Tuesday, May 1, 2007

If you loved me you'd cook me rice

He: The house is a mess, and I’m hungry
She: I’m so tired, I have a project I need to do.
He: That’s enough, I’m sick of always coming after your schoolwork. When was the last time you cooked?
She: Buy something from outside, I’ve got too much stuff to do. I also need to get the kids bathed and put to bed so I can finish my work for tomorrow.
He: If you loved me you’d cook me rice.
She: That’s the measure of love? Everyone else I go to uni with has maids, I’m the only one who doesn’t.
He: So I’m supposed to get you a maid now? We don’t have any money.
She: That’s not what I mean, can’t you be patient and understanding a little?
He: You’ve been going to school for 6 years already. I got married to have a wife, not to live like this.


This couple almost got a divorce last week. My husband was called in to intervene and talk to the man. I talked to the woman to get her side of the story so when my husband was talking to the man, he’d have more of the facts. We’d already gotten the cliffnotes version from her father who gave us the call and we were discussing the issues in the car on the way to meet them. Being close to the woman I knew more background on the story than my husband did so I asked him to pass on a few morsels of counsel to the man. I wanted him to tell the man about our life when I was a student in England.

We were both studying but of course (as is the way it is in most of the world, wrong or right) the housework and childcare were my responsibility. My husband’s degree took precedence over mine because although we were both on scholarship, his career and consequently our future, depended on HIS doing a good job.
· Remember my bouts of crying because I had too much on my plate?
· Remember how I wouldn’t sit down to eat with my family because I had to start on the cleanup?
· Remember how I had to choose either attending lectures or studying, I didn’t have time for both?
· Remember how I was the only Saudi female student we met who had small kids but no maid?
· Remember how I could only do my uni work after the kids were fed, bathed, played with, sent to bed and the house cleaned?
· Remember how I had to base what lectures I chose on the timetable and how it fit around my kids being home, not on the quality or content of the lecture?
· Remember how when I had essays due, and there’d always be three or more due at the same time, I’d have to do a housework and children strike for almost a week previous to the due date, not sleep for 3 days previous to the due date, and once again cry because I can’t do the good job that I wanted to and I know I’m capable of and I was so stressed out.
· Remember how skinny and sickly I became because of the pressure? I spent second semester of my third year in and out of the hospital with asthma, many attacks were triggered by stressful situations.
· Remember how we had to put off having more children because there’s no way a baby could have fit into the chaos?
· Remember how I had to do my grocery shopping online because I could point and click and Voila! It was delivered for a fiver.
· Remember how I’d go months without talking to some of my friends because I didn’t have time?
· What beauty regime? Oh yeah, every week I’d clip my nails. I had an annual hair trim immediately after taking the year’s last exam. Good thing I wore hijab AND nikaab at uni! There were days I had on my PJ’s under my jilbab.


I regularly talked with this woman about her struggles while trying to finish university. I already knew of her husband’s attitude towards being “neglected”. She confides in me since many stay-at-home old-school Saudi women don’t understand the pressure she’s under. She’d gotten married, had two babies, underwent a major health scare and spent much time in the hospital with one of her children all since starting her studies.

This could be any couple, any where in the world. Although some western men may help somewhat around the house, I’ve heard statistics which suggest that women in two-income families still do upwards of 80% of the housework in America and England. And even the 20% SOME of them do is praised unnecessarily! Don’t be surprised a Saudi man sits around like King Farrouk waiting to be served by his frazzled wife because unfortunately, they’re not the only ones as I’m sure we’ll hear about in the comments section. I remember some of my Eastern European relatives bitching because their son was washing the dishes after getting home from work: his wife had three kids under the age of 5!

Rather than relating more sad stories of female oppression via housework, I want my readers to feel how universal this situation is. Did it make any difference that it took place in Saudia, in Arabic, and with two Saudis in an Islamic marriage?

31 comments:

Carol said...

SSW,

While some of the issues you raised are universal there is also an ingrained stigma about a Saudi male doing what is viewed as "womens work." Of course this is not the case across the board but I'm willing to bet my favorite cat it is the majority!

