Archive for the ‘Social’ category

Stereotypes of the Syrian female: Marriage

October 19, 2010

I can’t say I’ve seen all cultures of Syria “not even close”, but from what I’ve seen I’ve come to this conclusion. Judging by their opinion on what is the number one issue in their lives, Syrian females can be grouped into three broad categories:

1-The “Marry me ASAP”:

Come on! Before I get too old!

With these girls it’s not who they marry, it’s how fast they can do it.  At age eighteen (or sixteen) she’s out of school and bam! Three months later she’s engaged/married to the first barely eligible suitor. It’s as if  they’ve taught her the hymen spontaneously drops at age twenty.

Are these girls happy? I can’t tell you, mainly because I can’t greet them in the street anymore. If you even think of waving their way you’ll get a hundred eye gestures to keep away for the love of dear Moses. Relying on indirect sources, I’ve found out that three changes are characteristic:

-They turn into breeding machines: They shoot out quick, and they shoot out many.

– They get old real fast: Fashion, hairstyle, activities, etc. Her mom is her BFF. She stays at home a lot, TV viewing hours quadruple. College of course is not an option

-They become literally incapable of making an autonomic decision: Either the husband, mother, mother-in-law, or in extreme cases the father decides. And don’t you dare put her in a situation where she has to, her brain will explode I tell you.

2- The “I wanna live a while”:

Yayyy

Those are the vast majority. They wanna go to college and enjoy it, have a social life, go on trips with the youth club. The first couple of college years can be about cute, overly dramatic relationships, but usually after age 22 they’re searching for Mr.Right. They also have a dream about working in some sweet little girly job.

Don’t let them fool you, although these girls like flirting with freedom, they are never free. They have this special path, wide or narrow, which they can’t deviate from. Conformity is nauseatingly widespread. They dress the same as each other, talk the same as each other, avoid the taboos, don’t dare do anything unless they know at least four of their friends have done it before. Standing out is anathema. The career also is a fling. None of them take it seriously, or try to upgrade. The career is expected to be discarded as soon as the ring is on the left finger.

I don’t know, type 2 looks like type 1 to me with a little more friends and memories. But that’s a major improvement I guess. I admire them, in a society where all the cards are against them, they make most with what they have.

3- The Shark:

Are you hitting on me?

This girl might not be sure what she wants, but she knows exactly what she doesn’t, a guy with a humongous ego, a bubble for a brain, and a family from hell dictating every minute detail of her life. She’s confident, independent, fresh. She takes her job very seriously, and is making a decent salary out of it. Since she will still be living with her parents (even guys are still not into renting their own place here. I have no idea why), she usually has a lot of extra cash, which she spends spoiling herself. Clothes, jewelery, parties… Sharks are very social, and travel in packs. You can usually find them in the trendy cafes after type two’s curfew has passed.

Many type threes want to get married or have a family, so if you ask them they might say they didn’t get what they wanted in life. Why they didn’t find that sophisticated, caring, liberal family guy is beyond me. Maybe we’re all assholes, maybe we know society is in our favor, and feel we’re entitled to the submissive relations it gives us. Maybe we don’t want equality.

In my opinion type three is much happier than she gives herself credit. She has broken the chains, she has defined herself, she is free to explore the world “many get business trips, or you can just go with the extra cash”. The sharks I know all are late twenties- early thirties, and they are my idols. They are trend-setters, and many young girls will look at what they do and decide the rules must change.

Aim for a good ta3neeseh women, marriage doesn't seem that appealing

Advertisements

Tribalism

October 1, 2010

Less than two hundred years ago, an adorable concept called romantic nationalism emerged. It was based on having a feeling of shared brotherhood with people in your close proximity. People got all worked up, started making national flags, collecting national songs, folk stories, dishes. It’s amazing how powerful something that started as a hippie fad got when it got the right forces to back it.

The concept of nation is…. fluffy (I’m not saying that’s bad, I mean I’m a cosmopolitanist, I’m the king of fluff). It also resulted in a truckload of complicated problems, whether in the Balkans, the Caucasus, or even in our own backyard. It does have a lot of unappreciated positives: it makes some shared basics familiar to any confused outsider, it gives you one authority you can then comfortably tweak, it’s also very good for personal freedom. In a nation, as long as you’re not hurting citizens or jeopardizing national security, you’re free to live life as you see fit, theoretically speaking.

