How comfortable is our society for women?

As I mentioned after Eve's brilliant Linalone interview: enough politics for two minutes. We can impose change in society as much as we can in politics and more. Many interesting issues were brought up in the interview but I choose to talk about our society and how it contributed in shaping Linalone's decisions.

Suffocated, misunderstood, resignation... oriental are the words we can find defining aspects of society in the interview. Is Linalone the only one who feels this towards our male dominated community? Whether we like it or not, in our society; traditional oriental ethics still rule as the law. Maybe the younger generation now is more westernized but it is still ruled by the tradition.

Needless to say that everything a boy does here is at most "experimental", whether whatever a girl does is "suspiciously indecent" and more. I don't know how they can take so much pressure in order to keep the "good girl" image. And if they don't, they are not "decent", not a "bent 3ayleh".

it's not only the fault of the parents, most girls here adapted to the system, that's why a certain Fawwaz Traboulsi once said: "Lebanese girls are very open-minded in their dress code, but their openness ends here".

Ridiculous is this society, with its infinite moral codes and taboos. In the same time, heroic is this society for its openness relatively to our neighbours in Syria and Saudi Arabia... But do we have to wait for TV to change our lives or for grandmas to change their ways of thinking?

It's also funny how secterianism also affects society; we Lebanese like competition, each clan tries to show it takes care of its morals more than the other. We even race in strictness and "decency".

And all this is happening under the supervision of the Lebanese male. I'm so sad that in these times, where a family shoudl be a group of friends, we still have the father as head of the house here. I'm not being extreme, I'm not saying we're the Taliban, just that the majority of women are just Passive to everything around them. I for one am turned off by a woman who just waits.
And when a girl like Linalone is facing a problem: instead of helping, society just barries everything for the sake of "correctness".


At Sunday, November 27, 2005 6:51:00 AM, Blogger Lazarus said...

I'm not sure that the "majority of women are just Passive to everything around them" ... but society (and our perception of what society/civilization should be) definitely has a role in some of the problems you point out.

At Sunday, November 27, 2005 9:52:00 AM, Blogger Eve said...

First, glad you liked the interview :)

ba3dein, women are women whether oriental or western. it's not just the social aspect of their environment that affect the way they behave, it's the legal/civil status one too. I'll just cite a couple of examples: no matter how fucked up was the father, he always gets the children after a divorce; a woman who discovers her husband is cheating on her better keep her mouth shut, since legally she'll still lose the children, and won't get any compensation; crimes of honor etc...
how do they expect women to flourish in this part of the world, when everything is just against them? It is, indeed, a man's (oriental) world.

At Sunday, November 27, 2005 11:23:00 AM, Blogger Rampurple said...

i disagree...

People who know me, know how my personality does not go with the society as we know it. I was never passive. I always did what I thought was right. I kept getting warnings that people might consider me as not a "bint 3ayle" and I heard as many rumors as there are stars in the sky.

Later, people just gave up talking and just watched. They got to know me better and realized this is just the way I am. I now am a respected female of our society. A young lady who is known for accomplishing a lot.. and a role model for younger girls.

I grew up as a tomboy... and a feminist. I had to be tough and cold and it was harder for me then it was for the guys around me but I got here and I know of a lot of girls who got to do the same.

At Sunday, November 27, 2005 2:23:00 PM, Blogger a h m a d said...

Zwixo, I think this problem starts with the duality of moral codes in Lebanon. Although I am only living in Lebanese society, but I think this applies to a great extent in Arab World.

The duality of moral codes with respect male can best be exemplified when many guys go to brothels or when they go abroad and "jump" from a girl friend to another. The ironic thing is that when most of these guys want to marry, they want a girl who was only kissed by her mother (as the Lebanese proverb, "ma baiss timma illa imma") meaning that she should be a pure virgin. This, in my opinion, reflects a serious problem; if this guy allows himself to have premarital marriage, he should accept this for his future wife, as a bare minimum of fairness.

Regarding the "female", duality of moral codes can be best exemplified when some/many girls would dress in an obscene outfit, yet they realize the "look but don't touch" approach. According to the basic laws of nature, the female tries to tempt the male in order to copulate; but obviously this is not the case in Lebanon, as the male is just tempted for "proof of concept" purposes.

At Sunday, November 27, 2005 7:17:00 PM, Blogger arch.memory said...

About time! Thank you again, Eve! Time to talk about women's rights, civil marriage, sectarianism, racism, gay rights, foreigners' rights (including, in particular, Plestinians), etc. But this is definitely a good first step. And I think one way to constructively approach it is through addressing the concretes of socitey rather than the perceptions. What I mean by that is the law, the way the law discriminates, and that is something you brought up in your comment. I am not a lawyer nor do I know the law that well, but I do know that is where the change needs to happen. That inadvertently will be related to issues such as sectarianism and civil law (instead of this regressive referal to religious law for personal matters). It's a big project, but one that I consider essential for us as a nation to move beyond the stumbling block of true modernity that the entire Arab world is still languishing behind.

