Wednesday, March 14, 2007

The desi marriage crisis***

There's an utterly befuddling conundrum afoot in the desi community. To explain you must first understand that for whatever reason desis typically marry other desis, and marriage is valued to the point of obsession. I'm not saying its how it should be but it is what it is and within our insular communities Jane Austin novels are played out in a different tongue on a daily basis. Curiously there seem to be more marriageable girls than than males. How can it be? girl + guy= marriage? The numbers must be somewhat equal. Why is that NOT the case?

Before I begin, please note 1) If you disagree please do so respectfully 2) I'm speaking in general terms, there are exceptions to each situation 3) This is a cultural not religious issue 4) If you're unsure why desi marriages are unique read here first.

#1 Desi men have more options. Desi men can a) marry a non-desi and not face too much flack though his sister would likely be nearly disowned and gossiped about extensively b) marry a girl here c) go back to the motherland. There's a lot of guys going back home to marry. Yet the same parents preferring this for their sons insist on boys from here for their daughter. Why the disparate treatment? The traditional girl from back home is raised to adapt while the man from back home is raised to be the one adapted to. Theoretically, a traditional girl from a village in Pakistan will make parathas, accept the superiority of her inlaws and adjust to the needs of her spouse. But a man from back home expects the same in his American bride. ABCD girls can compromise but we'll have a harder time saying "as you wish" to his and his parent's every wish, its hard to reconcile.

#2 Its a buyers market and he holds the purse strings. The girl waits. He'll go with his family for a dinner prepared painstakingly for him. And some men are so damn cavalier traveling cross-country, eating at their homes and then dismissing her for one hurtful reason or other. Even aunties I grew up with who I expected more of, say "oh the house was too small" or "she seemed taller in her picture." I know more than a few who've gone to the hopeful girl's home with zero intent on marriage insisting "dekhne me tho nahin hurj" (no harm in looking). Oh auntie, but there is harm in turning a girl, a woman like you, into a slab of meat.

#3 Superficiality reigns supreme. Men can be picky about looks while women are admonished for such thoughts. (which I wrote of here) Pics of girls sent to guys can get rejected for reasons like not being light enough, or smiling too much or too little. I guess if you're shopping for meat you may as well buy the best cut?

#4 The doctor expectation.
Guys take a breath, I'm not blaming you here! Here, the blame lies with the parents who demand doctor son-in-laws as a value prized above all others. I'm so tired of the mothers of daughters telling me, humko doctor chahiyai (we wanna doctor). Most infuriating is when these same people boast how religious they are, shoving it down the throats of others yet smiling with their prayer rug still in their hands as I tell them about a pious brother interested in their daughter, repeating the refrain doctor chahiyai

#5 God forbid she be intelligent or make more bling. For just as many doctor hunters there's equally as many men who dont want a doctor wife particularly if they themselves aren't. The same prejudice prevails with women with PhD's or are financially successful. How many times have I mentioned a terrific girl to hear "Bobullah doesn't want her to make more money than him" So a girl with financial success or striving towards her intellectual potential is misfortunate indeed. This one's utterly befuddling to my spouse who reassured me 'feel free to make all the bling you want, I'll suffer the exotic vacations and villa in Fiji, I'm selfless like that.

#6 Desi men don't have to conceal a past for it wont be held against them. A girl with a "past": used goods but a man with the same past: Boys will be boys!

#7 Desi men can wait longer and then insist on a girl under a certain age I have single friends in their 20's, worried and men in their 30's not one bit flummoxed at their single status. A man at 22, a baby. A woman at 22, a quickly turning spinster who must be wed off lest she own twenty cats at the bitter old age of 24. A man at 32 is an eligible bachelor who can marry a girl of any legal age though will likely be uninterested in one his own age or shall I dare say a few months older than him!

*** To conclude, there's no denying parents want the best, but sometimes in their well intentions, they end up doing a world of harm. Looking at the pain of people like Enyur's touching comment, how can one say this way is most certainly better? Its not a hate on parent involvement it works for some, it worked for me, but the general sweeping assumption, that this is the noble way is simply untrue. There's nothing noble in treating our daughters like cattle.

For the counter argument to mine (and the post that actually sparked this one) please see Mezba's blog where he wrote about this from the other perspective.

133 comments:

mezba said...

Yipeee!!! First to comment since it's a response to me.

OK now will read.

Aisha said...

lol, so... you read and were left speechless I assume?

Enyur said...

Wow! I know you said you'd write soon...but I didn't expect it THIS soon!! Way to go Aisha!! I really have a lot to say (as you might have guessed)so I'm going organize my comments and come back soon to post my comment...stay tuned girl! :o)

Aisha said...

LOL, can't wait to hear your take on it Enyur. Yeah it was quick huh? lol. I actually had been meaning to write it for months, but I finally got the "ghussa" (anger) to finally let out my vent! :)

Anonymous said...

The one you have fourth is also the girls fault too because she can tell her parents she is against it.

Aisha said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
koonj said...

I'd like to know why men aren't educating their parents to respect prospective wives. After all, ABCD women are taking plenty of heat from their parents on marriage issues: what about the men?

You know, the whole notion of not wanting your wife to make $$ - well, it's changing rapidly. Now it's getting hard for women to stay at home even to deliver a baby. Husbands breathing down their necks to get to work.

How many families can afford to live on one income? Not many. And yet men like to piously spout the notion that they are "providers" and "maintainers."

Thanks for writing this, Aisha. The whole debate made me angry too - few men have the empathy to know how it is - you know, like minority people have to know THEIR own culture AND white culture; whites only have to know their own. Men don't care to know the experience beyond - well, their own noses. Why bother? Male privilege.

Anonymous said...

Koonj, as an answer to your first question, just an observation of mine - many desi men are very compliant with their parent's wishes. This is to the extent, they will live with their parents (even after married) even though they could afford their own places.

Indyana said...

Well, the inequality just continues into marriage as well, and they cite things like man being the leader of the family and stupid stuff like that...argh!

Suroor said...

Oh, I really enjoyed this post! It so beautifully sugar-coats the bitter truths. Splendid!

That "Bobullah" is classic :)

Bee Amma said...

first of all I would like to say i nearly wet myself laughing at "Bobullah"

now that i have composed myself..
damn i could go on and on and on and on about this so much, but i will spare everyone that.
I thankfully have never been through the rishta process and i hope to never go through it....i don't think i would cope well with it at all, especially after the horrible comments you hear aunties make. Their sons may be no romeo, but they sure as hell want a juliet for him. It makes no sense to me.
I think parents can be very damaging towards their daughters as well, especially if they have more than one, and if one may be perceived to be prettier than the other. (In terms of pushing the apparently not as pretty one to "settle") I have seen it happen, and its awful.
People that demand doctor son in laws, and even daughter in laws.....don't even get me started on that! What is especially annoying is the families that demand a doctor daughter in law (even though son may not be a doctor) and then DON'T want her to practise medicine. Hence acquiring a doctor in the family, but God forbid she should unshackle herself from the kitchen chains and help people!

Point number 7. This point and a related point i have recently thought about alot,so will have to post separately on another day!
I have met only one guy (aged 35) who insisted he wanted to get married to a girl his own age (as he felt he really could not relate to a 20 something year old)...and that he didn't even mind if she was divorced.
Breath of fresh air!
Thanks again for a brilliant post! :)

frenchita said...

Hi Aisha,

A very well written post :-)
I've been reading other blogs by desis in the west, they cite the same probs you do..Back home in India, things have changed, at least for my family...It's not the same anymore..basically the traditions sweeps into the 'aunties' heads.
My mom and I've been reading about marriage from the Islamic perspective..I guess it's because of going away from the religion, people get into all these problems.
I fonly we stick to the Qur'an and the Hadith. Life will be a hell lot easier. Sigh!

sonia said...

Heh heh. Thanks for writing this – - absolutely spot on! and the worst thing ( I always feel) is why do the aunties want all these young women to have to go through all this! They were once young and at the mercies of their ‘aunties’ and worried about their potential mother in laws! It’s horrid when they just turn into the auntie, the aggressive mother-in-law – bring up the boys with different expectations to the girls. More and more girls though are taking matters into their own hands and opting out of arranged marriages.

Interesting point that koonj brought up – I have mentioned this on debates on this topic and related ones here in the uk through the pickled politics forum etc. and Sunny Hundals’ piece on CiF –

that boys are under pressure too from their parents – mothers and aunties and the whole crew. Whilst yes, there are differences in terms of what’s expected from boys and girls in the marriage market - in terms of say – age, professional qualifications, morality, looks etc. – it seems to me that the common factor is that children as expected to follow what parents have laid down, i.e. usually to enter that ‘marriage market’ in that way. And because people have these fixations on what kind of a girl is ‘suitable’ that usually translates into one who must be brought from home as desi girls in the west are not pliable enough etc.

Perhaps I grew up with romantic ideals from reading too many books I shouldn't have been – but that’s really what bothered me always about all this – the element of the marriage 'market’.

I think what’s interesting about all this is it really all comes down to people's attitudes towards marriage. some people increasingly have a more 'individualised" attitude rather one framed by 'familial and moral duty' and that is likely to make a difference.

Tee said...

Alright, alright. {SIGH}... Non-desi raises her hand... "Teacher? What does "Bobullah" mean?"

LOL.

I went over and read Mezba's post before reading yours. I think both bring up excellent points - but being a female I'm going to be a bit biased ;)

(Also, thanks for the link to Mezba. He's an excellent writer like yourself. I enjoyed reading over there.)

Ok - What I see here are a lot of double standards. As Americans we have overcome a lot (but not nearly all) of them. I think that it's the responsibility of the younger generation of the culture to change things. I know that's easier said than done.

For example, you know my husband is Hispanic. In his culture the children are financially responsible for the parents in their old age. I think this practice will be pretty much abolished in the next 2 generations. My husband is taking steps to be prepared for retirement so he won't be a burden on our children. We do not expect them to care for us and I think a lot of hispanics in my husband generation are doing the same.