That happens because in the pure romantic definition of nation, you are a brother whatever you do. You are part of this beautiful ecology all freedom fighters love, and just by being there, you are special. This mentality is an escape from a much more powerful and primal sense of identity… Tribalism

“Oh you mean the 3asha2er… yeah they’re bad”. Bullshit! We’re all tribes in denial and we know it.

Let’s observe for a minute how tribes function:

– A common set of morals, guidelines and traditions passed on from generation to generation. You accept all this baggage since birth.

– Just belonging to a tribe gives you numerous advantages correlated with your tribe’s power and ranking, as long as you stick to the morals

-Practicing one of the tribe’s taboos will strip you of all advantages and result in your disowning and banishment

Yup, I just described any of the over dozen sects we have :).

It’s cute to watch, especially in a multi-sectarian background. People you know are militant atheists go berserk when a family member dares to think about crossing a line. We might think we’re progressive, free thinkers, our own masters. Truth is, we’re all slaves to the perks of belonging to our tribes.

Break one of the golden rules, and it’s banishment! To you and your family till the fiftieth generation! Nobody will give you their women anymore, you can’t attend the tribal ceremonies. You are officially uprooted.

Don’t get me wrong, I love my tribe. I think we’re steadfast people who have been through so many hardships, and survived with our heads high. I’m connected with them. But when you start thinking about how to make your tribe more powerful, how to get them into higher positions, to support tribe restaurants and stores… I mean seriously?

This is why the region has no hope. From the ignorant to the most educated, we understand tribes and tribes only. Just look around you, examples are abundant. Any war or tension in the region, it’s not about ideologies, people lost interest in that long ago, tribalism is the only driving factor.

It’s like everyone is still waiting for the other to snap out of this. Judge yourself, how much of your lifestyle is dictated by your affiliation? And the boogie man they wave over us, is it really that scary? If there are more out than in, the punishments will get less severe, and you’ll have a community whatever you do. We just need enough people to have the guts.

Things like this, we should have gotten over them in the late sixties you know…

Victims

August 22, 2010

Last week a wonderful woman was murdered in her sleep by her husband in Jordan, shot in the head several times at point blank range. The perpetrator upon arrest claimed that a local “magician” told him that his wife had been enchanted, and he had to kill her before she killed him.

The death of Reema, mother of three, would have gone unnoticed like many other crimes happening in the region. If not for the emotional and gut wrenching tribute of her blogger nephew. The blogosphere went crazy, retweets abound, polls, petitions… the whole thing. Reema turned into a poster child for women whose husbands treat them like possessions, of the dangers of primitive witchcraft, and of plain old stupidity.

Amateur psychology geeks, did you catch it? How about if I told you the family said the husband has a history of mental illness? This story is fishy from the start, I mean we all know classic sorcerer tricks, hjabs, put stuff in food, jump over the entrance and such. Which psychotic sorcerer would ask someone to murder his wife! For no motive!  I mean the guy will point back to him. Speaking of which, why is he not under arrest yet!

The husband’s statement of “I killed her because she was going to kill me” makes the case too powerful to dismiss. Ladies and gentlemen, we have very possibly a tragic case of neglected Paranoid Schizophrenia. A relatively complicated disease, it is characterized by two major symptoms: the delusion that people are out to kill him (it may be random like spies or aliens, or close people like brothers, friends, or in this case, his wife. The stories can get very elaborate), and auditory hallucinations, voices talking with him, telling him what to do. The mysterious sheikh may have been in his mind all along.

I’m not saying psychosis is the only explanation. It may also sound ridiculous to people who know the man. But for a kid behind a laptop  hundreds of kilometres away, it sounds pretty viable. I guess we’ll know once the psych results are back.

Regardless, the situation doesn’t change the woman was abused all the time, and died in a violent manner. This is still the tragic story of the Arab female. The only angle changed is the perps, us. We denied a mentally ill person treatment, acted as he is perfectly normal, wed him to an innocent girl, putting her and potential children in grave danger (you have no idea how easily those three angels could have been killed as well), when the situation got obviously much worse, we opted the abused woman stay at home with a madman, rather than “break the family”.