For example I have been a professional career woman all of my life to include pre-Saudi husband. When we married and were living outside of the Kingdom, we shared and shared alike - household tasks and having fun. Ironically now that we are in the Kingdom and again we are both working, there is a different tune of music playing. I work 3 hours longer each day than him. I also am the first one to get up in the morning, get ready for work, fix our lunches and have his breakfast waiting as he steps out of the shower. But when I have asked him to assist either during the week night or over the weekend to help share with the various tasks of running the house, I hear "Saudi men do not do domestic work. This is your house and your work." Now fortunately I am married to a man who can understand reason and logic and has begun, albeit slowly, to change this aspect of his Saudi ways. But unfortunately I think that some women who have Saudi husbands with such an attitude may not be strong enough to stand up to their resistance to pitch in or not know how to "tactfully" convince them it is in their best interests to keep their wife happy and demonstrate partnership!

Just my two cents worth of the evening...
-American Bedu

TeacherLady said...

My husband is a dream come true when it comes to taking a share of the household duties and parenting, but when we watch his own parents we're well aware that the 50s American dutiful wife situation is still alive and well. My father in-law is a nice guy, but he expects his wife to do the cooking and cleaning entirely by herself.
It is universal in all cultures to varying degrees, but it's always down to the individual just how intense the situation gets behind closed doors. I know the fear Arab families have of gossip leaking to the public that the woman of the family isn't living how she should, but I was one of the lucky ones. I guess it helped that I am half British and so expectations of me were a little different to that of my cousins.

I guess we can also put things in perspective and be grateful that Saudi women are going to college/uni at all!

Anonymous said...

I think it's a cultural think and not even islamic!!I come from an arab culture too and having grown up in a not-arab country,99% of the *arabness(?)* is maintained. Girls were to take care of boys. Wives were to handle all family/home issues. A man seen helping out(or doing his job at home)was seen as less of a man. Alhamdullilah, my husband having been brought up the same way is otherwise different. I think having lived by himself in the west for almost 8 yrs has made him appreciate anything done. He does help at home, took care of us(me plus 2 kids)when I had the second one. Of course it's not how I would want it to be done,but still something gets done, so instead of me pointing out the faults, I make him feel like he did such a gr8 job that he comes and does it again. We have to get tricky and smart to let them do THEIR share! LOL! sf

saudi stepford wife said...

Carol-
Unfortunately this is the majority. Not only do many of them not help out, they can be extremely demanding too! I've joked (but on a serious note too) that my husband is the source of more work than all my children combined. Even our housekeeper, who's now completed one full year with us, noticed that if he's not home, she doesn't have much work.


Teacherlady- Welcome to my blog and thanks for the comments. I wish the 1950's couple were left in the '50's...but still to many of them are in today's culture. I'm gonna talk more about this issue sometime in the future when I bring up how some Saudi women balance work and home.

saudi stepford wife said...

SF- My husband also lived on his own for several years in the States before marriage. He lived off of Domino's and had a roommate who cleaned! No profound life lesson's learned by my man!

hema said...

i don't think the situation is confined to Muslim or saudi men. i remember asking a colleauge once whether her live in boyfriend shared the household chores with her (just because i was being nosy) and she replied casually that he was "no good at that sort of thing", but it made me wonder whether men are no good at this sort of thing because they've been brought up that way!
as for the issue of women balancing work and family, i have always admired women that can juggle so many roles. seriously, i don't think i could do it...

saudi stepford wife said...

Trust me Hema, you don't know what you're capable of till you HAVE to do it. I'd have never guessed that you'd be a teacher when we first met, you were sooo quiet and almost appeared timid and fragile. I'm sure you're iron or rather, Abazonian underneath those twinkly brooches... you'd have to be to teach teenagers.

Ida said...

Try this:

Husband: Where is my dinner?
Wife: (Feign forgetfulness) Where did you last see it, dear?

Husband: I have not had lunch!
Wife: ...And what do you want me to do about it?

Husband: Where are my shirts?
Wife: In the laundry basket where you last put them.

Husband: If you love me, get my coffee for me.
Wife: (Stay put) Well, you did say if I love you.

Husband: This house is a mess!
Wife: Why don't you put YOUR stuff in the bin liner?

