Double Standards?

Ok, I know our Eastern (and some Western) cultures are replete with double standards re men and women. But, since I have not seen such examples in the Anglo folk around me, you will have to settle for my hand-wringing moanings about our Eastern peculiarities.

Ever notice how the things no man and his family would stand for in a woman are the very things a woman and her family are supposed to put with? And go beyond putting up with it, we must almost fall down in gratitude at the man’s feet for the burdens we must bear in his honor. I already sound like I am male-bashing…but please believe me when I tell you that I am not–I do have brothers, so I know all are really not that bad!

However, there are two striking incidents that have occurred in the last year that just makes me shake my head in astonishment. In the first case, which was about a year ago, there was a family returning home from a family wedding. In the car were a man, his wife, two children (one an infant), and his sister. They were speeding along in the dead of night on a lonely road. This is a road used a lot by truckers carrying sugar cane from the plantations to the mills, and these trucks travel very very very slowly with their huge loads. The car was moving too fast, and when a truck suddenly became visible as they came around a corner, the man did not have enough time to stop and went plowing into the truck at pretty much full speed. The children died; the woman, stunningly beautiful, was terribly disfigured and very badly injured, and lost the child she was pregnant with; the man was less badly injured, alhamdulillah, and his sister too was able to walk away without too much damage, alhamdulillah. When the wife came out of her coma, her husband and in-laws did not want her to return to her home with them; rather, they preferred her to return to her parent’s home. In short, she was now too ugly and too damaged to be his wife. Astaghfirullah, wanaudhubillah, la hawla wa la quwata illa billah, may Allah save us all. Ameen!

Case two happened a little while ago. A man got married in his native Pakistan to a lovely young woman, and the family is to be having a community welcome-the-bride party in a month or so. Shortly after them returning from Pakistan, this man, with a history of a few previous childhood experiences, had a seizure. Naturally, this new bride was terrified of what was happening. Anybody who has ever witnessed a human being in the throes of a full-blown seizure knows how traumatizing it is to both the on-looker and the victim, who collapses to the ground, eyes rolling, and shaking uncontrollably. Anyhow, the doctors cannot really say whether this will happen again or not, how much this will or will not incapacitate him, etc. And the bride, with no family here other than her husband’s, really is reconsidering her marriage. And rightly so, in my very concerned opinion.
The girl in case one, and her family, very naturally accepted the divorce that came rapidly on the heels of her losing two children. It is considered perfectly normal: nobody questions how the man could divorce this woman in such traumatic circumstances. After all, she is no good to him now that her looks are no longer there, and she has other injuries that she will need time to recover from. In case two, with the woman wondering how she will cope in a strange land with a husband who might be incapacitated (may Allah save, protect and heal him), with no job or family of her own to lean on, this man’s family is in shock; as in, how could she do this to us? They are not unique in their thinking, but I wonder, if it were the girl to have a seizure, would she not have been put on the first plane back to Pakistan? Along with a long lecture to her parents, detailing the trauma the man’s family lived through in accepting such “damaged goods.”

Will this hypocrisy ever quit? These things still happen a lot in our culture. The idea prevails that a woman should be grateful for marriage at any cost, must ensure (impossibly) that she will retain the perfection with which she entered marriage, and must completely understand that when she falls short of the standards, the man is going to walk the walk. At the same time, its understood that men will be men, they have needs and wants and desires than must naturally be catered to, come hell or high water. The man that does not dump you when are in dire straits will still expect you to get up from your sick-bed and get on with your life. Or have I just seen too many horrible examples of marriage in our so-called Muslim cultures?

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16 Responses to Double Standards?

  1. Muslim Wife says:

    The double standards in “our” cultures make me wanna hurl my raisin bran, especially when it comes to marriage (then they wonder why the marriages don’t last, or why the couple is so unhappy, etc. as if the idea of barakah is some foreign concept).

    Regarding the two examples you mentioned, however, I see a difference. The first one was based on what seems very shallow and superficial. The second one, though, is based on an existing medical condition that the husband was aware of but kept hidden from his wife. The ulema have stated that if one of the parties has a condition that is chronic and serious, to hide this info from the other party is considered deceit and cheating. Esepcially if this condition will affect the rights the party has on the other. Allahu alim.

    It’s sad tho, if the seizures are enough to affect the rights of the wife, and if she does choose to end the marriage, her life will essentially be hell when she goes back home. Audhoobillah.

  2. There is definitely a difference, and I guess I deliberately chose an example of superficiality to highlight society’s reactions to a man walking away and a woman away, when Allah knows, there are plenty of examples that ARE more compatible with the second case. Its as if “our culture” says that the woman is virtually always wrong, in matters where marriages end.

    The thing that gets me is that there is absolutely NO OUTRAGE in such a superficial case. Not from her family, the community, and even the ulema. I don’t mean that I want outrage that will induce the man to keep his wife, no; because, no woman would want to be with a man that does not want her. But just outrage to generate change in people’s levels of selfishness. Whereas, in the second case, while it is perfectly within her Islamic rights to get a move on, the society around here is somewhat shocked that she would consider going back home! Never mind that the condition is something that the woman and her family SHOULD have been advised about. To be fair to the man and his family, it should be noted that they thought it was a thing of the distant past. But still…

    I can only pray that her decision, either way, will not affect her adversely.

