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Old 11-25-2012, 12:39 PM   #61
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So how was it marrying into a culture so unlike yours? As an American woman, I imagine you would not want to be subservient.
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Old 11-25-2012, 12:46 PM   #62
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To compare the things that happen in some of these countries/cultures under the watchful and approving eyes of religious and government authorities with the norms in the modern US/Western Europe is, as nicely as I can put it--ridiculous.

No country is perfect and we've still got problems here. We eventually admit them. We have an in-place process for improvements and a couple of centuries of demonstrated progress (with occasional backsliding--which is generally recognized within the span of a generation or two).

Maybe no culture has reached the "summit" of the moral high ground, but to deny that there are different elevations (not saying you did) is to deny the most praiseworthy area of human progress over the last 5 centuries.
Well said. I was simply trying to make the same point as your first statement...there's reason for humility in our "observations" on other cultures.
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Old 11-25-2012, 12:55 PM   #63
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As long as we were no on Saudi soil, I was not subservient in any real tangible way but my husbands family were Western educated and very modern thinking. While in Saudi there were laws women must follow. You can NOT drive yourself, or be alone with a man who is not family. (you can however be driven around by a male driver if he is a foreigner as he is NOT considered to be a "real" man) You have to get permission to work, bank, or travel and of course women can never be out alone without a male family escort. It makes it very difficult and the modern thinking men in Saudi do not like it any more than the women do.

Most of the girls in his family were given their choices in who they married and all were college educated and well-traveled. One of his sisters husbands decided to take a second wife and she was welcomed back home and not shamed by the family for deciding to leave him.

Women there can be horribly mistreated if they have a bad husband or father. However, from most I knew this was not the case. I can best explain it to people as an analogy. Most of us here in the USA love our pets. We pamper them, spoil them, get them medical care when they need it, often dress them up take them out to show them off and feed them great quality food. But, in the eyes of the law here, they are still dogs and we own them and can pretty much do what we want to them. They do not have rights. That is the life of women in Saudi. Again, if they have good "owners" (husbands, fathers or sons) they can have a good life, but if they don't then they are worse off than the the poor dog you see chained up behind the house who is happy to get a few table scraps thrown his way from time to time.

Women there must always have a man to be accountable to. If her Father or husband are no longer around the responsibility goes to her son. The greatest fear for Saudi men is their women somehow shaming them.
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Old 11-25-2012, 01:26 PM   #64
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......... The greatest fear for Saudi men is their women somehow shaming them.

I read a book written by Osama bin Laden's SIL in which she said that if a Saudi woman crosses her husband in any way, such as seeking a divorce, he can accuse her of adultery and essentially have her executed. Not sure exactly how true this is in practice, but it got my attention.
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Old 11-25-2012, 01:38 PM   #65
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At least when I was there, I beleive the man had to grant the divorce, the woman couldn't get one without his approval. Yes a man could get angry at his wife for something and say she had committed adultery and, yes adultery can be punishable by death. The husband would just have to get a few men to witness saying it had happened. As I said, having a bad husband could be horrible in ways you can not imagine.

I knew of a father who in his own way, loved his daughter very much. She shamed him by being caught alone with a boy who was not family. To save face he "had" to punish her severely and chose to lock her away within the family house for an undisclosed time. He died and years later the girl was still locked away, I think they didn't know what to do with her by then. You could visit the family and if you went to the part of the home where she was kept you could hear her singing and crying and occasionally screaming out unintelligibly. She had gone completely insane. Although I saw some messed up stuff, that was the most heartbreaking thing I ever witnessed while over there.
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Old 11-25-2012, 01:42 PM   #66
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I wonder if you actually lived in Saudi if your life there would have been miserable. I can't help but think that such a life must stink for any women, especially the less educated and those on the lower economic scale. Scary how a woman's well-being depends on the character of the men in her family. God forbid if the husband or father is a psychopath.
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Old 11-25-2012, 03:07 PM   #67
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Even though I am a man...I am convinced the world would be a better place if most of the men never existed in much of the world. That sounds crazy, I know...but men control the world and hold societies back because of their views. Cultures and societies would move forward with less controlling people in the lead. Opinions?
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Old 11-25-2012, 03:16 PM   #68
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Even though I am a man...I am convinced the world would be a better place if most of the men never existed in much of the world. That sounds crazy, I know...but men control the world and hold societies back because of their views. Cultures and societies would move forward with less controlling people in the lead. Opinions?
Game over, turn in your man card.

Do you really think if roles were reversed anything would be different ?

It is all about money, power and controlling people either through politics or religion or a combination of the two.
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Old 11-25-2012, 04:14 PM   #69
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Even though I am a man...I am convinced the world would be a better place if most of the men never existed in much of the world. That sounds crazy, I know...but men control the world and hold societies back because of their views. Cultures and societies would move forward with less controlling people in the lead. Opinions?
IMHO, I wouldn't go as far as wishing men never existed. As there are plenty of good men in the world . Yet I do agree that in most cultures and societies, it seems that men control the power positions.

About a culture like women in Saudi Arabia where they have to cover themselves in front of men, for fear of being shameful to men. I wonder what would Sigmund Freud say? Perhaps it's more of a way of denial on the men's actions towards women, to pretend that it doesn't exist.
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Old 11-25-2012, 04:45 PM   #70
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IMHO, I wouldn't go as far as wishing men never existed. As there are plenty of good men in the world . Yet I do agree that in most cultures and societies, it seems that men control the power positions.