Etc Etc

JamilaLighthouse said...

I can't stand such attitudes. I'm furious about how my inlaws go on and on about how terrible I am for letting and expecting my husband to do housework. Alhamdulillah he does it, but he thinks it's my job and he's helping me!

Nancy said...

The polarized male/female roles are still extremely common in a lot of Latin American families. A Mexican friend was recently telling how her husband reacts any time the baby (youngest of four) cries. He yells, "Elia! The baby!" even if he's two feet away from the baby and his wife is in the bathroom. I lucked out with my husband but I also know white American couples who observe strict labor divisions. A cousin of mine has a wife who lays out his clothes every morning, makes his breakfast while he's in the shower, etc. It's definitely not just an Arab or Saudi thing. It's a Patriarchy thing.

L said...

My family is so backwards (according to Middle Eastern standards) when it comes to the whole household domestication rules. My Egyptian father actually does ALL of the cooking and grocery shopping at home, even if he gets home later from work than her. The only time my mom cooks is during the Easter Weekend and Christmas Eve and Christmas. The rest of the time its my dad. His Arab and South Asian friends all feel so sorry for him. They think he's being majorly neglected. And I honestly don't know how he became so domesticated, because growing up he had a maid to do everything for him. My mom must have trained him well LOL. I think I need lessons for when I get married :)

Kathryn said...

Its a universal male, patriarchal, whatever problem. Australian men are pretty much the same. I was extremely fortunate that my husband was brought up by his mother to help, help, help. She always worked and was years ahead of her time because she taught both her sons to be domestic and they just assume that marriage is a partnership so the workload is part of the partnership. My husband doesn't see the mess the same way I do, but he is more than willing to do what is asked. I realise I am one of the few and fortunate and I am eternally grateful to my fabulous mother in law, a strong, determined woman.

Nzingha said...

No doubt this is a universal issues subject to affect every single culture. This won't end anytime soon. However I do think Saudi has unique issues along with it.

1. Men have the upper hand with control, threats, and even percieved threats that women are not protected from

2. women are sold on the idea from early childhood they are to wait on men, men are more important, and are to be pleased

3. the religious ideas which make the man 'god like' are supported in the culture, in family and even in school texts.

4. women lack resources, support, and options when it comes to an over demanding man.

When you put all of this together you don't have just women being fustrated with the cave man sitting on their couch. You have women who are threatened and controlled by the cave man with no resources.

And no Mr. Man doesn't do much of anything around the house. Of course he works 23 hrs a day. But I'm American and he isn't a Saudi passport holder. I have more options, less threats, and feel less inclined to put that huge pile of clothes away sitting on top of his closet. Nope don't wait on him, he is told to help himself to something if he is hungry, and will be the poorest man in the world if he ever thinks of divorcing me. But again I have that privelage as a non Saudi

an original said...

Well looks like Im one of the lucky ones, (cough cough)
I wanted a maid , yrs ago, but he said no. Didnt want(live in) strangers in his house. freinds and I use to always get together n play canasta, and so called "coffee's" actually diet pepsi's and booty food, at least 2 to 3 times aweek. but but that was yrs ago When I first got here 22 yrs ago.... most old timers are gone. and now Im too busy doing nothing. but to get back to the point, I use to to feel guilty, his cleaning. my dh. (dear or dam husband depending on my mood) would come home from work and clean, wake up and right away start cleaning. I need coffee first and a couple hrs, and if im really want to work a radio works wonders. I had kids and probably pregnant at the time. I got over the guilty feeling, (poor man has to come home and clean), what kinda wife am I) then i got mad for a while I wanted quiet time with him but he'd be to busy cleaning. the man dosnt sit for too long at a time, thought a maid (u could tell her what to do and how to do it)would help but actually he would go crazy with nothing to do. Many fights later and 6 kids,, I just yell "DONT FORGET THE BATHROOMS HONEY " What a man
BTW thats the only good thing he took from his father, They even cook. mashallah, mashallah , mashallah looooooool

Aysha said...

As I write, the FOX 12 Oregon is announcing if moms were paid cash for all the work they do, it will be this: ...
But, shoot! I had to go get the pizza from the door :P

But gimme a break now, you come from such a DIVERSE family, and still you wore the Saudi type of hejab while abroad? :(

Amy said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Amy said...

