for the car to cool down and the smoke to stop. It wasn’t a busy area, more like a highway with light traffic and a few scattered buildings
Now, imagine the scene: two girls sitting on a pavement in the dark next to a smoking car. I couldn’t help but find it weird that nobody actually stopped to ask what was wrong. We didn’t really need help but what if it was someone who did need help? It was disappointing
What reminded me of this is a small encounter I had this morning. I had left home as usual checking the time so that I start my daily race to work. EVERY MINUTE COUNTS. I rushed on my usual route realizing soon that I was going a bit too fast for a rainy day. As I reached the airport road, there was a car pulled over to the side of the road and there was a man standing beside it, he looked like he was waving at me, motioning with his hands trying to stop me. I gave him an odd look but didn’t stop, not only because I was in a rush but also because of residual Xenophobia that I developed few years ago, I feared strangers. Also, because in the back of mind there was that socially instilled presupposition that girls don’t to stop to help strange men
But as I passed him by I did some quick thinking. It was broad daylight, it was a busy area and the man certainly didn’t look like a thug. He looked like a man in trouble. So, I pulled over with a sudden steer about a hundred feet away. The man came running and told me he needed a car jack. We opened the trunk and start fishing between the equipment that I was surprised I had there, but I was sure there was a jack somewhere. I was thinking of calling work to tell them I’d be late but then it turned out that the jack wasn’t the type he needed
For a moment there, I felt relieved that it was, and I’m angry at myself for that. It’s as though I did my part so that I won’t feel guilty about not trying to help, but at the same time I could continue on my way to work normally. It made me question my motives: When I do something, do I really want to help people or do I just want to feel good, to silence that voice within, and to rub it in the face of my conscience
Could a human being be selfish even in the most selfless of situations, or is it only me
Sunday, September 27, 2009
“أنا مش بكسة بندورة”
يا ترى كم مرة سمعنا هالعبارة من كم بنت؟ طبعاً معروف إنه هاي العبارة تقال عادة عن الزواج التقليدي، لما ييجو ناس يشوفوا بنت عشان بنت يخطبوها وبتيجي أم بتعاين البنت من ساسها لراسها، فمن هنا يتولد شعور البنت بأنها بكسة بندورة أو أي نوع خضرة آخر فور ذات ماتر…
لكن اللي توصلتله جديد إنه مش هاي الزيارات التقليدية هي اللي بتخليكي بكسة خضرة، بالعكس، الموضوع أبعد من هيك، لا تزعلوا مني، إنت يا حبيبتي بكسة بندورة، وبكسة بندورة برخصة كمان، ليش؟
لما تيجي وحدة تتفرج على صور صاحبات بنتها على الفيسبوك عشان تنقي منهم عروس لابنها، بتكوني بكسة خضرة…
لما وحدة تفتح الييربوك تاع الجامعة وتتطلع على صور البنات وتطلع أرقام بيوت أهاليهم وتحكي تسأل إذا ممكن ييجو يعملوا زيارة بتكوني بوكسة خضرة (إذا كنت بيضا وعيونك خضر فتوقعي تلفون بيتكم برن كتير، الحلم العربي)
لما مديرك في الشغل يقول لك إنو ما بدو إياكي تلبسي حجاب عشان برستيج الشغل، ولازم تحطي ميك أب وتلبسي لبس معين عشان الزبون بدو يشوف منظر يسر عنيه بتكوني بكسة خضرة
لما تكون نص الدعايات والأغاني تكون فيها واحدة لابسة من غير هدوم بهدف الترويج للمنتج أو الأغنية بتكوني سلعة، أو بكسة خضرة
لما صاحبتك او قريبتك تاخد صورتك تورجيها لناس بدوروا على عروس عشان يحكموا عليكي ويشوفوا إذا شكلك بناسبهم بتكوني بكسة خضرة
لما تعرفي واحد كم سنة أو حتى كم شهر وبعدين تضلي تنقي عليه وتترجيه عشان ييجي يخطبك ويا عالم يهرب أو يستسلم وييجي في الآخر، بتكوني أسوأ من بكسة خضرة
لما تروحي على عرس وتتعمدي تلبسي أواعي مش المفروض تنلبس إلا في غرف النوم أو
لما تروحي على عزا مزبطة حالك ولابسة اللي على الحبل عشان بركي وحدة شافتك وعجبتيها، بتكوني عملتي حالك بكسة خضرة
فبالآخر، بلاش نضل نحكي عن الزواج التقليدي إنه سوق خضرة، أنا وحدة من الناس اللي صعب عليهم يستوعبوا فكرة الزواج التقليدي أو أتقبلها، بس مش عدل نضل نجرح ف يالبنات اللي بتزوجوا تقليدي ونحكي عنهم بكسات خضرة، خلينا نكون منطقيين ونحكي بالمنطق: لو كان الموضوع بصير ضمن الضوابط الشرعية، يعني الرجل ما بشوف من المرأة إلا وجهها وكفيها وما كانت لاطة حالها مكياج ولابسة لبس غريب عجيب، يعني كانت بشكلها العادي زي كل يوم، ما أظن إنه رح يكون حكم عليها من شكلها، ساعتها كيف بدها تكون بكسة خضرة؟ وأكتر إشي بقهر اللي بقول لما تكون البنت محجبة: بدي أشوفها بدون حجاب… ومين كاين إنت؟ يغني بالمنطق، إذا شفت شعرها وما عجبك رح تبطل؟ هيك بصير الموضوع سوق خضرة… لأ وبعدو يقولولك في فتاوى بتقول إنه بصير، وين هالفتاوى هاي؟ ولو سمعت هيك فتوى ما بقتنع فيها لأنه فيها نوع من الإهانة والتحجيم للمرأة لما تسمح للرايح والجاي يستعرضها كإنها بكسة خضرة