  3. queenie says:

    There is definately hyprocrisy in our cultures and unfortunately, it’s always the main reason why I’m always avoiding and reconsidering the concept of marriage. I think that the institution of marriage, as outlined by Islam, is wonderful, beautiful, and fair and just to both spouses. However, the institution of marriage as influenced by our cultures is humiliating, degrading, and unjust to women. It’s awful. Sometimes I think that if only parents spent as much time raising their boys properly as they did fretting over their “young, innocent” girls, we wouldn’t have this hypocrisy in society.

  4. queenie, “However, the institution of marriage as influenced by our cultures is humiliating, degrading, and unjust to women.” So true, you echoed my sentiments perfectly. When will the families of these boys (yes, boys!) realize that these “young, innocent” girls are not a viable match for the wild and crazy boys they are raising? We should all be raising guys and girls on the same set of standards–ethics and morals do not become non-existent entities on the ridiculous premise that “boys will be boys!”  Is it really a lost cause? It sure seems like it 😦

  5. These stories just scare the hell out of me. Marriage sounds like a horror, when in reality its a sunnah. Thats just so sad 😦

  6. Well, I guess its not really the marriage part that is scary. Its the fact that the other human being in the equation is really an unknown until something major happens–then only do you really know his (or her) full measure. We use prayer, Qur’an and Sunnah as our guide, and inshallah we will make the right decisions. 🙂 May Allah give us all partners who are compatible to us, in all ways. Ameen!

  7. Dino$ says:

    Salam Sis 🙂
    omg double standards.. i can go on forever on this TOPIC.. its like soooo common in most ARAB/MUSLIMS!! ARgh… well i dont know if u heard this stoyr but there was a man who i think had an accident and lost one eye… his wife gave him HER EYE cause she loved him soo much… when he was ok and no longer had the “captian hook” look he saw his wife was too ugly for him to be wth her now that she is one-eyed!! HE DIVORCED HER!! AAAARGH wheni heard that story i just was soo furious!!

    selfishness AND double standards is like the worst COMbination!

  8. Em says:

    Salaams

    I read with horror that the two stories that you put up but I know that in certains they do happen..

    Sad BUT true Masyallah!

  9. Dino$, Wa Alaykum Salaam, sis; that is the worst story I have heard yet! What a tragic story. I want to not believe it…but I can’t help knowing that its shockingly real.

    Ahhhhh 😥

  10. Em, Wa Alaykum Salaam, sis! Its as Allah wills, yes.If I were any of these women, I wonder how I would handle it. May Allah save us from such trials, ameen!

  11. Ghasheema says:

    I say this post and i had to comment!

    I personally think men are BIG BABIES…your examples prove that fac,once his toy broken he has to get a new one! And also I see mature, and respectable men having temper tantrums at their wives in public for stupid and pathetic reasons….like hello MR you are in public…ya3ni at least try to keep the image.

    Women are even expected to put up with anything and I mean anything the man says or does even by their own family members. Like I think if we had parents who really looked hard into the eligible bachlor and considered his faults and flaws before giving away their daughter(sorry for the term) it would certaintly help prevent any future problems that might arise.

    Most of “arab” parents always tell their daughters to keep in mind that once they leave their parents house they should return to visit only! not even sleep over just for the sake of sending time with siblings!!!

    So I think its a problem that both sides are to blame for!

  12. Ghasheema, Welcome! I swear men are nothing more than overgrown babies. I so feel you on the public tantrums–it makes me cringe for the poor woman with such a man, and I always have the urge to tell him “Where is your dignity?”

    A lot of times, parents of these women do seem to help perpetuate these things. And when the girl’s parents say that the girl’s real home is with her husband, I am just shocked. I like to think that I will always have two homes: my parent’s and my husband’s home are BOTH my homes! Alhamdulillah, my parents feel the same way…and they feel very hesitant to marry us off to people who think they will “own” us! Which is why I am still single!!! Alhamdulillah!!!!!

  13. Muslim Wife says:

    Girls, girls! Let’s not make this a male-bashing site. We are so above that, alhamdulillah : )

    Also, let’s not speak in absolutes….many men are the way some commenters have described, but not all. And most importantly, we have to recognize that we have quite a few characters in our gender category, as well.

  14. Muslim Wife, Alhamdulillah, you caught me before I sank into that bad abyss. OK, I meant to say, MANY men SEEM like overgrown babies–the ones that are culturally affiliated, shall we say. But, yes, there are many many men that are suffering the ill effects of our negative characteristics…I should get into that one of these days! And, yeah, there are quite a few men who are on the right track, mashallah. If only we could all stick to the wonderful tenets of our beautiful deen, there would not even be a need for such venting. 😦
    Will do a better job catching the male-bashing in future–by remembering my brothers–inshallah! Jazakallah Khair, ya Ukhti! (((hugs)))

  15. …but still true…one year later… 😥

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