So I think, Aisha, that your generation can change a lot of these things with how you raise your children. If you don't turn into a greedy Auntie one day, the cycle can stop :) ... So I think there's a light at the end of the tunnel.

I find it interesting that people who profess to be "good Muslims" (and in the Hispanic commmunity, "good Catholics"), can justify behavior that is so contrary to what the religion teaches. I see a lot of greed, love of money, selfishness, judging others, etc. The sad thing is, there is no changing these people. Hopefully their wrong ways will die with them.

As for men not wanting women who make more money, women who are their own age, or women with a "past" - In my opinion, any man who struggles with these issues is simply immature, insecure and not very intelligent - and therefore not worth our time anyway :)

....

I think this is an occasion to boogie down to Christina Aguilera's "Can't Hold us Down". LOL. (Lyrics in part below. I eliminated some of the raunchy parts. LOL.)

...

So, what am I not supposed to have an opinion
Should I keep quiet just because I'm a woman
Call me a b*tch 'cause I speak what's on my mind
Guess it's easier for you to swallow if I sat and smiled

When a female fires back
Suddenly big talker don't know how to act
So he does what any little boy would do
Making up a few false rumors or two
That for sure is not a man to me
Slandering names for popularity
It's sad you only get your fame through controversy (so sad)
But now it's time for me to come and give you more to say

This is for my girls all around the world (around the world)
Who have come across a man that don't respect your worth (oh ooh)
Thinking all women should be seen not heard (ohh)
So what do we do girls, shout louder
Lettin 'em know we're gonna stand our ground
So lift your hands higher and wave 'em proud
Take a deep breath and say it loud
Never can, never will
Can't hold us down

Nobody can hold us down
(Hold us down)
Nobody can hold us down
(Hold us down)
Nobody can hold us down
(Hold us down)
Never can, never will

So, what am I not supposed to say what I'm saying
Are you offended with the message I'm bringing
Call me whatever 'cause your words don't mean a thing
'Cause you ain't even a man enough to handle what I sing

If you look back in history
It's a common double standard of society
The guy gets all the glory the more he can score
While the girl can do the same and yet you call her a wh*re
I don't understand why it's okay
The guy can get away with it the girl gets named
All my ladies come together and make a change
And start a new beginning for us, everybody sing

You're just a little boy
Think you're so cute so coy
You must talk so big, to make up for smaller things
Said you're just a little boy
All you do is annoy
You must talk so big, to make up for smaller things

mystic said...

itna sara karwa sach aik saath likh diya !!!

Enyur said...

Okay before I share my two cents, I want clarify that I’m speaking from my own experience, which is probably why I’ll sound bitter (I’m sure there a really nice guys out there, unfortunately, I just haven’t come across any).

I just think that our culture tends to give men more respect than women regardless of their actions. I guess this is probably because in the Pakistani culture, ‘sons’ are the ones that will take care of their parents once the daughters are married off. They know that if they piss their sons off, they may end up in an old age home (sadly, I have seen many guys who, after getting married, literally kicked their parents out the door. Guess who took those parents in and cared for them? That’s right, their daughters!)

Re: # 2 – What really pisses me off is that most of these guys who come along with their parents to stuff their faces, already have ‘someone’ in mind. Usually they’re just waiting for the right time to bring it up with their parents. My advice to these guys, please do not waste our time. Don’t buy time on our expense. If you have someone in mind, please tell your parents the truth now rather than later. Because not only are these guys wasting our time, but really hurting our self-esteem. What pisses me off more is when the parents KNOW that their son is already seeing someone, they bring him along hoping that he’ll change his mind. Word of advice to parents: Sorry to say, it ain’t gonna happen! Please let him choose his life partner.

Re: #3 – Picky indeed! I don’t know if this is a tactic guys use to stall time and keep their moms busy searching for the “perfect wife” or they’re really serious. First of all, I’m 5’4, wheatish-fair in complexion, Punjabi, and my nose is average (not too short, not to long). This one auntie calls my mom asking my height, weight, complexion, length of hair, whether I have a short nose and whether my face is round or long (because her son wants a wife with a small “Koot” (cute) nose with a round face like a “moon”). My mom told her to keep looking and hung up! Lol!

Re # 4 – At one point, I have to admit my dad was stuck on this. But knows better not to demand that for his daughters. Apparently, the mothers of ‘doctor sons’ are on a high horse (sorry, but that’s what I’ve experienced). The sons probably don’t have much demands but the mothers do. Why shouldn’t they, “aakhir humaara beta DAAKTER hai (afterall, our son is a doctor you know). Mash’allah, I come from a well off family, have a great paying job. I couldn’t care less what he’s making! All I ask for is a decent guy!!

Re: #5 – Fortunately, I haven’t experienced this. What I do get questioned about is WHY I chose to study criminology and not biology. What I really want to say to these parents is…What does it matter??? (Is your son a Ted Bundy or some serial killer and you’re afraid I’ll find out???)

Re: # 6 One guy (a lawyer) that came to “see” me, was interested in me and wanted to talk further. We met and spoke a couple of time (3) and then one day just decided he can’t commit any further as he’s already living with a non-Muslim/Non-Desi girl. And has finally decided he will marry her and not a desi (then why the heck were you wasting my time you goofball?). Now God forbid, I was in his place the whole world would know and I’d have an even harder time finding a guy!

Re: # 7 –Guys or rather MEN who come to our house telling us they’re 30 (5 to 6 year difference, in my opinion is okay – I’m 26) but then turn out to be 40! Umm…yeah, I have a problem with that! To all those “uncles” looking for an innocent, 20 something girl one word: pick on your own size! And unless you really have no clue what year you were born, please don’t lie, because first of all you don’t look young (sorry, it’s just the truth) and secondly, please don’t lie about your age because I will find out.

I apologize if I’ve offended anyone, but I just had to get this off my chest! I’m sure there are people who have had a better experience. Unfortunately, I’m not one of them. I chose the arranged marriage option in the hopes that my parents will be able to find a decent Muslim guy for me but I guess I'm going just going to have to try other means.

Maybe it’s just my luck…*sighs*

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

Sorry about the extra-lengthy post! I do want to add that, societal pressures and seeing your parents losing sleep over their daughter not married adds to the stress.

I think things would be a lot simpler if I was bound by cultural chains. I know as a Muslim woman, I have the freedom to go find a guy but culture tends to get in the way. Sadly.

Enyur said...

Correction: ...if I "wasn't" bound by cultural chains.

Aisha said...

Oh boy, sooo much to say..

Koonj,

You mentioned male privilege and I think that is the reason men dont tell their mothers to behave better. Why change a system that works for you?

As far as a dual $ maker, yes, a lot of these men dont necessarily want her home baking, but just dont want her to make more! Ofcourse I have emt the ocassional man seeking a wealthy wife too though.

Anon, going to your point, yes, why change a system that works, and many moms raise their sons to feel forever guilty.

Indyana, oh yes, thats another post in and of itself.

Bee Amma, do your parents plan to do the rishta process for you? And your NON-Romeo seeking ULTRA-Juliet, is veryyyyyy true. I've head it SOOOO MUCH. Guys who should fall on their hands and knees thanking God for the girl that is accepting them will sigh because shes not fair enough or skinny enough. I've actually told one such guy (he was obviously a close friend) that he is the last to talk, until you yourself are a supermodel, dont demand one.

Aisha said...

Frenchita, I know, its sad isnt it :(

Sonia, welcome to the blog and thanks for your comment. I agree 100% that boys are under pressure to please their parents. I'm not sure how many US born boys cherish the "fair" sking, and other stuff but the parents do and will insist on it. Many such guys I know who went back "home" are actually not happy and were not very enthusiastic to do it. ?But their going along with their parents ends up depriving an ABCD of an opportunity here. So my sympathy therefore grows limited.

Tee, lol, well I use "Bob" as my generic term for odd men so I said "Bobullah" to make it sound more ethnic, lol, that's all :). And yes, Mezba is a fantastic writer! Regarding the reliance on the chidren. That is in Pakistani culture too and I saw it in Brazil which is why the poor had so many children I was told. The chidlren are the retirement plan. But n Pakistan (at least back in the day) and n Brazil they don thave retirement plans offered and 401K's. Living paycheck to paycheck there's no way to save up and plan for the day you can't work. I dont know though, just my thoughts. I think things are changing now, but back in the day, its hard to see how they could do anything but rely on their children for help. /(and thanks for the lyrics, theyre spot on!)

Mystic :(

Enyur, Enyur, Enyur, *sigh*, I read it, and I feel you. I am so glad you decided to write out a detailed comment. Sharing your experience helps hit home. I pray a guy is reading it and I pray it will change the way he plans to behave. Why can't they think, "how would i feel if my sister/daughter was subjected to this". UNBELEIV?ABLE that people are living with others or dating, yet go along. UNBELIEVABLE that someone would ask you about your height, weight, face shape. You really are cattle in that discussion. Good for your mom for hanging up!!! ?I never had such experiences. I wonder why its so different. *Sigh* Hang in there though. Maybe you're meeting a line of bozos for a) an interesting novel AND b) to truly appreciate when the right guy comes along, and value him.

Anonymous said...

I was the anonymous above. But I don't know if the system is working. Personally, I think guys do have an incentive to try to change the system. I think married couples who live with their parents/in-laws will have to go through so much added drama and won't have the same privacy as they would if they lived alone. Wouldn't a guy want to live alone with his newlywed bride? But I guess, maybe, on the other hand, this way he gets two women (his mom and his wife) giving him attention and, in a way, "fighting" over/about him.

Rasha

frenchita said...

there's this hadith, thought would share it with ya'll. This is for men, ahem. the Prophet (saws) said : A woman is married for 4 reasons:- wealth, beauty, status, religion. Marry the one with religion (i.e good character and piety), else you'll be a loser.

reading some comments here just me all the more panicky! at least your happily married, masha' . like enyur said, i'm definitely counting arranged marriage out! I already told my mom i'm gonna break all the stupid unislamic cultural backward traditions, i'm gonna think what's right and what's wrong from the Islamic perspective and not from 'log kya kahenge' !