$131,471 annually

Huda said...

My husband is Kuwaiti and it's the same thing here - men don't do "women's work". But, I knew that when I married him so there's been no surprises in this respect.

Perhaps my life, much of it spent as a single mother of three, has shown me another side, a side where I struggled so much that I was actually happy to be able to stay at home, to have the time to do housework properly, to have a man care for me, and me in return care for the man.

I think a lot of it is about attitude - most women don't mind caring for their husband, most women I know take a lot of pride in caring for their homes and families and work hard to do so.

But when you're taken for granted, when you feel unappreciated, or if you're just plain overloaded and you need some help, that's when problems enter in.

Forever in my life I am on a quest for balance..
1)to have quality time with my husband,
2)to have quality time with my children,
3)somehow manage to educate myself (secular and islamic),
4)contribute something positive insha Allaah to my world by volunteering in different respects
4) maintain family relationships and friendships
5) look good(goes with quality time with the hubby lol)
6)cook meals that make the family want to run to the table
7) clean/decorate a home that doesn't dominate my life in it's time consumption, yet is comfortable and practical and meets kuwaiti standards (cough cough here)

to name a few areas. I guess I've learned to set my own boundaries, and I'm aware of which areas I can "cut corners in" and which ones I can't.

I can't change my husband - I might love it if he got his own glass of water sometimes, but I bet he'd love it if he didn't have to be here when the plumber comes too. It's give and take. He's not intentionally selfish - he has his role, I have mine, and it works for us.

As a single mom, I really struggled, juggling work, a lengthy commute and parenting three kidlets.

I hear from my sister regularily back in Canada, and she's struggling as a married mom of three - working full-time. Her husband just isn't the kind of person to help out a lot - and she's too much of a perfectionist when he does. It's hard on their marriage, and what she needs is someone to help out in the home. And she's working towards that, to pay off debts so that she can have that, as working for her is a way of maintaining sanity - she is one of those fortunate people who love what they do.

Not to sound like some kind of Dr. Phil or self-help book series, but good communication does do wonders - and so does looking at the big picture.

This is your spouse, this is your family, you want to show them kindness, compassion, love and affection. You're building something, not trying to tear it down.

My husband doesn't lift a finger to clean anything or cook anything in the home, but if I don't feel like cooking, he immediately picks up the phone to order in too. And I have yet to hear him criticize the condition of the home - and it's not always impeccable. He doesn't help, but nor does he complain - and I find he tends to offer solutions or look for ways to make me happy..and in return, I look for the same, only for him.

I was feeling overwhelmed with homeschooling the kids (three teenagers aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaargh enough to drive any sane person over the edge!), trying to cook foods that were unfamiliar to me, looking for arabic classes, deal with a non-muslim family that is struggling with us being in Kuwait (and with Islam in general)...my husband's way of handling his freaking-out-wife was to calmly sit down (alone, sans children), go over the "list of issues", and tackle them one by one.

To be honest, not a lot has changed...but just knowing his attitude was a "I'll try to help you" one rather than shoot me down and compare me to his mother like he could have, was enough to keep me going. He offered a dishwasher, to revamp the kitchen, to finish up repairs that are currently waiting in limbo, things like that. It made a world of difference, just to be heard and to feel validated. Cliche, I realize, but it's true.

Maybe I should feel resentful at times with being a 1950's wife, but I don't. I feel like a beloved wife most of the time. I dont' feel like I'm missing out on anything - my husband performs his role, and I perform mine. It works for us.

I don't chastise men for not wanting to be in the kitchen or help with the laundry - but I do chastise them for their attitudes, for whether they provide the help themselves or in the form of maids or whatever.

I think it's about listening and acting on what you hear, not about who does what. It's about caring and showing it.

None of our men are the prophet (SAW), so they're not going to be able to mimic his sunnah exactly - but if they take just the attitude that the prophet (SAW) took towards his wives, I think that alone would go a long way.

They say that love is a decision. I kinda have to agree. It really helps when both husband and wife make that decision.

TEMSAH said...