Our family based society is supposed to be built in a way that we have a good base, people who will have our backs when we are in danger, take us out of harm’s way. We sacrifice so much of our personal freedom for that. It’s when those mechanisms malfunction, work to hurt us instead of help, that we should look deeper into who we are.

The Levantine girl’s five worst nightmares

July 9, 2010

The life of an independent educated Levantine female is, for lack of a better word, hard. But nothing is worse than when the time comes for her to choose her social benefactor, significant other, and all around good guy, from the limited pool of candidates on offer.

Hormones have some benefits, but in situations where you have just one chance, over-relying on them is deadly. Here’s the five worst mistakes you can do, when choosing your gentleman:

1- The Astronaut


This guy has lived most of his life in a male exclusive environment, and has never befriended or talked to a girl in his life. He has risen to a respectable position in his community and is ready to complete the final obligation. Beyond some tales told to him by his work buddies, he has no idea what you are. You might as well be an alien species to him.

Negatives: –

-You’re gonna have to get him, he’s most probably not gonna get you.

-Expect a lot of awkwardness the first….five years.

-Romance is out of the question.

Positives:

-He cares about you a lot, even though it’s because he’s supposed to.

-He’s interested in you and wants to keep you happy.

-He usually says sweet childish stuff. You get to baby him.

Conclusion: You can be happy with the astronaut, a Homer and Marge kind of happy.

2- The Lamborghini


The shades, the car, those biceps, that top, all designed to appease. He’s the top of the sex chain. Don’t deny it, you’ve probably had a crush on one of those at some point of your life.

Negatives:

-If someone spends so much time and money caring about his physical appearance, that’s time and money lost from something else.

-Expect serious “issues” once you get to know him.

-Psychologically, extra care betrays insecurities. Let’s hope that insecurity is just an overweight childhood and not something more… vital.

-The problem with physical attraction is that it peaks in the first minute. No one gets hotter the more you get to know him. On the contrary, the poorly physical reaction usually gets a lot more muted with time.

Positives:

-Estrogen rush

-There’s a social status to be earned among other girls when the guy everyone’s after actually chooses you

Conclusion: It’s good to date one or two of those in the early years. It gives you a good ego boost, and you actually enjoy it. But expect an expiry date of not over 9 months, when it’s not worth it anymore.

3-The Poet

You can’t call him a rebel, he doesn’t even know what the mainstream looks like. The poet has spent most of his life in the fringes of the alternative, and has developed this shady personality you love so much.

Negatives:

-Good luck explaining to him why it’s not “3adi” for him to feel up your legs in front of your brother

-He’s gonna be way too closer to females than you are comfortable with

-The most basic rules of society, he has no comprehension of them (It’s frustrating, believe me)

Positives:

-He does something cool you can brag about

-He understands you really well, is very sensual

-With him you can be yourself, all your insecurities are open to him

Conclusion: It might work, but you have to have a painfully open mind. You’re gonna get stung from time to time. He might come up at any point give you reasons that sound like gibberish, and simply out of the blue say it’s over.

4-The Stalker


There are way too many of those than I’m comfortable with. The stalker is born out of the trifecta of the girl’s guilt, pity, and fear of being alone. The stalker enters your life when you are at a very vulnerable stage and provides you with the comfort that someone cares about you. You make an arrangement where you are together, but not really together. The storm passes, you’re back on your feet.

Suddenly he’s all fire and brimstone, midnight calls crying you don’t care about him, ridiculous jealousy, abuse. The passive-aggressive techniques to arouse guilt are shocking. Right now you feel so bad for “tricking” him. You say you can’t leave him, he’s too nice, you can’t do that to him. Plus why lose him when he might be needed again?

There are cases out there so bad that a girl starts dating a guy, keeping it secret not from her family, but from her stalker.

Negatives: I guess spending that much time with a guy you have no feelings for is punishment enough. Plus your next potential BF is probably gonna kick him

Positives: Pathetic reassurance, suffocating concern about you

Conclusion: Honey if you don’t want to harm the guy, stop dragging him around, win him as a friend! If he’s delusional and doesn’t get it, just walk away. You’ll be doing him a favor.