And there's one more hadith, a beautiful one : there's no better ending for two lovers than marriage'. Tell me how many desi parents will not create a hue and cry when their kids suggest someone they like?!

frenchita said...

a typo...masha'Allah

Chic Mommy said...

wow, great post., and you're so spot on with everything. I have a very good friend who is an Obgyn, she's great, but she's 31 and can't find a man who can deal with #1 her job and education and how much $$ she makes, and #2 her age.

It's so sad, because she's so smart and fun, she's pretty too, but her high education and maturity level is working against her. I don't know why a man wouldn't want her, do they really prefer pretty little things who will worship them rather than a mature woman they can have an intellectual conversation with? It's awful.

ABCDlaw said...

Excellent post as usual Aisha! All seven of your points are dead on. I've experienced a few of them and they have left a very bad taste in my mouth for the whole arranged marriage process. IMHO I think its a lack of communication between parents and kids coupled with the whole log kya kahenge mentality that perpetuate all the crap that goes on. Thanks for linking to the overseas marriage post, it was eye opening and very accurate.I always wonder why parents who want whats best for their kids, would screw up their life so much.

Tee said...

Bobullah. LOL. I thought I was missing out on some joke in another language. Duh. I knew you use "Bob"... Hee hee.

Now as for using children as a retirement plan - while I see your point of view and don't doubt this is necessary in many cases, one might be able to argue that if they didn't have so many children to feed and clothe, there might be just a little bit of money to put aside?

Anyway, for people living in true poverty, I'm not here to judge. Obviously it's easy to say what I'm saying growing up in the US and being accustomed to our way of doing things.

The real problem I have is with greed. There are many parents who can afford a decent living but still must be placated with gifts of cash in large denominations - and the children do it because if they don't the parents tell everyone what a bad son/daughter he/she is.

I'm speaking from experience on this one. My mother-in-law owns 2 modest houses in her country which are fully furnished. She is still only in her 50's, receives a pension, fully capable, not at all handicapped, and has a lot of family. Yet she expects her sons and daughter to constantly provide her with large sums of money - not even for a particular holiday. She expects it on a regular basis - like an allowance. Meanwhile she spends this money on junk she doesn't need - not on necessities.

Tying this into your post, so much of the behavior of the older generation in some cultures is driven simply by the desire to keep up appearances and out of greed and that is neither Christian or Islamic.

empathizer said...

Awesome post.. well written. Honest But to Enyur, girl, just be patient and know with CERTAINTY that you will be rewarded by Allah HIMSELF. Imagine yourself being able to be in a position to say that I didn't do anything unIslamic, just because of fear of God and no one was watching me but I had this God-consciousness. What if you die single? Yes, to the world, it may be,"aah poor ladki, couldn't even get a guy", whereas you knew EXACTLY why you are single. The conviction got to be strong and you gotta be strong. and that is the meaning of living and dying for the sake of Allah.
I am single, AND happy. My only thing was that I wanted a nice guy, and a knowledgable guy with good Islamic education. Never looked for a doctor engineer or anything in particular. Never looked for looks. All I asked for was a "pure" man, and I still have not come across any. And I got no regrets. If men can't live upto meet our standard, it's their problem. And it is NEVER an absolute necessity to get married. It's the MOST wonderful thing for you, but not an absolute necessity. And there is no reason for us to compromise our deen. We never know when the "time" comes for us. How much will that matter in our grave?
Sorry about becoming to depressing about it. But seriously, we don't have that many good men outthtere, period. And when Muslim men act worse than non-Muslims, I got NO time to deal with them.

When a man can be crude and uncultured enough to ask for specific details about a woman's body, seriously, I got NO business with him. Media uses women as sex objects, and that's enough of a problem for me. I ain't gon' marry any idiot who doesn't know how to value women as human beings.

...
"tried to give you warning, but you
told you everything loud and clear, but no body's listening"
--signs off singing linkin' park

Arfeen said...

wow .. a lot of comments here from women ... so I thought I'd drop in a brief comment. First of all, I agree will all the points that you've made Ayesha. I feel quite strongly about your second point about people who think like "dekhne me tho nahin hurj" because I've had that happen to my sisters and cousins, and it used to make me really mad.
But I would also like to add that a lot of your observations are based on stereotypical images of desi guys. I personally know a couple of guys who didnt behave like that when they were out in the market to get married. And like somebody said in the comments above, in a lot of cases, the guy is usually quite complacent with a decent looking-down to earth girl, but the parents (usually the mother) keeps trying to get a better looking girl ... and a richer family etc....

And to respond to Risha's(anonymous) comment about guys living with their parents after marriage. Believe me, I really think that my life would be a lot eaiser and with a lot less drama if I live away from my parents after getting married. But I dont believe that it's right to leave your parents to live alone in their old age and let them deal with all the increasing complexities in their daily life alone. But anyway, thats a completely separate debateable topic. I'm off to read Mezba's blog post now ...
Peace!

frenchita said...

Anon, but an arranged marriage is not the only Islamic way of getting married, is it?

Anonymous said...

Arfeen, I agree that there are instances where it is necessary to live with parents. For instance, if they are old, need daily care, etc. And I admire anyone who takes on such a responsibility. But for some people, the parents are still young, both work, and they don't really need their sons YET. So, my thing is why don't they live on their own at first, and maybe later, they can move in when it becomes needed.

Rasha

desi guy said...

A lot of good comments have already been made. It seems like mostly women have commented, so here's a viewpoint from a desi guy. I think my observations and attitudes represent a typical desi guy.


1) It may be a buyers market for guys that are considered attractive and/or are monetarily successful according to desi standards. But outside of that subset its certainly not the case. If we are focused on just the arranged situations, I know plenty of guys who have been rejected at the picture exchange, early introductory, and later stages.

And if we are talking about non-arranged situations, then I have to highly disagree with the premise. I know many more guys whose introductory advances have been rejected then the reverse. While that's not exactly speaking to marriage, it still speaks to the concept of relative power among guys vs girls. Now among desis unmarried and in relationships, it could be true that guys can and will hold out longer on getting married. But in that we would reflect the population in general, at least here in America.

2) I would highly object to men having a monopoly on superficiality. I can't tell you the number of desi guys I know who have trouble meeting desi girls, arranged or not. Many of these are regular guys who would treat a girl well. But the movie star looks gene skipped them and they aren't in one of the sought after professions, so there they are. Certainly I don't disagree with the cultures hangups on looks, skin tone, etc. But in my experience the issue can work both ways.

4)What about my bro's from overseas living in America? The number of them that I know who have zero chance with a desi girl from the West, its probably higher then I can count. Ok, so they do have the option of going back to find someone. But in many cases that is their ONLY option, so it does speak to relative power that guys and girls have in this culture. And I can think of, albeit very few, examples of desi females who have come to America on their own to pursue education and/or a career. To the extent that they were interested in finding someone here, I don't think being from overseas was a disadvantage for them. Actually in some cases it was even an advantage.

I'm coming at this from a male point of view and speaking only based on an accumulation of anecdotal data. I'm not sure how things would look if there was actual scientific data from a random sample on the subject. But I would doubt that it would show a power balance as drastically in favor of men as your post implies.

One final comment, I agree 100% with your points 5,6, and 7. And perhaps those issues are ones that tip the power balance in the guys favor. However, aren't they attitudes that will only be changed when enough women decide they won't accept them (primarily from elders). I'm not trying to imply that would be is easy, but that among the issues you described those 3 are probably the most important and ones that women potentially can have the most impact in changing.

Anonymous said...

Phew what heavy duty stuff! Why to give hell a shit to aunties? They are just not worth our time.
To make things light, check out my imponderables.

Haleem said...

Hi Aisha, thanks for commentin. Lot of people have put in good words, let me just put my 2 cents.

Guys go back to Bangladesh (or Pakistan) for many reasons, and it doesn't mean we are being bad or anything. It might be because girls here suck.

First, girls from bangladesh are more beautiful. They know how to dress in saris and shalwars and are usually more feminine. Girls here are rough and tough.

Second, girls here are not Islamic. Only in name.

Third, they have too many demands and are/have been involved in relationships.

In retrospect, i think the same can be sad for guys. But I am generalizing ofcourse

Anonymous said...

Haleem, I've seen the second and third things you listed more in girls from overseas than the ones here, actually.

Aisha said...

Rasha, I guess "living with parents" is an issue after the stage that I'm venting about, but it is an issue. Am I correct in assuming you live in such a system? That could be a post in and of itself! I agree with you, if they need you, you should be there for them. I dont believe in nursing homes for elderly parents at all. But if they are capable of healthy and able living together is not a good idea. I mean its not just living together but how difficult it is to deal with so manyu different persoanlities and expectations. When you get married, you probably dont want to live with your family eiter, much less his. Its strange to me that this still happens... I sometimes forget it does.

Frenchita, arranged marriages dont have to be unislamic. My list is generalizing but I met my husband through this route and no one asked me to weigh myself or wanted to kow my skin tone or any other ridiculous thing. I wasn't treated like a peice of meat. However, as Enyur points out many many many women do...

Chic Mommy, I wonder that too, when does it get old for a 32 y/o man to be married to a 20 y/o from the pakistani village? I mean if you're an educated american educated man... how oes it work? Or is it b/c you never saw such discourse with your parents you just dont think its needed?

abcdlaw, i think parentsw screw it up b/c they are scared. Its what my post on overseas was about. Parents were so scared, thaat they sent my friends at 18 to get married to cousins in Pakistan. The results have invariably been tragic. Fear is never a good reason to enter or make your children enter into such a huge lifetime committment.

Tee, two paid for homes? Um yeah. But yes, its prevalent in desi culture too, 'oh my son bought me this car', or whatever..... its ridiculous. I just dont let it get to me. When there are such murmers I quickly quell them. Absolutely ridiculous to be feeding the egoes of mothers who want to one up their friends.

Aisha said...

Empathizer welcome to the blog and thank you for your comment. You said it all brilliantly. Absolutely brilliantly. Thank you very much for your thoughts.

