Reader comment on item: Advice to Non-Muslim Women against Marrying Muslim Men
Submitted by Amber Rose (Philippines), Dec 3, 2009 at 09:16
110% Mama’s Boy and proud of it. In Egyptian society, a boy is, in every which way, considered superior to a girl. The sun sets and rises on him, and his feelings of superiority are only increased if he is an only son, or is born after a long number of years ‘trying for a boy’ or after a couple of girls.
As a child, he is not expected to help clean up, organize his room, or basically do any chores. His little sister does, picking up the orange juice cups while he watches cartoons.
The Egyptian mother-son relationship is very freaky. Not oedipal, but still. His mother does everything for him from the day he is born to at least the day he leaves her house to get married. 30 years old and still living with his mom, who washes his boxers and folds them just the way he likes it? No worries. Oh, and she’ll continue doing stuff for him after you get married. No girl is good enough for her baby boy, and everything you do will be compared to her. She is giving up her son to you and he is so used to being treated with unconditional love that he will rarely think he’s wrong.
He is taught that playing around, flirting, and even sleeping around is ok for guys, not ok for girls. There are double standards in everything and women simply can’t do what men do.
Nurture, not nature. Likewise, he grows up seeing the way his mother and sisters are treated and comes to feel that women are intellectually inferior, dependant, and not equal to men.
Even if he is educated and open-minded and realizes that this is not true, he will still occasionally suffer from The “Si el-sayed” mentality:
Si El sayed is one of Naguib Mahfouz’s famous characters through which he managed to embody the characteristics of the Egyptian man at that time. He surrounded him with an aura of respect, glory and reverence, which is what man used to be. As a husband, he was a decision-maker and as a father he was a god-like figure. He was convinced that just his title “the man of the house” i.e. the one responsible for the family, assumes his absolute authority and blind obedience in return.
The husband – wife relationship was based on suppression on his part and mere surrender on hers. He orders and she submits. Although Mahfouz wrote this novel long ago, influenced by the social conditions prevailing at that time, and in spite of the fact that such conditions have been changed as a result of the major shift in social norms, the novel still represents the real character of the Egyptian man even after being polished by claimed modernity.
So no matter how modern, educated, progressive, liberal etc the Egyptian man thinks he is, this is what he really wants to be. And this is what he wants his women to be like
If he’s poor he’s uncouth, thinks women are play things, and is taught that women are to be treated only slightly better than children. Their role is house servant, sex slave and mother.
If he’s rich, then he usually thinks better of women. Unfortunately, he’s usually spineless and spoiled. Daddy’s money has made him lazy. He’s ‘westernized’ in a negative sense—let’s drink and party and be merry but not work hard.
In a Relationship
Control is the name of the game. He is taught that if he is not in control, if he isn’t domineering, he has lost his dick. “A ship without one captain is doomed to sink” is the saying we hear over and over again.
And therefore, he will put you down, belittle you, cut you down to size, point out your flaws, and make you believe it’s always your fault. He believes that if he gives an inch you’ll take a mile and emasculate him.
He does not compromise. If he does he’ll never let you forget it.
It is always the woman’s fault.
He is taught from an early age never to cry or show weakness. Real men do not cry and are never hurt. They are always strong, strong, strong. That doesn’t mean he’s not emotional, oh heck no! He is very very emotional and moody. They love love love intensely and hate hate hate intensely. Roller coaster emotions.
He is looking for:
o A mozza, hot babe.
o Preferably stupid.
o Virgin from a good family. Even if he’s slept with half of Cairo.
o Preferably docile and submissive and not very educated.
o Financially and possibly emotionally dependent.
o Otta eyonha me’afela (a kitten with closed eyes) i.e. naïve and unworldly.
o Can cook and clean and take care of a house and be content. Great mother.
o Preferably no job or a ‘hobby’ job which he ‘allows’ her.
o A woman who is impressed by everything he does and whose world revolves around him.
He does not believe marriage is a partnership.
He thinks it’s better to marry a woman who is ‘less’ than him in every way so she keeps thinking he is a God and he doesn’t have to work hard to impress her.
Expects you to be gorgeous all the time. He on the other hand, can get fat and ugly and it’s ok because “may’ebesh el ragel ela gebo” [The only flaw in a man is his wallet]
The romance was only until you married her. Once you have her, khalas. That’s it, she’s stuck forever.
No matter what he does the woman must accept it. This message is still perpetuated to this very day. Just watch the latest movie by ‘comedy’ actor Mohamad Henedy—he is an ugly, short, strict, unromantic, unsophisticated penniless man with nothing to offer a famous, beautiful singer. And yet she gives up her entire life for him to go live in a one room cottage in the village. What message is that sending men? But let’s not get sidetracked…
So why would a woman put up with an Egyptian man treating her like shit after marriage? Because she is usually dependent on him and divorced women in Egypt are treated as if they have the plague.
So he can be an ass and you’ll put up with it because you have kids, you don’t have money, and you’ll only get married to a worse man if you divorce him. And so, dependent women are best of all. An educated, intelligent, independent woman with thoughts and a life of her own and who doesn’t have to put up with your crap? Stay far, far, away. She probably suffers from penis envy anyway.
He uses religion as an excuse to control you even if he’s never prayed a prayer in his life: “I’ll marry another woman, it’s my Islamic right.”
If you work, he won’t encourage you and will suggest you are a bad mother for leaving your kids to work.
Once upon a time, if a man was poor, he was frustrated that he could not provide for his family, since that was his role. Now, however, many Egyptian men are content to marry rich women and have her family spend money on them.
If he’s not poor but rich, then eventually he resents the woman taking taking taking. He is expected to pay for everything and from the way he was raised, he doesn’t think what she does (giving birth, raising kids, taking care of the home) means anything.
And if he is rich, unlike so many Egyptian men, he thinks you should be grateful—so many other women would die for a guy like him.
The house is completely the woman’s responsibility as are the kids, even if she contributes money to the house.
If he’s rich enough to get you a maid and you don’t work, then he thinks you do nothing.
If you’re poor it’s even worse because you do everything around the house and sometimes work but still have to make him feel he is the be-all and end-all.
He comes home from work and wants you to greet him all dressed up, kiss him, massage his feet, and have the kids be quiet and angelic.
He’ll then grouch about how the food isn’t like his mom’s ad neither is the way his boxers are folded etc etc.
He’ll then go out with his friends, and is annoyed when you do the same.
Oh, Egyptian men, what can I say?
Disclaimer: I am generalizing and being sarcastic here and only mentioning the many, many flaws of Egyptian men. Egyptian men do, of course, have many many good character traits. I can’t think of any right now, but they do exist. And likewise, Egyptian women have many, many flaws too. So don’t bite my head off!
Note: Opinions expressed in comments are those of the authors alone and not necessarily those of Daniel Pipes. Original writing only, please. Comments are screened and in some cases edited before posting. Reasoned disagreement is welcome but not comments that are scurrilous, off-topic, commercial, disparaging religions, or otherwise inappropriate. For complete regulations, see the “Guidelines for Reader Comments”.
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