5-The Fascist


To this person there are two “you”s. The real you, and the “you” he’s gonna turn you into. This man will change every single thing about you: your friends, dress code, favorite shows and music, the way you laugh. Until you are nothing but a shell…

Negatives: He’s a threat to your existence

Positives: His body can be used as fertilizer

Conclusion: Run and don’t look back. Nobody can be more “worried about your safety” than your own parents. The curfew and clothing your parents were ok with, well he’ll better be ok with as well.To be honest  he doesn’t actually care, he just wants to crush your head under his feet. If you don’t get away fast enough, you might have to use an axe for the same result later.

Here’s a link to Rand’s twin post, hope you enjoy her advice (for the dudes)

The perfect Arab consumer

May 1, 2010

Flip between the Arabic channels, see all the popular shows, clips, series. Do you see what I see?

Star Academy, Turkish soaps, talk shows… anything you can think of, all geared towards women. Even Haifa Wehbe, you think she’s trying to attract boys? Walk in an Arab street, see all the girls wearing the “Haifa fashion” to know you are very much mistaken. It’s got to a state that male viewers have nothing to watch but politics and football.

Why not? The average Arab female is the perfect consumer. Average education, little to no life experience, bored out of their brains, and in possession of all the money.

Yup, let’s not kid each other here. While it’s the father’s role to provide the money. It’s the wife and kids job to spend it. Notice how in all middle or high class families, daddy usually has the oldest mobile, lamest car, being dragged into parties he doesn’t want to attend etc.

We’re raising a generation of females in permanent adolescence, and it’s getting worse every year…

We marry them, put them inside cement walls, make them do their usual routine chores, pacify them with television images of pretty dresses and make-up, spend money on them, buy them all the shiny things they desire. Sure they don’t have any idea about life, no economic or social freedom. But it’s ok, since we’re spending 90% of our paycheck on them, they’ve gotta be happy.

Dakheelak Shoo Zalameh

April 19, 2010

Every day society finds more ways to appall me about the treatment of women…

Enormous idea which can easily handle a blog on its own, so let me write about one small thing now, maybe more later.

More than once I’d be walking down some street, when I’d see some guy “conversing” with his girlfriend on mobile. The shouts, curses, verbal abuse is blood-curdling (the flailing of his arms give you the mental image that he’s pulling the girl from the hair and bashing her face first to an adjacent wall). Usually the girl has no idea what she did wrong.

As usual, media reflects/perpetrates this behavior, with popular Arab movies showing “cool” guys as lacking sympathy, and regularly abusive to their passive girlfriends.

I would like to point to a much more dangerous mentality however, one found among the non-abusers. It goes like this:

Nice guy meets girl. Nice guy and girl are friends. Nice guy has a crush on the girl. Girl doesn’t notice nice guy and finds an abusive boyfriend. Nice guy concludes that being nice to a girl will get you nowhere.

Basically, the saying goes: “Being caring and understanding will get you a close friendship, being an asshole will get you in her heart”

Let the debunking begin:

1-Being nice doesn’t mean anything on its own:  Dude, just because you listened and nodded to her endless yapping you think she’s gonna go head over heels for you? What about other attractive qualities? Which brings me to…

2- Most guys seem to rely on “nice” when there’s nothing else going for them: I admit, team “nice” is filled with losers, retards, shy people, socially challenged…etc. Girls can sense that. If you are being caring  out of necessity and not out of choice, you’re probably gonna get stuck in the friend zone.

It’s when these people decide to act on their deductive logic and suddenly turn into abusers that their social life usually goes down the drain

All around me I see the “Zalameh” the guy who crushes the girl and the “7abbab” the guy who she calls and cries to. Where the hell is the third type?

The type that can make a girl proud to lock arms with in public. Who has an inspiring personality, is wise and friendly. Who can be understanding of a woman’s emotions, and can spoil and treat her like a queen, while still maintaining control of the relationship.

Those guys are so rare, that girls tend to hold on to them tooth and nail.

BTW, girls are the only way to curb the asshole population. You see guys usually act like this because they know they can get away with it, and with the limited chain of suitors the Arab girl gets (ethnic and religious lines, trouble meeting people) they usually do. But if the Arab girls decide to build a front, to prove that this kind of treatment would not be tolerated, type three would get a steady number of new recruits.

So girls, get to it! We’re counting on you…