Arfeen, welcome to the blog, and thank you for weighing in, what Rasha said about the taking care of parents, she said it well, and I seconded it in my comment to her in the previous comment. Also, you're right I am generalizing as I explained in my second paragraph, to some extent they are stereotypes however each and every single example I gave is based on real life encounters of either myself or my friends, so they are not assumptive stereotypes... and my husband is someone I met in this process and he most certainly did not behave in the negative ways I detail in this post, so yes this is general. And yeah it is the parents not the boys as much, but the boys should let their parents know when they are doing the wrong thing. A grown man is capable of letting his parents know when they are treating women like cattle.

Desi Guy, WOW, ok, much to respond to: I'm focusing on arranged marriages. Good point, yes guys also get rejected too.. but from seeing the society based on mine and the anectodal experiences of my friends and family members, the ratio is skewed. BUT yu are correct that guys get hurt to. As to your second point, sure guys might get rejected for looks but I'm talking abotu the cattle mentality. I dont hear about guys getting calls with the girls mom saying "how big is his nose, how fair is he?" the cattle mentality is more for the woman, Bros living here from Paksitan (i.e. born and raised in Pakistan) are to me typically equivalent to guys from the motherland. At least from my experiences though two good friends of mine are guys from the motherland and defy all machismo stereotypes. Yes girls form back home marrying ABCD guys wont have as much of a problem even if the fob girl lived here, thats my point. Its easier to adjust for them. And you are right a lot of these attitudes will only change when women decide they wont do it anymore. Part of me wonders if this trend is dying down anyways with the next generation of children. Pehraps it will.... organically, on its own .Thanks for weighing in! You gave me al ot to think about.

Haleem... your idealization of girls from back home is interesting and your animosity towards girls from here is the reason why I wrote a post such as this...

Anonymous said...

Actually, I don't live in such a system. But, like you, am speaking from what I have seen around me, with close friends, etc.

Rasha

empathizer said...

@ Haleem:
"girls from bangladesh are more beautiful."

Why complain about people's beauty when you couldn't really polish your innerself... to be a beautiful man.
About Islam: I think it's one of the most UNislamic thing to say that they are not "islamic". When it comes down to Islam, I would use better judgment before making this kind of statement, not because you come off as offensive to many, but because, God will hold us all accountable for our words, both what we say and write, anonymously or otherwise.
Them having too many demands: well, they are in a developed country. There is a big difference in standard of living between the West and the East. And if you can't live upto the western standard of living, you are VERY WELCOME to go back home, where you living standard will match. Fair enough?
About relationships: another ignorant as hell statement.

Don't mean to be attacking you, but just saying, your comments are ignortant as HELL!
It made me laugh (more like, are you flipping serious!!!)
You gotta see some of this world.. go travel, it will open your eyes/mind.

mezba said...

Wow - so many views. You already know mine from my post.

There are some advantages for guys to go back and marry from over Bangladesh.

First, even if a girl (from back home in Bangladesh) had been involved in a relationship, once she comes here it's a clean break, no one here will probably know about it, and chances are less that you will run into her ex or that circle.

Second, despite what we in the West say about how fast life has become in Bangladesh, it is still slower and more Islamic than here. It is wishful thinking to point at a couple of girls who have had abortions in Dhaka and say all girls are like this. So, even if she was involved in a relationship, chances are they have not gone beyond first base. Here - anything goes. I personally know of a girl here who went all the way with her boyfriend while "seeing" a prospect.

Third, and I agree with Haleem and Desi Guy - girls here are more superficial. They have to realize one thing. If you can judge us by our number of degrees or the dollar bills we earn, it is PERFECTLY ok for us to judge you on your beauty.

Even if you are not superficial, would it hurt you to put on a bit of make up and be a little bit, more, lady like? No. Just as it wouldn't hurt us to tuck our shirts in and get rid of the leather jacket for a suit. Don't be offended if we are just being men.

Fourth, it is well known that "good" people have no value. Girls like bad boys. Fact of life. Guys may like bad girls but will not bring her home, so many won't even take the first step. Girls dream of taking a bad boy and 'converting' him.

Fifth, as I said, by all means study and earn the bling bling, but don't delay your marriage. To both guys and girls, especially girls, your "value" will decrease after 25. It's the system - like it or not.

Anyways, that's my, um, two cents.

Rabia said...

Yeah, I hope we don't act like this with out children, Insha'Allah. But, I am starting to believe, "Its a man's world."

koonj said...

It's a crappy world, rabia, I'm afraid. All I can say to the single girls is - don't rush into anything. Mostly, it's a &^%load of compromise and silencing - because generally, men can still not handle living with another being that is fully human. They'd really like to live with half a human being, half a citizen with half the rights. And then get credit for being "kind" maintainers.

Except when they grow old and have daughters. then they cry about how bad men are.

Watch out, boys - some day you will have grown up daughters. Imperfect women with "pasts" and the desire for respect. Your words may haunt you.

The women you're talking about are someone's daughters.

Squarecut said...

Mezba and Haleem, I really think you guys should go to Bangladesh and get married there. You know, this is pointless and baseless to generalize and try to convince yourselves that girls in Bangladesh (or south asia) are prettier, more religious, cleaner, better, submissive, made up and what not. I say it, just because I think (from reading your blogs) is that you yourselves are NOT convinced enough to back and hence resort to so many essays in trying to justify your wish to marry from back home. And then when you can't find anything solid, you start making these crazy stuff, which is NOT the majority of the cases within the Muslim community, both in the East and the West.

Just go back home and get your perfect wives and stop saying things that are not only offensive, but often ridiculous.

Sounds like personal attack? I know! But the message goes out to anyone who wants to marry from back home. Don't bother trying to say "why"? THere is just no good excuse. Yes pretty faces and baseless suspicion of someone's chastitiy really are not good reasons. It's just that I think it's not "right" to make baseless statements about women's character just because they live in the United States.

Thank God, I am in the United States, and thank God for my education and thank God for my financial independence. It's all in my rizq. And because of what God has blessed women in the West with means that some men from our own country get threatened, well, that's lack of sense of "ISLAM in practice" right there. And trying to put a "value" or better yet "price" on a woman is kind of sad. Remember, it matters not what prices anyone puts on any human being. It's the system, yes. But if you claim to belong to this new generation and claim to be better than the forefathers and try to make things better, maybe we sould try to make it a better place and start with our words and language. It starts today and it starts now. If you want to perpetuate this system of oppression, well, it's your choice, and we all know that we will all be held accountbale for NOT speaking up against the oppression and falling into group thinking and cultural boxes are not excuses to get out of the obligation to speak out against oppression. And a person with good heart, maybe thoughts should go the other way around. Talk about Islam? Let's follow the prophet... seriously! Talk about others not having Islam, let's look in the mirror and see how much of Islam we got in ourselves (i remind myself before anyone else).


I will stop. But, for God's sake, stop making general statements about women's characters/chastity, both in the West and the East. Have good opinion of people. If not good, at least have neutral opinion, if you cannot afford to have neutral opinion, jut don't think about it.

Aisha, sorry about taking up your comment space like this. But these comments saddened me and angered me and frustrated me... I recognize anyone's freedom of speech... but at the same time, I also ask for respect...
but who cares?

mezba said...

Squarecut, I am just sharing some observations I made, as Aisha did of boys in her post.

Generalizations? Yes. What I have seen? Yes. It's pretty hard to deny what you personally experience.

As for reading my blogs on that topic, I only wrote that one post on this topic, nothing else. So I don't know where you get the idea that I am about to pop back to Bangladesh.

I am not saying this is how it should be - I am saying this is how it is. And what is - is that girls here will always fight a losing battle against girls from back home in the minds of guys here.

Anonymous said...

Mezba, I'm not denying that what you have seen does happen and that there are girls who live in Canada and the U.S. that are not religious and have extra-marital relationships and the like. However, there are many good, religious girls out there too. Aisha's generalizations were more about the demands guys and their moms make, and thus probably won't hurt the single guys out there, but saying that girls here are superficial and non-Islamic and anything goes for them hurts all of the Muslim girls in the West' reputations. That is the problem I have with your comments.

ABCDlaw said...

Woah 45 comments (add mine and you have 46) on the first day, that's awesome Aisha, congrats :)

Everything written above has been really indicative of desi society (in regards to arranged marriages anyway), you have the people disgusted with the status quo and are trying to do something about it, the people who perpetuate the above stereotypes, and the people who feel that its wrong, yet accept it and let it go on.

I think that finding the right mate is closely linked with finding another family with similar values and ideals. A match between an ABCD and a person back home CAN work, but there has to be a similarity in lifestyle or rehensehn .For example, when I go to pakistan I don't even have to get my own glass of water, you have servants to do that, drivers to take you places, a cook, people who clean daily, dhobis who you send out your laundry to... Take a girl who's lived like that and throw her into married life here and she'll go insane. Or take a guy who's lived there, has his own ideas about what it means to be a husband, how he wants his household to be, how men are viewed etc and pair him up with a ABCD girl who has been given a fair share of independence her whole adult life, one who already has a set routine, you're bound to have clashes. But if you find a family (and I mean the parents AND the people being set up) with similar values, like they both value prestige, financial success, looks etc. Then the match could work. The money obsessed will be happy to show off the bling, the looks people will take pride in showing off pictures of the beautiful couple, and the prestige people will happily brag to one and all about all the accomplishments of their new son/daughter-in-law.

Lastly, Empathizer you said it beautifully about pleasing Allah and so what if we die single, we die with our convictions intact.And sorry to hear about not finding someone who met your requirements. Inshallah you will. And when you do, please be sure to let us all know, so we can have some hope!

ABCDlaw said...

*Just to clarify, when I said written above, I meant in the comments section)*

Adnan. said...

The following are scattered thoughts:

I just want to point out that not all guys are asses.

What people (auntie/uncle circles) need to realize is that there are no forumlas. A "koot" nose doesn't guarantee anything.

No formulas! Girls from Bangladesh are prettier? Umm... right, 6 billion people on planet earth, 150 million of them live in Bangladesh, and the concentration of pretty women just happens to be in this 150 million. Very nice, I'll be sure to swing by Bangladesh next time I find myself in South Asia.

