Thursday, May 15, 2014

Dealing with "Our Men Don't Marry Women Who Are 'Too Educated' And Travel."

As some of you might've read on my blog, I'm going to Oman this summer. (I try to go each summer to study Arabic in the Arab world.) I love traveling, and I intend to do it for the rest of my life, inshaAllah. I believe that if you have the means and time to do it, everyone should do it because it's a beautiful thing. It changes you in a good way, makes you a better person, makes you see people differently. Makes you more tolerant of diversity.

I'm lucky, alhamdulillah, that my parents have support my plans and dreams. But they, especially my mother, are sometimes reluctant about it. Their main concerns are: "What will people say?" The last time my mother and I talked about this, she said, "Don't tell other Pukhtuns in the area that you're going abroad again. Bya khalak khabare kai [people talk]." Before that, I was also told: "Our men don't marry women who are 'too educated' and travel. They want women they can control and manipulate, not ones who know who they are and what they want." Wow, what beghairata sarri they must be.

So I've a few comments and questions about this thing about how we tell girls not to be too educated, not to pursue their dreams, not to travel, not to be independent, etc.

1. What good has women's submission to men and completely dependent women in our society done for us? What benefits have we seen of this? NONE! Why do we still teach our daughters this, then?!

2. People will *always* talk shit about your daughters/sisters/mothers/wives and other important female family members of yours. They'll make things up if they have nothing truthful to stand by. Mark my words, Pukhtano. This is true for EVERY family with girls. So if people are going to talk anyway, why do we try so hard to feed their ego, their ignorance, their meanness? You'll get nothing out of satisfying them, anyway, because a) you can't satisfy them, EVER; b) they're always going to backbite you, so why even bother?

3. WHY are people so mean? What is it about our people (not just Pashtuns but in all cultures where this happens) that makes them so cruel to each other? Why can't we be happy for each other when something good happens to someone among us and share in the pain when something bad happens--and do this sincerely, not as "YES! This person is suffering! Thank God, about time!"?

4. WHY is this idea so popular that "Our men don't marry girls/women who are 'too educated' or travel?" If it's true (I know, I know - there are always exceptions... but those are exceptions and nothing more, sadly), why are our men so afraid of women who do this? Because ultimately, this is the main problem! Mothers and fathers freaking out that their daughters will not be able to marry if they get educated or "too educated" (whatever the heck that means) or if they travel, live alone, etc.? Why are our men so insecure, so beghairata, so stupid, so selfish that they cannot respect their wives as complete equals in intellect?

5. I'm lucky that I have some amazing male and female supporters, Pukhtun male blog readers, FB viewers/friends, and Twitter followers who seem to sincerely believe in me, support me, respect me, and encourage me. I am thankful to you all! My only concern, though, is ... how supportive are those same males of their own sisters/mothers/wives/daughters? If you haven't thought about this before and you sincerely support me, I beg you to please, PLEASE start supporting and encouraging your own female family members as well. They're the ones who need you more, especially if they're in Pakistan/Afghanistan, where such support is uncommon. But I want you to know, too, that I appreciate you

This isn't a problem among Pukhtuns only. A Persian friend told me that when she told a potential suitor how much money she makes (more than him), he backed out of the engagement saying, "No, a girl must NEVER make more than her husband!" A Punjabi friend told me that she, like me, meets me on planes when she's traveling who tell her, "You should stop traveling or you'll never be able to find a husband because men don't like independent women." Why do men need to feel like they control women? Screw patriarchy.

We need to change this mentality! Women are humans, too! Women are people, too! Women have dreams, goals, futures, plans, too! It's not just a man's world. And for too much of history, women have been deprived of their rights and privileges to pursue their dreams, to become whatever they want, to become something that'll be empowering and meaningful to them, especially so that they won't have to depend on others (especially men). If you're a female reading this, DO IT! Stand up for yourself! It'll be the hardest thing you'll ever do, but it'll also be the best, most important thing you'll ever do. It'll also make it easier for your daughters and granddaughters to pursue their dreams because they'll be lucky enough to say, "My mother/grandmother did this before me. She walked in these challenging footsteps before, and I'm now following her lead."



  1. Interesting topic dai, In Shaa Allah ke time milao su views dersa share kewma.}

    1. Thanks! I look forward to your response when you have time then :)


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