Hey guys, what’s up? My name is Rawan.
I’ve been thinking a lot about what exact topic to tackle. Then, I decided why not go with controversy and discuss what is expected of women in both Jordan and the U.S.A. Now, let’s talk about “basic Arab values” for a bit. A person’s “honor”, dignity, pride and reputation are extremely crucial. Arabs would almost do anything to protect their”honor”. Honor or “shame” is perceived as a whole, collective, and “anti-individuality” attribute that either “makes you” or “breaks you”. It is an enormous aspect that takes over Arab’s lives. It affects the entire family and the entire society. As if family and society are intact, intertwined and inseparable. Again, we are talking about Arabs here; anything that might seem to remotely jeopardize their “honor”, drastic measures are to take place. Loyalty for one’s family comes first. Priorities are already planned out for you. And by you, I mean the individual.
Well, every single word that I have mentioned earlier means nothing to me. It doesn’t make sense and quite honestly I don’t like it. I think an uptight sexist Arab dude made it all up and I’ll state the reasons why.
The word “honor”, shame only means one thing, and that is the women in the family. A sister, a wife, a daughter, a mother, even a female cosine. We have been discussing a variety of issues in our class on Women’s Studies with Professor Rula. One of the deep words that I could not keep off of my mind is the word “custodian”. How Arab women in the family, in society, are supposed to, expected to and hell, forced to be the “custodians” of the family’s honor. The word”shame” is inevitably entangled with the word “honor” as if both of these words are this gigantic knot that Arabs acknowledge but also ignore at the same time. Males enforce it. Women accept it without questioning. It is a social norm that pressures both males and females. Women try to live to other’s expectations instead of their own. They are scared of rejection, abuse, deprivation of education, stigmatization, marginalization, spinsterhood and most importantly murder. In other words “honor” killing.
My question to both the ladies and gentlemen is, do you think women in America are facing any kind of “social pressure”, a pinned down norm that is a wide spread epidemic such as the one in the “Arab world”? If so, do you think this pressure is somehow created by “man” to serve “man”?
Thank you for hearing me out. I hope you will find this both different and interesting.
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