At Sunday, November 27, 2005 10:31:00 PM, Blogger desmond said...

Ahmad is right - the way Lebanese males are brought up is that every female is a whore, especially foreign women... this concept will fade when the current generation of mothers of teens (and older) and grandmothers fades. I find it surprising knowing so many strong, self-reliant and self-made women here. Nonetheless, most men in the Middle East still want to marry want they want to believe is a virgin....nice to know the Middle Ages are still thriving in some parts....

At Sunday, November 27, 2005 10:54:00 PM, Blogger Lazarus said...

Here's some more info on legal discrimination against women.

At Sunday, November 27, 2005 11:27:00 PM, Blogger Rampurple said...

desmond and ahmed... i dont see the relation between strong self-reliant women and virginity!

I think all y'all are mixing between several topics... all these topics should be discussed thoroughly... but try not to have them clash...

At Monday, November 28, 2005 12:47:00 AM, Blogger zwixo said...

Thanks Lazarus for the rich source...

Rampurple's reply was specially interesting: by saying what Lebanese guys expected in a decent woman, we did not say that an active not passive woman has to be devirginized (between brackets, I personally think that a 28 year old virgin is not an "active" woman, but that's another subject). I congratulate you with all my heart for leading the life you want to lead, the life you feel most comfortable with; 1. because you are a courageous woman, facing our society is never easy. 2. because your life is you business not the neighbours business. etc... but you have to acknowledge that you are not the rule, the majority is not where you are, but on the other side.
This is what paints our society as conservative even with the presence of a certain duality (ahmad's point).

Arch.memory brought up law and rights and so forth... How do we make a change. I think for us to wait for the government to address the issues of our society is like waiting for the dead to wake (at least for the moment). The minimal social aspects haven't been taken care of; like the handicapped law which was signed in the early nineties but is still, as we say, ink on paper. The task is upon us, the young generation to put this train on the rails, drop the taboos, unmask the actors and face the problem. But first and foremost, each one of us has to act, that's why I congratulated Rampurple, she overcame her own demons by herself. Eve's comment seemed kind of a withdrawal to me, i think i understood it wrong but it seemd like there is all the reasons for the women to act this way, and that's there's no way out. That's the issue in question. If women here aren't free, what can we all do to bring this society out of (Desmond's) Dark Ages.

All topics should be discussed thouroughly it's true, that's why we have blogs :)

At Monday, November 28, 2005 3:34:00 AM, Blogger arch.memory said...

PS: Zwixo, in my comment I had thanked Eve, assuming that the post was by her since the topic first came up in her interview with Linalone. I just realized you posted this. The thanks of course goes to you, as well!

At Monday, November 28, 2005 12:30:00 PM, Blogger Assaad said...

Since i live in Paris, i could learn too many things about this subject. What i mean is that the difference of rights for women in Lebanon (still more opened than other oriental countries) and Europe is big!
I always say that we should respect lebanese traditions and cultures and that we must not import occidental cultures.
But, i can't understand why men (Lebanese) can do whatever they want without main problems and when it comes to women people starts to speak too much (ma mrabeye w 3orod w ossas!).

If i give myself the right to have a GF and to have sexual relation with her than how can i refuse to get engaged with somebody who had the same thing ?

So there is no equality in our country between men rights and women ones.

One more thing : in Europe, a woman can leave her house whenever she decides and can take the childrens with her whatever the reason. In Lebanon, she'll get smashed if she does this : I don't like or agree with such an independance but, from a human side, childrens must live with their mom!
Our society is ruled by some unfair religious rules!

Some of you will maybe say that my message contains some contradictions but what's the solution this inequality ?

At Monday, November 28, 2005 8:48:00 PM, Blogger a h m a d said...

I think you misunderstood my point. I didn't say that "Lebanese males are brought up is that every female is a whore, especially foreign women..." Actually, if you read my comment carefully, you will notice that I didn't try to judge premarital sex in anyway. All that I intended to say is that some guys are being unfair when they would allow themselves to have sexual relationships outside marriage, yet they will not accept this for their future wives. "Nonetheless, most men in the Middle East still want to marry want they want to believe is a virgin....nice to know the Middle Ages are still thriving in some parts." I don't think that being a virgin has anything to do with living in the "Middle Ages". If a guy or a girl decides to have or not to have sexual relationships outside marriage for their own reasons, then in both cases, it is 'freedom of belief'.

You said, "i dont see the relation between strong self-reliant women and virginity!" and I totally agree with you; I can't see any relationship between them either! Was my comment this much misleading and unclear???


Post a Comment

<< Home