ASSLAM ALYOM
I AGRE WIH SOME HUBAND STAK UP, AND NOT HELPING HIS WIFE IF SHE TIRED OR BESSY
I NOWI HELP MY WIFE WITH EVERY THING EVEN WASH THE DISHESE AND SWEAP THE FLOOR IN ADDTION OF THATI CLEAN MY BOTH CARS AND THE OUTSIDE THE HOUSE AND TAKE CARE OF OURS KIDE WHEN SHE IS GOING TO SOME WERE.

saudi stepford wife said...

whoa, Ida...I think many women here already ascribe to your thinking...the divorce rate in the eastern province is staggering!

In my own husband's defense...I've contributed to his lack of participation. I'm too much of a control freak and he just doesn't get the color coded sponge hierarchy in the kitchen...WE women understand you can't use the counter top sponge on the dishes...eeww!

However, when I was a busy student he would iron his own clothes if I was too busy or occasionally enter the kitchen to get himself a drink rather than call me. If I'd delegate more authority things may have been a bit more equal.

TEMSAH- Wa Alaikum Salam and welcome to my blog. Keep up the good work at home and have your wife talk to me if she doesn't appreciate what you help with.

kay said...

If my husband called me to go to the kitchen to get him a drink, I would find him pathetic. I want a man not a baby bird.

Still, I agree with what others say. It's not so much what you do for others as their attitude towards you. So long as I am appreciated it's all good.

saudi stepford wife said...

Kay- Great saying.

If my husband asked me by saying, "sweetheart, could you PLEASE get me a drink, I'm tired", I'd probably knock myself out trying to get it too him quickly. But the minute he says, "Hey, go get me a drink", he just unknowingly requested a lougie-cocktail. I instictively bristle at orders but I'm a sucker for a sweet sounding request, even if I know I'm being played.

أبو سنان said...

Well, I work some 60-70 hours a week and my wife is a stay at home mom and I still find time to cook, do dishes, change diapers, and feed the kids from time to time.

When my wife was on the scholarship I did this as well. It is only fair.

Men who dont help are lazy. Sorry, but it's true.

I am Canadian - no, not the beer ad! SHEEH! said...

My family is mixed from all sorts of races and ethnicities: arab, french, english, and southasian.
My husband is british, I am canadian.

From the time I can remember My Arab father, my Arab uncles and my husband all cooked at some point or another, heck some of them are chefs-by-profession now.

But still, most times, the responsibility of cooking and cleaning will fall in the arena of the women's work.

If I were to logicize this, I'd think that it is out of practicality that these tasks fell into the house-work domain. Since traditionally the men went out to work and the women stayed home.

This tradition seems to have some old-age wisdom accedited to it, if you consider how many hours men had to traditionally stay out of the house in order to bring home the day's catch.

But with today's work-from-home with-the-click-of-a-button culture, I do see the reason for this debate to arise.

Of course, being a "housewife" with children myself, I know that I can be just as nackered if not more than darling husband at the end of the day, but if i were to wait for my husband to come home and cook, the children and I will starve and social-services will be knocking on our door for the mess that can accumulate.

Another factor to consider is the "husband-appreciation" factor. I don't know about what it is for multiple marriage families, but I do know that when my hubby comes home, even though we live in Canada and it would probably cost less if we ordered in. I'd like to have the house in perfect order, the kids fed and groomed and the smell of a home-cooked meal to greet my husband with when he comes from work.

THIS IS BY NO MEANS an ARAB thing. Last year, I remember reading an article from LIFE magazine - yeah THE 60's AMERICAN woman's companion! It had tips for the perfect housewife, you'd better believe a homecooked meal and squiky clean house was on the list!

There is also the right-brain left-brain argument, women are generally more perfectionist about house-work then men and so you will find them finishing off (if not doing the entire job themselves), thanks to the high standards of cleaniness and tidiness that they set for themselves.

There is the fact that other women, from birth mother to mother inlaw, who contribute to the whole culture of house-perfection standards. If it is not the one, it is the other mother who will comment or advise you about how to keep the house clean.

All that being said, there are two options to choose from:

- You can whine and complain about the situation and drag your feet or begrudge your husband. This option has a tendency of sending the two of you in seperate sleeping beds for a while, and evenutally you may find yourself fighting a custody battle for the kids.