فسبحان الله، الدين ما خلا إشي إلا وحطله ضوابط، مش بس عشان الفتنة ما تنتشر في المجتمع، عشان المرأة كمان تضل كرامتها محفوظة وما تصير بكسة خضرة للرايح والجاي…
Saturday, May 30, 2009
Few years back, I was walking in the neighborhood with a friend when we heard the screams coming from one of the houses in the street. They were the sounds of a man and a woman who seemed to be having a big fight. He was cussing her and her mother out and then it sounded like he started beating her. You might think those things only happen in movies, but what we heard was so loud and so intense like those things you see in Arabic movies, or worse, in Kuwaiti Drama.
Few years have passed since then and although I passed by that house many times I didn’t hear similar noises again. I always wondered about the family though, but didn’t give it much thought, not until 2 days ago when I heard 2 neighbors talking about a woman in the street, who turned out to be the same woman I heard fighting with her husband years ago. It wasn’t over yet.
They said that the people who live next door to them hear them fighting all the time. They said that they heard their children crying while their parents fought and called each other names. They even said that from the sound of it the man seemed to be giving his wife a beating. They said they fought day and night and the neighbors could hear it all.
That night I stayed up at night thinking how this marriage could have survived all these years of possible physical, verbal and emotional abuse. What could’ve become of the children? Why are these people still together if they fight so much? Then I remembered the national campaign about domestic violence and how everyone is responsible, especially when it came to the children, and that’s when I started to seriously consider reporting them to Family Protection.
To tell you the truth, I still have my doubts about this. I mean, this woman must have endured all those years with her husband for a reason, so what if she refused to cooperate with the police or denied any abuse? But then I thought about the children. I mean she’s an adult and she’s free to do what she wants but it’s not up to her to expose her children to all that violence and abuse. But again, I thought that although this doesn’t seem like the happiest family on earth, but what if this intervention made it worse? What if the children were caught up in an ugly divorce and instead of watching their parents slamming each other at home they could be dragged to see it in court.
I’m really not sure what to do, but to think of what this could turn into I feel responsible to take and action to nip whatever might happen in the bud.
So, what would you do?
So the other day I went out with some friends from work, it was one hilarious evening with some maliciously good food, junk food that is, nothing fancy. However, one of them wasn’t that much into this kind of food so she picked up some pastry on her way. By the time we all arrived, her food was already cold. So, she suggested that the only guy who was with us would go and ask someone is one of the restaurants to heat it up for her. Everyone was like: Give me a break! Do you want us to make a fool out of ourselves? So, after some failed attempts she gave up and grabbed a piece of her cold pastry.
Mean while, I was staring at her and at her cold food. In a matter of seconds, I held some hectic mental negotiations, some sort of an inner conflict. What would happen if I tried to get her food heated up for her? It seems embarrassing, but is it really? Then, as I figured out later, my subconscious mind came into play, and what I learned from Stephen Covey’s book about being principle-centered, and how people-centered individuals get embarrassed easily. Am I people-centered? I really hate to think so! So, I had to prove it to myself.