About a culture like women in Saudi Arabia where they have to cover themselves in front of men, for fear of being shameful to men. I wonder what would Sigmund Freud say? Perhaps it's more of a way of denial on the men's actions towards women, to pretend that it doesn't exist.
I agree...I know many wonderful men. In fact, I often prefer the company of men to women, who are oft times not so wonderful. Sorry forum ladies, but I think you know what I mean.

This whole "shame" thing makes my teeth grind. It seems to be based upon a notion that a woman's beauty or sexuality (whether overt or not) is a source of shame. What?

And don't even get me started on the "women are property" thing...
I wouldn't last a minute in this kind of repressive culture. It reminds me of a dog pack hunting mentality.

Malala...I cheer you for your courage!
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Old 11-25-2012, 04:50 PM   #71
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I wonder what would Sigmund Freud say?
A number of the single guys, (OK, and a couple of the married ones whose wives were back in Canada), on our project would R&R in Manila/Bangkok and 'fraternize', (in short term increments), with the local rent-a-ladies........a number of the girls apparently claimed they would avoid Saudi males because they had a penchant for violence...perhaps because they were unable to recognize women as 'people'?

To the relativists: Yes, I'm aware that violence affects every society, but it seems to be far more prevalent there.
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Old 11-25-2012, 05:43 PM   #72
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Violence was indeed very prevalent in Saudi from those in the Royal family to the middle class to the Bedouins. Men would often beat the women who would in turn beat the children and servants. If a woman was beaten too badly by her husband, her relatives would often step in for her, however the servants (basically imported slaves from SE Asia) had it worse than anyone as they had no one to protect them.
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Old 11-25-2012, 05:50 PM   #73
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I should state that women OFTEN have much more power than is believed by outsiders, at least within the family. When King Fayd was so sick at the end, his favorite wife was the one who basically ran the country as he had come to rely on her so heavily. Anyone who wanted access to him went through her.
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Old 11-25-2012, 06:35 PM   #74
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To the relativists: Yes, I'm aware that violence affects every society, but it seems to be far more prevalent there.
Let's give it a rest. Relativism, truth, dogma, reality are still subject to cultural POVs at least in part...there is a lot of middle ground.
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Old 11-25-2012, 06:41 PM   #75
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There are some very interesting aspects to the culture in that part of the world. I worked in Iran back in 1978 and my wife and 1 year old daughter accompanied me. A guard in the building we lived at thought that he could get fresh with my wife. She got away, called me and we were promptly over there with the company security chief. He promptly got a hold of this guy and beat him to a pulp, then he called the local police. The guard got hauled away and the next day we were all brought up before a judge. The culprit was brought in (by this time he had really been worked over) and the judge turned to my wife and through an interpreter asked her what punishment she wished upon him. Talk about a different system of justice.
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Old 11-25-2012, 08:08 PM   #76
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I worked in Iran back in 1978 and my wife and 1 year old daughter accompanied me. . . .The culprit was brought in (by this time he had really been worked over) and the judge turned to my wife and through an interpreter asked her what punishment she wished upon him. Talk about a different system of justice.
Of course, an >>awful<< lot changed in Iran just a year later.
I recommend the recent Iranian film "A Separation" for a glimpse into the Iranian justice system and daily life. I doubt it is entirely without bias (it was filmed in Iran with official approval), but it is an excellent movie in its own right and an illuminating peek into upper middle-class lives in modern Iran. It also touches on many of the themes of this thread. A great movie.
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Old 11-25-2012, 08:46 PM   #77
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Old 11-26-2012, 12:24 AM   #78
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Game over, turn in your man card.
+1. Women in Arabia apparently are at the mercy of a bad or vindictive husband. Men in America are at the mercy of any woman who wants to play any one of a number of woman cards available to her. Either condition stinks, but I bet Saudi men at least are spared the indignity of scurrying around trying to satisfy honey-do lists.

Someone is always on top. I'd rather it be me, then I can be kind and fair. If it's her, it's up to her and that might go either way, and I know myself a lot better than I will ever know her.

Ha
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Old 11-26-2012, 03:00 PM   #79
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+1. Women in Arabia apparently are at the mercy of a bad or vindictive husband. Men in America are at the mercy of any woman who wants to play any one of a number of woman cards available to her. Either condition stinks, but I bet Saudi men at least are spared the indignity of scurrying around trying to satisfy honey-do lists.

Someone is always on top. I'd rather it be me, then I can be kind and fair. If it's her, it's up to her and that might go either way, and I know myself a lot better than I will ever know her.

Ha
Ha, I could envision you as a "Benevolent Dictator" type. . Speaking of your indignities comment, while I only have a GF, I am reduced to hiding my small wager football bets in my own house even, to avoid the incessant wrath from my GF over this. My other 2 married buddies have to hide it
also to avoid the fangs from their wives. I guess we are scared of them playing "one of a number of woman cards available to her".
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Old 11-26-2012, 03:19 PM   #80
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Ha, I could envision you as a "Benevolent Dictator" type. . Speaking of your indignities comment, while I only have a GF, I am reduced to hiding my small wager football bets in my own house even, to avoid the incessant wrath from my GF over this. My other 2 married buddies have to hide it
also to avoid the fangs from their wives. I guess we are scared of them playing "one of a number of woman cards available to her".
I hear you, brother.

Ha
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