- Your second option is to actually change the men around you. Oh dont bother about the men out of your household, the men you teach have a better chance of changing those guys than you.

If you pick the second option, good for you. Now here's some suggestions:

Ladies, no body knows a man like his wife. You know you've got the charm and the assets to train your man. So:
1// ask him gently and sweetly, and genuinely

2// be patient if he refuses (if you are genuinely asking you woudn't get angry if he refuses) and be more patient if he eventually does it- terribly.

3// a little reward from your side won't hurt. If it actually means that much to you, that your hubby cleans up after himself and does the dishes, then how bad is it to give him a little somethin' somethin' for being such a sweetie? He did something to please you, why not give him what you know pleases him? Oh, and please don't tell me you're too tired or don't enjoy it. I bet you he can make the exact same excuses.

Now, about the other men in your life, there are three other men you could change;

your dad - by being the obedient daughter who asks her daddy to
"please do the dishes for me this one time".

your brother - by being the wise sister, afterall " let's do something to help mom at home".

your son- because women like men who help around the house, so the sooner you learn to clean after yourself, the sooner you'll be a marketable catch.

To finish this long comment off, Is it not true that Aisha the wife of the Prophet Mohammed said that he used to do the housework after himself? If anything, I think that is the best reason for any Muslim man to do the housework, because it is in following of the Sunnah, the best example Mohammed S.A.W.
Now, if any of the above men, do not do the dishes because it is a sunnah, then I think you have bigger issues on your hands than a man who don't clean up after himself!

Modern Arab said...

I'd like to share some information about my ultra-westernized-Muslim Arab country (which will go unnamed)

First, women in my country fought for the right to get an education and got it, then they fought for the right to work and got it, then for the right to be in government and got it, now most of the women in my country are educated with high-salary-paying jobs (lawyers, doctors, professor) but the best part is they're STUCK outside bringing-in the income.

Most families here have become so used to the lifestyle and so reliant on the women working.
Most of the men, have given up the fight, since the men population is not as large as the women anyway, men here know that they are a rare commodity and will use this fact to their advantage. They know they can't compete with women in the job market so they make demads:

Women who wish to get married, must have jobs to split the costs of living. Women are also expected to cough up their share of their own weddings.

Of course the biological role of women has not been cancelled, Women are still expected to get pregnant and give birth and breastfeed and care for the children, and even cook and clean, but all of that after coming home from working a full day OUTSIDE.

EVERY SINGLE WOMAN IN MY FAMILY WHO IS MARRIED WORKS. Including: my mother, sister, aunts and cousins.

Those who don't work are single.

So, my dear Saudi ladies, if you think you have it bad. Think about the women who are doing it all and feeding their husbands as well. And as for those of you seeking an education, I suggest you you put your education in its proper place or you could end up "ULTRA-MODERN" and ULTRA-UNHAPPY, like the women in my country.

saudi stepford wife said...

أبو سنان-Some of my American friends and I have pondered a time or two, why didn't we marry white boys? Most of them are already housebroken. For me marrying an 'ethnic' man was a must, I'm a Muslim woman and most of what I had to choose from when picking a husband were right off the boat or completely irreligious Americanized trash. My non-Muslim friends kinda puzzle me with choosing to marry into cultures like this.
It's going to take at least another generation before more men step up here like you (I said more...not ALL, I'm a realist).

Canadian- you make a lot of valid observations and yes, many men work well on reward systems. I call it "Tits for tat".

Modern Arab- The Saudi Diva housewife is going to become a thing of the past. I've noticed two main distinct camps forming with several smaller ones in between them. There's the "I'm a manly-man and will provide for my family (said while grunting and arranging his 'man-parts') and then there's the "Time's are getting tougher, I'm going to marry a woman who can help out" camp. Consequently, the guy in this post belongs to the first camp. The economy isn't the same as it used to be here and it's not as easy for men to maintain homes and a good lifestyle like 20 years ago. This is causing the shift to women working and 'helping out' and all the ensuing issues that you've mentioned. These are the same issues that working women are facing world-wide. Only some men in other countries grew up with working mothers/grandmothers so are used to the ensuing issues.