The next thing I knew, I grabbed her plate and got up from the table. “What the heck! Give me this.” Everyone looked at me with a puzzled look as I made my way between tables holding a plate of pastry. I went to one of the restaurants and explained the situation to the guys working there (Although I think I shouldn’t have, I need more training) And as I expected, they were very nice and even heated up in the oven instead of the microwave so it stays juicy.
I’m not gonna lie and say I did this because I’m too good and perfect to let my friend have her food cold. In fact, I’m gonna admit that my objective was purely ego-centric. I was challenging myself. Would I be principle-centered enough as to care less for supposedly embarrassing myself?
So, I was proud of myself, and Tubby was proud of me too! He kept pushing me until I did it. I’m loving Tubby these days, he’s making me feel very good about myself. Hope his schizophrenia won’t catch up with him for some while.
You may laugh if you want, but I really wish I can send this to Stephen Covey to thank him for the positive continuous effect his book is having on me. Eh, maybe someday…
Originally Posted on Tuesday, October 30, 2007 on http://oeliwat.jeeran.com/archive/2007/10/364727.html
There has always been so much talk about working women. While some people defend it ferociously, others seem to take a firm stand against it, justifying their position by different reasons, related to family, children, motherhood, etc. However one reason that cause some women to give up their jobs, and push men to resent the idea and sometime prevent their wives from going out to work is one that might seem plausible enough, while if you look closely you’ll probably find that it’s in fact an emotionally driven reaction for a problem that must be handled in a whole different way, that being Sexual Harassment.
First, let’s take a look at what sexual harassment is. Before anything else, sexual harassment is an act of sex discrimination, viewing women as objects open for men to fulfill their whimsical desires. It also implies that some men think that once a woman is out of her home, she’s up for grabs, and that they can violate her if they want to. Thus, sexual harassment is an insult to women, and even if it entails no physical harm, it’s very hurtful for women’s feelings, confidence and self-esteem; however they try to convince themselves that it shouldn’t be. Of course, sexual harassment isn’t only physical. It can take different forms starting from leering; making sexually explicit gestures; displaying sexually explicit objects, pictures, posters, or pinups (Visual) to derogatory comments, epithets, slurs, jokes; unwelcome sexual advances, propositions, or demands for sexual favors; unwelcome comments about an individual’s body or appearance (Verbal) and finally unwanted touching, such as patting, pinching, hugging, brushing against another’s body, coerced kissing or fondling, physical assault (physical).
Thus, you might be thinking now that more women than you originally thought are subject to sexual harassment at work. This is the very idea that makes many men in oriental societies refuse firmly that their wives be part of the labor market. Understandable? Yes. Right? I hardly think so.
So, we all agree that sexual harassment is hideous, unaccepted and sometimes unbearable. But is it enough reason for a woman to give up a thriving career?
Let’s set the record straight. In sexual harassment, there’s an abuser and a victim. In many cases of office sexual harassment, the victim backs out and retreats in silence, while the abuser stays there to harass other women. In a perfect world, the harasser would be reported, fired or punished in any other way. So, when others see that he got what he deserves, they will refrain from such acts and everyone continues to work happily ever after.
Now, most people find it hard to have it done this way. Although we realize that the woman here is a victim, and that her honor and dignity haven’t been undermined, it remains very hard and heavy to spill the beans. But again, silence and backing out won’t solve the problem, but rather make it worse; for abusers can exist anywhere, not only at work, so what would you do?
Let’s try to see this in another light…
Would you stop walking in the street because of pick-pockets?
Would a store be closed down because of shop lifters?
Or, would you rather get those busted to get what they have (or haven’t) seen coming?
This might seem different, but at the core of it, it’s not that different. This is a crime, and that is a crime too. This is an abuser and that is a felon. No one should get away with impunity, and you have the right to work just as you have the right to shop or walk in the street. And the word “right” here fits into place, bearing in mind that in Islam, a work is an obligation for men, while it’s a right for women, no strings attached. So, if God gives me this right, why would I let one ill-mannered human take it away?
You do the math.
Disclaimer: Sexual harassment isn’t only committed by men against women. It happens the other way around and between individuals from the same gender. However, this post addressed women because it is much more likely that women would quit their jobs on that account than men would.
Today something happened that made me kind of furious, and I thought when something arouses your anger, there’s no use denying it, complaining about it or cussing out whoever started it. What the heck! Don’t let your fury go to waste, just seize the moment and write about it, maybe it would ring a bell somewhere.
