Why is it that some Arab men who come from more conservative cultures behave so badly when they find themselves in a more Liberal society?Is it because they come from a culture that puts the burden of moral behavior on women alone & tells men they cannot control themselves?
The concept of a man being cheap is an unusual one. It's not an accusation that men are often asked to defend themselves against. But I have never respected men who gave me the feeling that I - as a woman - am the only one who is setting limits in the relationship - that they would let it go anywhere if I don't stop it. And that they are like that with all women. I always feel such men have no personal or moral standards of their own and are infact dirt-cheap.
The husband of a friend of mine who she caught cheating a while back told her that he hadn't pursued the other woman or gone out looking to cheat - that the woman pursued him. And my friend believes that is true. So is that an excuse?Is a man so helpless against his own physical urges that as his partner I have to accept that he just can't say no?That he'll be faithful only as long as no other woman wants him?
Actually it's not just physical urges that some men seem to be unable to say no to. It's the ego-boost they get when a woman makes them feel wanted. They are so vulnerable to that kind of flattery that it can make them forget their obligations to their partner, to themselves & to their religion.
Is this a product of the way our culture over-emphasizes a woman's obligation to suppress her own sexuality?That men don't think they have to control themselves & actually expect the woman to do it for them & always blame her if control is lost?
It's the woman who has to cover up so they don't get any thoughts. It's the woman who has to refuse when they ask for things they know are wrong. Have lost count of the number of times I had this conversation with a male friend or relative. He would say well why didn't she refuse & I would say well why did you ask?Didn't you know it was wrong?But they seem to think it was all her fault even though it was their idea & they kept asking again & again!The minute she says yes he feels he can do whatever he wants without any guilt because now it's all her fault.
Am not disputing that a woman should keep her sexuality out of the public sphere. That is my personal belief - even though I don't accept the concept of hijab or AlZay AlShar3i because I really believe that the definition of what is decent differs with time & place. You can't make it a uniform. There was never a time when all Muslim women wore the same thing. If you look at folkloric fashions throughout the Muslim world you'll find that while most of them are fairly conservative, not all of them include a headcover. And even the ones who do use the headcover as an ornament - showing part of or a lot of their hair through it.It's hard for me to believe that for 1400 or 1500 years Muslim women were interpreting Islam wrong until we came along in the 1970's & suddenly saw something they had all missed.
My mother told me once a long time ago that decency in clothing is not about what other people will think or feel - it's about how your clothes make you feel. Vaguely I think in the back of my mind that is the standard I follow. Some clothes make me especially aware of being a woman, they have an effect on my mood, they make me more flirtatious, more reckless. These are the things I know are not meant for the public sphere. It's my own thoughts & my own feelings that I feel guilty or responsible for - not someone else's.
But yes I believe the Prophet did say that every religion has a defining feature & the defining feature of Islam was modesty. So it is part of our identity to be modest. Which is fine as far as I'm concerned. But this is a long way from becoming obssessed with the sexuality of a woman while men do what they want.
I think it's sad also the way this has caused so many women to internalize the guilt. Once heard one woman saying that if a man sees one woman & is sexually excited by her & goes of & sleeps with another woman it's the first woman's fault for exciting him. So the woman gets the sin comitted by 2 people she didn't know without her knowledge!What nonsense!