Ann said...

Assalaamu alaikum,

I know this is late, but modern Arab makes a good point, and I've seen the same thing. In My MIL's generation, there were virtually no women that worked (and many, like her, were illiterate).

Her daughters and daughters-in-law (12 in all) were very different; they all had educational oportunities and all finished high school. Most of them also have university degrees (at government expense) and worked. But some of them kept working after they were eligible to retire (which is at a relatively young age here), even though they would have preferred to retire.

Now, almost all of the younger generation of women is expected to work, and most men want a wife who is going to work.

But in Islam, a wife has the right to be supported financially. This right is fading away though, because nowadays, people think she should contribute financially. And little by little, things change in the society until she has no choice but to work, even if she doesn't really want to.

So at first, it was that some women preferred to work, and that's fine. But very quickly, it got to the point where they had to, and that's not right.

And we always see these rankings of women's status by international organizations, and they're quoted to show how well off the women are in various countries. But they're weighted towards certain things, and these things might not be the Islamic way. So, for example, more points are given for more women working, and fewer poionts for women who stay home to raise their children. If my family can afford for me to stay home to raise my own children, and that's what we want, why should someone tell me that this is detrimental to the status of women?

(As for my husband, he doesn't normally help around the house, but he never asks me to go get him a glass of water, or anything like that.)

Saudi Stepford Wife-Daisy said...

Ann- You're absolutely right, just like 'modern Arab'; it gets to the point that women are EXPECTED to work and contribute. I don't see that happening here, at least not with this generation. One of the reasons that women can get away with it here is when they're at work, their moms/MIL have the kids. They consider it the same as raising them themselves. When it becomes like my family (my mom is still working) whatta ya do with the kids? Then, staying at home becomes more of an acceptable if the only option is daycare, which isn't well established here.

With me, my husband is torn. On one hand he likes it when I'm working and I frequently pay for my own clothes as well as gifts for him from my money. I'm also mentally stimulated and usually happy. When I'm at home all the time, I lack interaction with adults and attack him when he comes in the door for any morsel of outside news/conversation and tend to get moody easily. He likes having me at home, free to do 'houswifey' things but at the same time he likes to see me at my best (a career-woman).

Since I practice what I preach, I'm forcing myself to stay at home since I've had a baby (as I've done with all my kids till they're in school) until I can either find a job which I work out of my home or have minimal and flexible hours outside. I had a job like this last year but missed out on it this year.

Alexandra Lynch said...

Oh, yeah, universal male problem. Even in America, land of "equality".

See, when I walk into a room, I "see" the problems...trash can needs emptied, books lying around, dirty sock under the chair, etc. He walks in and doesn't see it. Might notice if he stubs his toe on something, can't find the remote control, or has nowhere to sit.

We had to start with a checklist of "Is there anything rolled under the chair? Is the trash can more than half full?" and such. And now if I say, "Go pick up the front room before company comes, I'm cooking," he can do that fine and I don't have to come check after him.

But you know, it's been thirteen years. I've got severe physical problems. It was all I could do to get the trash bag to the front door, where he fell over it and said, "What's that doing there?"

Honey. It's there so you can take it out as you go to work. Like we talked about TEN MINUTES AGO, remember?

(rolls eyes) Men. My SONS are being trained to see and to be able to take care of their surroundings. They won't always have mom, they may not have a wife, and really, no one should pick up someone else's dirty underwear. That's just wrong.

Anonymous said...

completely irreligious Americanized trash...I'm stealing from you...more than four words is supposed to set in quotes, right?...or is it four words or more???
Love and Peace,
~Brooke

Anonymous said...

completely irreligious americanized trash.. well. I can agree with disliking people who are trash, in general. As far as being americanized, I guess there are some things about my culture which aren't perfect..as I could easily point out about saudi arabia. and as far as being irreligious... I should only be so lucky as to find a man who isn't brainwashed by man-made ritual. What I don't get is how more than one man at a time could roll off the boat with all three traits (notice, not 'faults'), as most irreligious men I know aren't anything approaching trash, and ... well.. offensive. that's all i'm sayin'. the rest of the posts were really interesting !