No formulas! Traditional girls will accept the superiority of the in-laws? Does nobody watch or hear about Zee TV soaps?

"dekhne me tho nahin hurj" - dekhne mei hii to hurj hai!!

"log kya kahenge" - Good Lord have mercy. mei kya kehrahahoon? meri baat sunoo! 'log' are the suck. everyone lives in a shattered glass house.

I'm allergic to doctors.

good looks? does anyone care about a person's personality? their manners, their passions? etc... what a shame.

Marriage is so complicated. You have to be scared/overwhelmed by it. It changes the rest of your life. I am in no way doubting that girls have it worse, but at the same time, it's not easy sailing for the guys either.

frenchita said...

Aisha : I wasn't talking about arranged marriage being unislamic. The pointers you wrote about while choosing someone are unislamic.
I honestly couldn't relate much to these points. Things have changed for my family back home in India..
All we would want would be a decent guy/girl..doesnt matter what color, race..and the consent of both the parties is of course a must..
I will write these again, the two hadiths.
This is for the guys , the Prophet saw said, 'a woman is married for 4 reasons: beauty, status, wealth, religion. Marry the one with religion(i.e good character and piety) else you'll be a loser'.

This one is for the girl's parents. : The Prophet saw said ' when a man of good character and piety proposes you, marry him, else the world will be a place of tribulations'.

Maybe i'm off topic,apologies for that..It's so clear from the abv hadiths, how much emphasis is laid down on the character of the guy/girl.

Bottomline is, what the Prophet saw said in his last sermon ' As long as you stick to the Quran and the Sunnah, you'll never go astray'.
May Allah guide us.

The friendly lion said...

Wow, 49 comments :)

i totally agree with your post. its amazing that no matter where we live we make sure to take all societal/cultural evils with us.
i hate this "log kiya kaheengay!" statement, when the truth of the matter is that no matter what you do these bloody log will have something to say, so why should we care. especially when you dont want to be concerned with their type! this lambi, gori, patli larki syndrome is awfully irritating especially when the son is a bafoon. as isheeta beautifully put it, cute babies result from two good looking parents rather than just the mother.
as far as daaktars are concerned, dont the desi aunties know, CAs earn more money and work so much better hours!
i have way too much to say abt all this stuff so i think im just going to write it on my blog.

sonia said...

thanks for the welcome aisha! good to hear everyone's two cents. i think we do all tend to come to this from our own experiences. desi women know how this is a big thing in shaping how our lives pan out.

well let's look it at this way. there is plenty of 'hope' because yes a lot of young guys are changing and not sticking to 'sterotypes' and as someone pointed out - want to marry someone they want to..and live with them without momma hanging over them! but i think it comes back to family "expectations" and norms. if you've been brought up momma's boy and think you're the bees knees as so many boys are brought up to think - well then! they're not going to have any incentive to change because they think that's the way it ought to be! So the family dynamics play a key part - and i think this post is all taking an honest look at those dynamics. it is obvious that gender inequality and what i call 'male worship' is a key part of the situation.

Yes there is lots of change happening, but at the same time, there is a lot of perpetuation of the same.

I think in an immigrant context this is significant - as sometimes in order to 'hang on to tradition' normal change is shunned.

not being an 'immigrant' myself but having lived in britain since uni days, it's been interesting for me to observe the situation my British Asian friends found themselves in. the added difficulty they had in 'challenging' their parents was that families could turn around and say 'ish you've become just like these goras, these westerners. we're desi we don't do this stuff, see i knew we should have never left x y or z -insert 'home country' of choice) And that complicates the dynamic and makes it much harder to 'unbind those cultural chains'.

Haleem said...

Well... never it be said marriage is a dull topic!

Adnan, Squarecut, Empathizer,

I don't need to justify any decision to go back to Bangladesh. If I don't find what I want here, I will go back, and who cares whatever. The fact that girls here constantly tend to demonize the girls back in Bangadesh only add to to my belief that something is not correct here.

Yes, there are decent girls like Aliana, Pyari and so on,but they are rare. On average, once you step out of a close circle, Bangladeshi girls here are more engaged in "lare-lappa" (translated as masti) than guys.

My comments about Bangladeshi girls being more beautiful, while dismissed sarcastically by adnan, will be borne out by any guy who has gone over there. Girls from middle class there know how to wear a sari, for example, or look feminine, and follow the Indian soaps as far as grooming themselves goes. Here its highlighted hair, loud plastic earings and fur laced boots.

Aisha said...

Mezba, ok, you know we're still cool though we obviously disagree here, lets go down the list. First point, so you prefer to be an ostrich and stick your head in the sand. At least you wont know about her past? Its not an unusual statment, we always laugh at how most ppl marry ppl from other states cities... as though somewhere else must be better than here. You just dont know. Mezba, I can't speak for Bangadesh but your comment about more Islamic sounds like a load... at least for Pakistan, I know that for the most part ppl are more conscious of faith here. Here, to be ap racticing Muslim you must go against status quo and make a decision. The practicing Muslims here are actually omre likely to do so out of pure conviction. Just as you said, dont use two abortion cases in Dakkah to generalize all Bengali girls, how about not genralizting based on one girl who had sex with her boyfriend while considering proposals? That is certainly not the norm. And Mezba no its not okay to be that superficial. Girls should not be greedy, guys should not be obsessed with beauty that fades. OFCOURSE you should be attracted to your spouse, DUH. But to demand a particular nose, a shape of the eyes, a skin tone. That is not right. Just b/c a girl might have bad demands DOES NOT make it perfectly okay. And the value of a girl after 25 may be your view, but to uphold it and to say it is how it is, means nothing wil change. WHO is going t ochange it afterall?

Rabia, I believe it is.

Koonj, you said it so well. Thanks.

Squarecut, welcome to the blog and thank you for speaking up. Please dont apologize for the long comment, dialogue must be exchanged.

Haleem, no desi girl, Bengali or otherwise is being demonized. They adapt easier, they are raised to be more accepting of situations and I said that on my post. No one is demonizing those girls, but you are demonizing us. I did ask for us to be respectful to one another and your statements and descriptions of us are very rude. I'm talking about the need for a system to change, but I'm certainly not calling men names. The points I bring is not "men suck" but the auntie and community that our society is made up of, the demands made upon us and the society that promotes this, needs to be thought about, particularly in the country we live in. I hope you find the girl of your dreams, and I really do mean that. But there is no need to call us unIslamic with loud plastic earrings either. Unless you plan to marry from the motherland and then remain there to raise your family, if you choose to live here, your daughters will be of here just like us, and your words may come to haunt you. Be careful with the disrespect because you are spitting upon someone's daughter.

ABCDlaw, wonderful point. Ofcourse, every girl and guy from Paksitan is unique and will have different exepctations.

Adnan, welcome to the blog and thank you sooo much for your comment. I appreciate it.

Frenchita no need to apologie, I just wanted to make sure I understood what you said. The hadith are good and its very relevant to this topic. Thank you!

TFL, LOL!!! Great points! I hope you do write about it, I'd like to read more about your views.

Sonia, you are from the UK? Are there second/third generation parents now with marriagabe daughters? I am curious if the arranged marriage system is dying out now due to assimilation?

Enyur said...

Wow 51 comments!!! Aisha does it again! lol!

I know it's unfortunate that many people have to go through this yet at the same time I feel relieved to know that I'm not the only one! This is like the Marriage Anonymous? (Wait, that didn't make sense, nevermind)

Empathizer, thank you for your encouragement, what you said was beautiful and honest.

God forbid, I'm not worried that I might remain single all my life, but what worries me more is when my parents worry. All they want is to see me happily married so they can sleep in peace. But I just wish that my parents would stop worrying about "log kya kehangay."

Em said...

Salaam.
Aisha, apart from no 6 (which I totally don't believe), I think you make good points. I have something to say about number 1 after this short note to Haleem.

@ Haleem: From my experience, girls from back home are less "Islamic" than here. Unless you define "Islamic" to be dressing in niqabs and hijabs. If it's 'ilm instead, you're wrong. Among other reasons, it's because Islamic resources are more limited for women back home, and what is available tends to be sectarian (largely TJ or JIB).

That said, I agree that there may be compensating advantages in women from back home, just two of which I'm mentioning here.

One - women from back home are less likely to have OCD wrt gender equality (equal working hours, equal pay, equal nappy-changing hours, equal breastfeeding hours)... oops, the last one's not on the list yet, how inconvenient! *sarcasm* I'm sorry but Islam as I understand it is for gender-equity not equality.

Two - women from back home are more likely to have attended college from home rather than at dorms, and the community is sufficiently homogeneous for parents who seriously care about their daughters to keep their daughters under check.

The wife's primary role is homemaking (both Islamically and culturally). Her 'net worth' is only secondary, insomuchas it doesn't complement her homemaking role (note, education can enhance homemaking abilities).

Wait, but why not guys from back home for the daughters then? Well, the husband's primary role is providing for the family. The better educated he is and the better he earns, the better he can fulfill that role -- bring on the immigrant CEOs and the MDs. Irrational? Scarcely.

Anonymous said...

...whoa!...talk about a controversial topic...thankfully i found a guy whom i wanted to marry, both of our parents were fine with it and we got married...painless and everyone was/is happy...however, having been through the whole "bringing-out-the-tea-trolley-because-the-guys'-parents-were-over" routine i can honestly say, there was nothing i loathed more than that...it was derogatory and i felt like a piece of meat for sale...shudder...i've vowed this is something i will never subject my daughter/s to and something i will never indulge in if i have a son(s)...that's how i plan to 'change' this...

-ash

Em said...

Salaam.
I'm back, to ask a question to the non-Bangladeshi desis who have gone back home recently (hope you don't mind, Aisha):
I recently returned from a trip to Dhaka, and I was shocked to find that most marriageable women had their eyebrows plucked (which Islam condemns). Is this also the case in Muslim India or Pakistan?

desi guy said...

It seems like concensus is not going to happen on this issue, but I have to respond to a couple of things I read.