So, everybody talks about different kinds of abuse against children. Physical abuse, sexual abuse, emotional abuse, etc. Now physical and sexual abuse are kind of more definable, but when it comes to emotional abuse, it’s the more tricky one. For kicks off, let’s state the fact that emotional abuse underlies every kind of abuse you can think of, but this is not the tricky one, because here it can be spotted, you know something is wrong with the child and it need to be fixed.
The emotional abuse I’m talking about is that we, adults, exercise on daily basis against children. I’m not saying it’s more dangerous that the former kind, but what might make its consequences graver, is that it might go unnoticed, and it can build up silently, and before you know it, it turns to something really ugly.
As adults, sometimes we forget what it feels like to be a kid. Worse yet, somewhere in the back of our minds, we think that we have the right to take it out on them whenever we feel like it. Be it anger, frustration, worry, you name it. Sometimes we even recruit them in our battles against other adults. They become a scapegoat for something they have nothing, absolutely nothing to do with. Why? Because we can, and they have to be “good” kids and obey.
Please, those who have kids, the next time you have a fight with your neighbor, you don’t have to prevent your son to talk to their children. And when you fight with your spouse, you don’t have to ask your child to take sides! If you are a teacher and have woken up on the wrong side of the bed one morning, try to leave your screwed up mood at home, and if you couldn’t, just skip school that day. Newsflash: Those creatures you see as helpless brats good for nothing but playing and bugging the crap out of you are real people, and one day they will be full grown ups, even better than you and me. You don’t wanna be responsible for destroying that, you just don’t…
Leave children out of it, just leave them alone
Originally posted on June, 12 2007 on
I’ve been talking to a friend yesterday about this particular subject, and I just realized that it’s way too complicated and sensitive issue that I thought. I suppose that all agree that domestic sexual harassment, or whatever it is called, is the most hideous form of sexual harassment ever. And when I say “domestic”, I mean the one coming from relatives (i.e, uncles, cousins, brothers, fathers, etc).
I used to think that these things hardly exist in Jordan, given our Arabic and Islamic values. Sadly, those values seem to be entirely brushed aside, by less than senseless, sick and depraved people. I was told that this subject coming from a girl has bad implications. Well, to hell with implications, I know that I am at the farthest point from those issues, thank God. It’s a sensitive subject I know, and it’s hard to bring it on the table But, I’m telling you, this attitude won’t get us anywhere. If you are not suffering from this, that doesn’t mean you have to detach yourself and neglect what’s behind the scenes. Especially that, ironically, those who are being sexually abused are the last ones who are wiling t speak, and they are justified in that, someone’s gotta do it for them.
As awkward as it may seem, I think there’s no way to get to the bottom of this problem except by bringing it to the light. And once the cat is out of the bag, it becomes hard to bring it back in. But, it’s not so easy in practice as it may seem in theory. The first thing you have to bear in mind is, if you want get the testimony of a girl or a boy who had been sexually abused by a relative, that means you are undermining a whole household, and not everyone is ready to do that, not to mention the repercussions on the victim, given our traditional social system. An-other thing is the social consequences, meaning that going public with such an issue might cause a wave of panic and distrust among people from different families.
Well, this is one issue, and leaving a kid to suffer what could later ruin their lives and other people’s lives as well is another. So, what do we do? First, if you still have doubts about the existence of such cases in Jordan, let me quote some of the stories I heard myself from people who were sexually abused in their childhood…
One of them, a girl in his early twenties, we were talking about general subjects which led to her releasing a long-held secret. She said she never told anyone about it, and seemed so uneasy after talking about it. She said she was home alone with a relative she highly admires. She wouldn’t give me a name despite my pressing her to do so. She said that she was just a kid; nonetheless, she knew something was wrong. Till this day, she can’ believe it happened. She even went back to doubt it happened, supposing that it was nothing more than an innocent physical gesture.
The other story is about a teenage girl, I don’t know if I’m going to say this, but it’s just too disgusting and abnormal to talk about. Maybe later…
Anyways, what do you think of a girl who is being abused continuously by a very close relative, then she just choke it up, and let him control her life! How could he convince her that he cares for her safety if he is the one who is violating her in the first place. How will she ever trust men is she couldn’t trust those who are closest to her?
“It’s not as bad as you might think” One victim said. Well, I think it is as bad as I think, actually it is worse than what any mortal mind is capable of gathering in a whole lifetime, and I think she thinks that too. But, why would she convince herself that it is not that bad? Apparently, trying to live with it…
I think I have to gather more of my mind, so I’ll just use a common way-out… End of part 1
Orginally posted on Wednesday, September 06, 2006 on http://oeliwat.jeeran.com/archive/2006/9/91275.html