Mezba, you seem to have roped me in as a supporter in one of your comments. Nothing can be further from the truth. In no way did I say that "girls here are more superficial". A more careful reading of my comment would tell you that I was disagreeing with the perception that superficiality exists only from the guys side. As for your other comments as well as Haleem's, I find them to be mostly half baked generalizations. Of course you guys are free to hold those opinions, but if properly challenged I doubt you would be able to support most of them as true in a general sense. In any case, you are undercutting my argument that most guys aren't like the type you two seem to be. So do me a favor and keep me out of your camps.

Aisha, your comment on the cattle mentality is well made. However I would argue that even if the mothers of desi guys are asking rude questions about physical appearances, women are still taking a look at guys' pictures and making the same decisions. Women are doing it in a more discrete and less insulting manner, but it leads to the same conclusion if looks are the focus and the looks don't meet expectations. Taking that into account as well as a focus on guys' incomes/occupations, and my own anecdotal experiences, I have to still disagree with the premise that guys are clearly in the drivers seat.

If there is one thing I can say with confidence, its that a great number of guys definitely don't feel like they are in the drivers seat and experience very similar insecurities to what I read in comments above. In fact, I think the worn out stereotypes of women promoted by some guys' comments above are actually indicative of these insecurities and a sense of powerlessness, not a capacity to assert any actual control in the process. Hence the need to project responsibility of their own perceived failures into hollow concepts of unislamic women in the west who don't wear saris often enough or follow desi soaps.

But as long as we're venting, I'll get something off my chest. It may be true that many guys are picky, especially when it comes to looks. But many of the comments I am reading above seem to me to distort what I see as the truer picture of many guys who are basic, hard working, regular dudes who don't act like that and also face similar difficulties. So at the risk of promoting a stereotype myself, I will assert that many women out there, perhaps even some who have posted on this board, have very high standards when it comes to guys. I am not focused on any single dimension when saying this, but rather that across a number of dimensions the median desi guy can't always meet what can often be pretty high standards. I might be wrong here, but anecdotal data tells me that there is definitely something to this theory. I'm not trying to deny the specific events that women have posted about in comments above, but this is a condition that I believe hasn't really been mentioned and I think is a significant root cause.

Aside from that, Aisha as I mentioned I'm with you on points 5,6,7, and I also agree that with the newer generation some of these conditions will start to phase out.

Squarecut said...

I reeeeally should be working.
I am REALLY glad that some men that think in such a way will seriously consider marrying from back home. Sure, I feel bad for the girls from back home, but then again, it reduces chauvinistic men from the pool of eligible bachelors in the Western Desi community. No offense my brothers, but I am JUST superbly happy that hopefully you will go back to rescue a girl from Bangladesh, who really needs to get out of that country anyway.

@ Haleem: I really don't get you. sounds like you are into "Islam" and then again you look for women in good make ups and stuff. A very good Muslim woman will make sure she doesn't wear make ups (excessive, or something that is detectable) in front of you, a stranger. You want islam, but then again, you don't want Islamic practice? I am confused. But good news is, you are going back home! :D

This will go on and on forever, until the sun becomes cold. Guys accusing women of being too demanding: it's NOTHING new. It happened during the time of Abu Bakr. And even then men were told to work hard to live upto her standard as opposed to the other way around. When women move forward, just because women are naturally more adaptive to new situation. And it's nothing new that men are complaining the way they are doing now. Yes women are demanding here, only when you are comparing the standard of living in the United States of America with the standard of living in a developing country. And even after living in the West, if this standard of living is too much to handle and provide for, well, the survival of the fittest suggests that you need to go where you belong, for survival. I don't mean to sound like a red-neck, but it's an old saying "You can't take the heat, get out of the kitchen." You can't handle an independent, educated and confident woman, well, stop dehumanizing these over-qualified women for being too good for you and go back to where you belong to match your standards. Fair enough?

Anyway, Mecca One is having a live talk about Muslim men shortage in America with Imam Zaid Shakir today (thursday) at 5pm (pacific time). Go to www.meccaone.org and listen to it, call up and ask questions. Please refrain yourself from asking "why American Desi women don't wear make ups to feed our zina of the eyes?" Imam Zaid will not be interested in hearing such whining comments. Also refrain from asking questions like "I want my wife to be at home, cooking and cleaning for me for the whole day and 20 yrs down the road, I will ditch her for a second wife, because you know, a woman's value decreases after a while. I don't seem to find any woman here in the West quite like that."

just some suggestions.

Enyur said...

Like some of the other people, I would also argue against those guys who said that women back home are prettier/more religious/traditional. I was born and raised in Canada. But everyone that has ever met me has told my parents (and myself) that they can't believe that I am a Canadian-born (I guess in the minds of those aunties/uncles, is the same notion that people there are traditional) but my point is, they are talking about me being traditional as girls used to be back when they left Pakistan. I know Pakistani girls who have come here and are totally westernerized...in fact I feel like I'm the one who came from Pakistan and not them.

P.s. the guy who beats the drum about being Islamic (and then talks about checking a girl out at a store on his blog...hmmm....now how Islamic is that?) Again I apologize if I've offended someone, but my point is not to offend but has a rather deeper meaning. I will let you ponder on that.

Huda said...

Wow, I don't have time for blogs for two days, and suddenly I have SO MUCH to catch up on!

I'm certainly not trying to be rude, but to the guys who said girls from "back home" are more religious than the girls here -- I'm sorry, but that offends me very much. There are plenty of religious girls here, girls who choose deen every day even when they have the option of pitching it all and going secular. As far as I am concerned, religious girls here are just as religious, if not more, than religious girls there.

As for the rest of it -- I pretty much agree 100 percent with Aisha, and am shocked (but not necessarily surprised) at some of the comments here that are disparaging American Muslim women. You would think that our Muslim brothers would be first in line to defend us... but apparently you'd be wrong.

frenchita said...

em,
You're wrong there, a woman's job is homemaking culturally, not Islamically. The wives of the Prophet saws managed their homes, that's an Islamic tradition, not something mentioned in the Quran or the Hadiths.
For guys to help around at home is a Sunnah. Many men unfortunately think it's the woman's duty to wash clothes/dishes, and they can laze around while the poor woman slaves around all day!

frenchita said...

Mezba,

I just read your post.. I understand the respecting husbands part..girls back home at your place bangladesh respecting their husbands more is out of the culture there in asian countries, this is prevalent amongst hindus in India as well.
Obeying the husband is something a wife is supposed to Islamically, and the husband in return is responsible for her financially.

You say women in the west are smart, but dont repect their men. Know what? I am here in dubai, and it's not like asia...I am not being racist here, but people in asia, IMO miss out on something.. here in dubai women are fast too..I go to an Islamic class here, there are young girls who are Islamic, 'fast', and have a good education.
I know this Bangladeshi girl who's really nice, and 'bollywoodishly' good looking too, that's what made me notice her!
Maybe you can try in the middle east..

Anonymous said...

Many of our sons are being raised wrong

Anonymous said...

Thge first step is not having them meeting each through a mixture or courtship and arrangement. We should promote intermngling between guys and girls (halal interminging) when they are in middle school and high school. Another point is that guys are different than girls and as a result are more visula and learn the hard way that looks are not everything. But because of our culture they never learn this.

Adnan. said...

desi guy, are you allowed to use the word 'anecdotal' twice without actually relaying the anecdote?

Anonymous said...

We are raising our boys and girls wrong

Aisha said...

I'm beginning to wonder if the time to delete certain comments is near. But Ill go ahead and make it clear. Blanket statements like "we're rasing kids wrong" or "guys suck" or any other such just there to stir up someone tor espond are not welcome. It leads to confrontational dialogue and a negative vibe which I dont like on my blog. I've had this blog for almost three years and that has been one thing I've striven to maintain: respectful discourse so we can learn. As soon as we begin "name calling" it degenerates into a discussion I'd rather not partake in. If you want to see how to express a different view respectfully check out desiguy who defends his situation without resorting to disrespect. Much appreciated!

Aisha said...

Em, thanks for your perspective and sharing the other side.

Ash, it can only change with us.

Desi guy thank you and you are right, guys do have it tough in many ways but perhaps different ways. My husband's friends who are single have complained of issues they encounter and there are some very down about the current situation. For example the doctor situation really hurts guys. I know guys whov'e gone to matrimonial dinners at ISNA and the men and women wear stickers indicating age, professoin etc. and friends whove gone say al the woman run for the doctor and the engineers, computer programmers all get left in the dust. Thanks for sharing the difficulties from the male perspective in a manner which still maintained respect.

Squarecut, your point is very wel made. The pool may be less, but for men who feel that way, perhaps its better that way. This has been an eye opening post for me because I honesty did not think there were men out there who thought this way these days born and raised here. I thought it was parents pushing on sons who just went aong with it. I guess you learn something new.

Frenchita thanks for bringing in the Islamic perspective to the discussion and your personal experiences living in Dubai.

The anonymous who said we should promote halal intermingling. Amen.

Adnan, I think desi guy meant with the word anecedotal that he bases what he says not on statistical data but on the experienecs he's seen and those of his friends.

Squarecut said...

Aisha,
Thanks for the beautiful reminder. And I know I kind of get frustrated with sad comments a bit too easily.

I just wanted to share something I just heard from the mecca one lecture.

And what is very scary is that the moderator brother was addressing some of the issues being discussed here and he goes, "I have seen it in some blogs" OH my GOD!
Anyway, so Imam Zaid was asked about men going beck to marry, and Imam Zaid answered it brilliantly, and I hope i don't misquote him. It is along this line: men that do go back to marry lack vision. They forget the reason for them to be here. We, as Muslims, have a mission in the West. And when you bring a girl from back home (and he said something as disclaimer that he respects all the international women), what happens is the kids in the future generation fall behind... a lot of catching up to do to get over the language barrier, culture shock and all that. And then we see a generation of Muslim kids acting in such foul manners.. conveniently named "muslim thugs".
not verbatim, but the main point was that, in order to look for someone to marry, we need to have bigger vision than just to "get married". The family to be raised need to be an asset for the future for all of humanity, and you need qualified father and mother to raise good children. And we need to establish ourselves well enough in the West.

So, I guess, if some men do want to get married from back home, maybe they really should, but, in general, we need to have vision in our life. A life that will go beyond just being happy by our salary, house, car and futre MD children. We need to think WAY BEYOND just having a wife that makes me biryani or having a hubby that brings me diamond rings.

And also, the ending statement was:
"Never underestimate the power of dua'a" And believe in "fate".

I apologize to any brothers to whom I may have come offensive.

Enyur said...

Aisha, just wanted to apologize and you are right, we shouldn't be pointing fingers. So I'm sorry for making that last comment. I think this whole topic just hit a nerve!!

But it did stir quite a debate :o)

Aisha said...

Squarecut and Enyur, I definitely definitely was not talking about either of you in my comment. Enyur you can vent. You are certianly not saying "all men are jerks" "x y z types are awful" you are expressing personal experiences and how you feel about them. You also have EVERY right to defend yourselves as women from the US/Canada when your name and your honor is tarnished. This was to the peope on here who are here to do just that. I really appreciate both of your responses and your insight and you SHOULD defend yourselves when people put you down. What other response can their be??? Please don tthink I meant you.

mezba said...

So, wait, Squarecut, Imam Zaid actually said if we marry woman from back in bangladesh, kids from the future generation fall behind? They become thugs?

I just want to clarify that.

Enyur said...

:o)

Squarecut said...

@Mezba, I think you should wait till the lecture comes out on the web. They put everything in archive. Just check their website like a week or two later.

No, he was NOT talking about Bangladesh! Where did you see that? :O.. there is a fairly famous blog outthere which is also talking about this issue and I think that's the blog the moderator was talking about. ALlahu 3alem.

What Imam Zaid was saying is (not verbatim, it be best if you spend an hour listening to him on meccaone, it will be up soon) that, when a brother goes back home for a woman from back home, he lacks vision! Now it's hard to explain what is meant by "vision". And yes he did say exact words like, "having to do a lot of catching up"to acculturate. I don't know if you heard anything like "First generation American struggle". We all know that immigrants go through a lot of troubles to settle down. What we don't want is this perpetual cycle of "first generation" american!

And yes, he also mentioned about the problems with kids. He did NOT use the word "thug"!
If you have not seen many families with mothers that are not quite upto the speed as the man of the family, you would have hard time picturing the situation. But I know/saw exactly what he was talking about.

But, please do check the website for the full lectures (part I and 2).

Aisha, thanks. But I think I could use some respect in my words when I leave comments. InshaAllah, I will be watchful!

mezba said...

Squarecut, what's the website for Mecca One? I must admit I like Zaid Shakir less now... but I will wait until I hear his own words.

Aisha, sorry for using your comments section like a facebook wall! :-P

Em said...

Salaam.
Thanks, Aisha.

Frenchita, that's a fascinating perspective. I think I see where you're coming from, but doesn't hadith literally mean 'tradition'? And doesn't any tradition that stems to the Prophet (saw), his family and his contemporary sahabah and is recorded according to authentic isnad become part of the body of ahadith? Or do you use hadith to refer exclusively to spelled-out instructions of the Prophet (saw)?

The way I see it, if it's sunnah for men to help out in the house (because Rasulullah (saw) did), then in the same vein it's sunnah for the woman to be the homemaker (because the mothers of the believers did, and Rasulullah (saw) didn't speak up against it). Am I all confused? :S

Anonymous said...

em,
I'm pretty sure that Islamically, women are under no obligation to be the homemaker, however they have the primary responsibility towards raising the children. Staying home (and cleaning and cooking) and raising the kids are two different things. As Frenchita said, culturally, it has become expected for women to be the homemakers, not religiously. I've read this is an Islamic book (in Arabic). I'll look to see if I can find this on-line by credible sources.

Rabia said...

hey, i can see where marrying an FOB can take you back a step. FOBs cannot relate to being raised here and going to grade school here.

Anonymous said...

I respectfully disagree with those who think marrying a FOB will necessarily have a negative impact on the kids. I think the number one factor in how kids turn out is the time and effort invested in those kids (being involved with your kids, etc), and many kids of FOBs/immigrant parents (such as many of us in this comment thread) turned out just fine.

I don't know what Imam Zaid meant by "lack of vision," but maybe this is part of it? -- Many guys who go back home to marry do so because they think they will find the better homemaker; the lady who will stay at home, cook and clean, and raise the kids. One guy (who was raised his whole life here) told my husband that he didn't want to marry a girl from here who would want to go to school and the like (i.e. have a career). Now, maybe this is a lack of a vision. Perhaps we should have a vision of improving the world/country we live in, and encouraging (practicing, Muslim) women to have careers should be part of this. I'm not saying raising kids is not an important job, but raising kids and having a career are not mutually exclusive things (things like cooking and cleaning may be put on the back-burner though; or extra help will be needed for such tasks; and maybe that's what some guys don't want?).

Each person has a right to look for whatever criteria he/she wants in a prospective spouse (and when people have ridiculous demands, I'm relieved when they are up front with them (sometimes such things creep up later and that's not good)); however, it would be nice to see more men (and I'm not saying that there are not some out there already) who are looking for more than looks, status, etc. in a wife, but are looking for brains and the potential to be make a difference in this world, and actually embracing and supporting that.

Rasha

Squarecut said...

For women's responsibility thing:

you can start here:
http://english.bayynat.org.lb/WomenFamily/q&a.htm

"After marriage: in Islamic code, household is not the wife’s obligation. It is not a duty. She can even be paid for the feeding and the raising-up of her child, if she asks for it, and in this case, her husband must not abstain to pay her unless she asks for an overpayment he cannot afford.

From this, we can conclude that the wife who does the household work is treated as a paid worker as if she were working outdoors. Since household work is not a part of the obligatory marital rights from the legislation point of view. "

And I heard the same things in many lectures, including a well known lecture/class/lecture series by Shaykh Hamza. A woman is never obligated to do any household chores.

Squarecut said...

oh God! That's what happens when you quote a radio talk show. I shouldn't have done that....
First off, just wait till it gets on Mecca one archive.

No, NO one was talking about "FOB"!!!

It was more like what Rasha said. Lacking vision probably has to do with the context, where the moderator asked, "brothers just going back home to marry"... And of course if your intention is to get a pretty face, or submissive wife, or somewhat less educated women, or somehow or other "less", I would think you lack vision. And, the point is that marriage is NOT only about your own happiness (um Hasan mentioned NOT to be selfish like every other sentence), a sentence was repeated over and over, "do something for the greater good".

Marriage has a very NOBLE cause. It's not only about helping your desire, not only about seeing a pretty face. Marriage is something through which you look to do something for the future, and you leave traces of your legacy. And in that process, if you want your wife to be someone who would have no idea about the culture (and trust me MANY men like it that women remain ignorant of their husbands' lives), I don't see "vision" in this guy's marriage.

I think, my older sister told me about it like 6 months ago, that you MUST have a vision in marriage, otherwise, it's just another ordinary-not-too-great-marriage.

I would request all of the readers not to think that the international women were looked down upon. The context was very different, similar to the arguments we see here,"women in he west are too educated/independent/"insert all the good things in a person", and if these are the reasons for not marrying a woman from the West, of course there is a problem. The problem is "we can't handle good things", and that's of course a problem. And us muslims have spent way too much time in "ordinary" marriages, we need some great marraiges. And great marriages come with great vision, not just the vision of coming home to a wife who would make me biryani.
Not that there is naything wrong with that, but it could have been better.

mystic said...

I m here at 2 AM checking these comments and thinking..

Aisha ke is post ne kiya "Chakka" mara hai....82 posts !!

Em said...

Salaam.
Anonymous of 12.36, you're probably right as three of you here claim so, and I clearly haven't read up on this. I eagerly await a credible reference though... Squarecut referred me to an Ayatollah(!) who hadn't the vaguest reference to a source in that Q&A :(.

sonia said...

interesting reading all this. I am intrigued by how some of the male commenters - nice as they are!- still have this 'fond' image what girls are like 'back home'. very sweet and all that but..not a very realistic picture of the 'mother country' it seems. Now im not going to cast aspersions on any 'groups' morality or character, but people seem to find it hard to accept that girls in bangladesh or india or pakistan might be like girls anywhere else. the big difference is there is a big 'hush-hush' and women in particular have to hidea lot. shame and honour *we are all familiar with these two powerful things* are so closely bound with what women are 'upto'.

the big drama and bookburning about Monica Ali's Brick Lane here by the 'elders' of the Sylheti brick lane community ( men of course - what a suprise there)was all about them being incredibly upset that the manin character in the book- a married woman - would have an affair. NO Bangladeshi woman would do such a thing, they said. ???!! Are these men living in la la land or what? I went to live in Dhaka when i was 13 - for two years - and boy was that an eye-opener. I would write about it, but then it would probably be too shocking for some people. A lot of people who live in the indian sub-continent seem to have similar myopia - oh make no mistake about that - high morality-no clue about what others are upto living side by side with not-such-high morality all the way down to depravity. In fact, I daresay things are more extreme - this is what a lot of people don't seem to realize. That's partly what makes the whole Indian subcontinent such a crazy place. - excitingly so for many people who travel there, as it is so different from what they are used to.

The thing is in - say again to use Bangladesh as an example - you could see two girls, both dressed very similar and 'respectably' - and one could be completely 'virtuous' in the traditional sense - and the one could be the complete opposite. And you wouldn't know. You wouldn't have a clue.

frenchita said...

em,

Hadiths are collection of the sayings of the Prophet saws. Khadijah (ra) was a succesful businesswoman if you know..
Zainab bint Jahash(ra) worked with her own hands and the money she earned was given away in charity. So it's perfectly permissible for women to work, men are responseible though for their wives financially and they in return are required to be obedient to their husbands. Perfect Balance isnt it?

Baji said...

Just to make it 87 ;-)

Anonymous said...

em,
I'm sorry, but I didn't find anything exactly on point, but here's a start:

http://www.islamonline.net/servlet/Satellite?pagename=IslamOnline-English-Ask_Scholar/FatwaE/FatwaE&cid=1119503549708

http://www.islamonline.net/servlet/Satellite?pagename=IslamOnline-English-Ask_Scholar/FatwaE/FatwaE&cid=1119503548896

Hope these help.

Em said...

Salaam.
Frenchita and Anonymous, jazakuma Allahu khairan -- particularly for the second link, anon. I must have got it wrong; I need to do some serious reading up on this. For now, I'm pretty excited that my future wife will not have to be a homemaker, Insha Allah!! It's a Perfect Balance indeed, Frenchita :).

The friendly lion said...

hey here is my take on this stuff http://rantingsofapakichick.blogspot.com/2007/03/marriage-and-desi-marriage.html

frenchita said...

em,

I'm glad you cleared this up.
Anon, jazakallahu Khayran for the link, I showed it to my bro ( who keeps telling me to wash dishes and cook for him). He was silent and didn't say a word, lol! Not that he didnt know already, he just needed some fatwa and Hadiths.

Aisha, anytime:)

mystic-soul said...

keep coming.....its 92

Enyur said...

Ay Caramba! (93, including me!) Aisha, I think you'll be breaking a record with 100 comments soon!!!

Squarecut said...

what the heck!!! 92! Awesome. So it will be 93rd. I just hope I get a garde like that in any of my exams this week, which is highly unlikely...
Anyway, I am SO glad that at least ONE brother learned a lot from this discussion. And the website being a "ayatollah"! Hehe... Well, 2am, with a blend of theoritical math, I didn't look at the link or the source, but the content was EXACTLY the same as what I learnt from my local Shaykh (an Al-Azhar man), so I was sure that the sources were not screwed up even though they didn't cite anything. And if the (!) is there because it's a Shiaa source, I actually don't mind learning from the Shiite scholars. In many things (except for a few different things) they do teach really well.

And, Aisha, you are right. I learned a great deal from this. I had NO idea that Muslim men, being born/or mostly raised outside the South Asia would think such ways that are "expected" of a woman (when they went on to describe the advantages of marrying someone fromh baclk home). It's not only dehumanizing to the women in the West, but also dehumnizing/subhumanizing to the women in the East. I mean, mostly, the vibe that I got, that the brothers want someone "less" than a human, so that they don't get caught by the Amnesty. You know that Human Rights matter more than I would ever know. And, as last words of advice, (remembner it's coming from a sister who is actually concerned about HUMAN rights rather than WOMEN's rights, and women love me, in general,) please don't seek to get married just because you have this Bollywood picture of a woman in your head and you expect that from a real life woman. Please don't aska woman to act like a woman, where you "define" what it mean to be a "woman". And be careful before using "Islam" as your point of refrence. Make sure, it is, in fact, Islam and not your idealized bollywood movie.

It was great discussion. I learned a great deal about men and will certainly use the knowledge when the right time comes, :P

Aisha is an awesome write. Hats off to you, sistah!

@Mezba: sorry, didn't see your comment. Yes it is www.meccaone.org

momyblogR said...

I've read the post and many of the comments and I only have three words.......Oh My GOD!!!

Great, great post, but number 95? Thank goodness I'm not standing in a NYC barkery.;)

Aisha said...

ROFL @ the commenters who commented to boost the comment numbers! This beats any record from before. I think the last one was like 65 or 70. Jeez. Imagine the pressure for the next post. Whatever will I write about?? Pehaps I should quit while I'm ahead now!

Rasha, Square cut, Sonia your sentiments are beautifully stated. Thank you. I too square cut am happy that through reading this some of us are seeing other perspecives we may not have considered. Even if the perspective does not change at least an understanding has been made. And that is not something small to me. Its why I like respectful discousre... its the only way we can hear each other. Otherwise we're talking only at each other, not to each other. And if thats the case, then whats the point you know?

TFL, thanks, will check it out soon.

Mommyblogr. lol... byeah the amount of coments is very.. wow!

mystic said...

Aisha !

You missed another very impoertant point. CITIZENSHIP FACTOR

Marrying girls for their green card. Are lurki citizen hai !! (or reverse is same). I know a 19 yr old Pakistani girl was made married to a 42 yr old cab driver of Chicago because he was "citizen"

Bee Amma said...

I wanted to stick around and wait for comment 99 so i could be commenter number 100, but what the heck!
There are so many things swirling around my head at the moment. Its surprising to see this many guys idealising girls from back home. But just so that you girls don't lose complete faith in men, i know a really decent bunch of guys from a variety of backgrounds (muslims, hindus, sikhs), and not one of them thinks like that! Alhamdulillah, i was lucky to fall into a great group of friends.
Secondly, In regards to one of the comments above singling out one tiny little thing and blowing it up (i am being intentionally vague, as i do not wish to personally attack anyone) ...This is the problem i see in Islam today. People taking one TINY little thing which they perceive to be CONDEMNED, and judging people based on whether they do it or not. (nothing huge like adultery) People literally focus in on one microscopic tiny little point and lose the huge picture of being a generally decent human being, which is the essence of every religion.
Now although i have not drunk, smoked, slept with or done anything along those lines...i have learnt ONE thing at university and one thing only (as i didn't attend lectures ;) ) and that is to NEVER judge someone. Whether they be muslim, christian, jewish, hindu, buddhist, sikh, whatever. Whether they smoke, drink, or get up to anything else, you SIMPLY cannot judge these people for what they may or may not have done....as some of them (in my experience) have been some of the nicest people i have come across.
So yeah....final note, leave people to do what they do. Don't judge them, leave that to the Almighty.
And to the men out there that think that girls from back home are prettier/more submissive/whatever....please show some respect for the girls out there that have gone against the "norm" and not done anything along the lines of which you suppose they have, purely for the fact that they have been in a country where it would be supposedly "easier" for them to do so.
I don't wish to say anything about the girls or guys back home, or to "demonise" Them....but lets put it this way:-
I would not dream of bringing my children up in pakistan. Although for 6 years i myself lived there. Times unfortunately have changed and i have seen alot change infront of my very eyes which has shocked me. The reason i would not want my children being brought up there is that, being here in England i strived against what was the norm in order to retain my values, cultural upbringing etc. I knew i was different and i worked to maintain that. On the other hand, if i was a child in pakistan, and saw/heard of the things going on there at the moment (i'm talking mainly about islamabad and khi as i don;t know about the rest of pakistan) and knew that these people were also Muslim, i would have a hard time in my head trying to talk myself out of doing alotta stupid things.
That is just me 2 cents though and people may not agree.

Anonymous said...

Hey, check out my impderables in the previous post and see if you can answer em!

Bee Amma said...

well waddaya say, 100th post!

momyblogR said...

OK my friend, I just had to be the one to put you OVER! ;)

Hope you are having a great weekend!

Enyur said...

Bee Amma, I wanted to be the 100th commenter :o(

Oh well, me like being the 102nd too :o)

Adnan. said...

Does #100 get a prize?

rehtwo said...

Wow! Lots of comments...I guess I just have to be one of those to write down a # (104 is it?) because I don't feel qualified to write anything...this has certainly touched a lot of people! Congrats :-)

The friendly lion said...

@bee amma: i know where you are coming from and i feel the same way! guys have the liberty to do what ever they wish, be it against the norms of the society or religion but they are just "sowing their wild oats". why cant girls do the same?? now where does it say you cant sleep around if you r a girl but if you r a guy please do as you wish! and if smoking makes a girl seem well unsharief, seriously which century are these people from!!??
i totally agree that i person should be seen as a whole and should not be judged because of a single incident/mistake/flaw and this goes for guys and girls. i hope i wasnt disrespectful here.

on a different note, 105!!! yay!!!

HijabMan said...

You forgot the part about guys who make balloon animals being left in the dust. Hahaha

*goes back to his book*

Anonymous said...

This post infuriates me personally. I think you know why, but if you need a reminder see my top ten list. I guess the fact that I am not a Desi male invalidates that feeling, but I still feel it.

:/

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Anisa said...

when i read this, i just want to scream. i know people in my own family who are guilty of this, and it makes me so mad. women are no a piece of meat to be judged on their beauty and light skin. being a doctor is not the freaking be all/end all. i am just lucky my parents wanted me to find my own mate, which i did. i feel so sorry for others who aren't given that freedom.

great post.

Aisha said...

Mystic, how does that affect the girl to guy ratio?

BeeAmma, WOW. You said it all so brilliantly. I could not agree with you more. And thanks for giving some personal insight into life as you know it from back home. Thank you! And WHOO HOO You are #100! :) Adnan, the gift is knowing you're the very first person to ever have bee n#100 on a comment on my blog before. I am amazed :)

Rehtwo, thanks :) I have to admit its a bit intimdiating..

TFL, its weird b/c this same double std does exist in the non-desi world too. A guy who gets around is a player playiing the field, a girl, is a slut, whore, loose, easy. Its a very big mentality but somehow most people dont justify that (it seems to me) in the megacuture, while in our micro-desi-culture we defend such antequated sexist ideals.

Hijab Man, samj nahin aya:?

Slider, its ridiculous....

Anisa, I know what you mean.... its frustrating to see your friends and family go that route and experience the pain and the hurt. I hate seeing the meat market and having to hear of the obstacles that my fellow human beings must endure at each other's hands for the sake of MARRIAGE!!

sonia said...

is there an implication that if your husband isn't responsible for you financially, you don't have to be 'obedient'?! seems like a lot of couples nowadays contribute to their finances. of course if you're trying to keep up a relationship - 'obedience' is certainly not the word i would use - (something wrong with it i think in a relationship of equals - obedience seems a bit parent-child to me ) - but mutual respect and love of course.

personally this business of oh you'd better listen to this man, he pays for your upkeep - is just too mercenary - it seems to imply that if he weren't providing for you - you woudln't have anything to do with him.

Sumera said...

USUALLY one of the main factors for men marrying "back home" is a control issue. They deem women from back home to be subservient, non-argumentative and to remain very much under their authority.

They obviously want cattle and not a wife.

Shame. Its really telling of their control issues dont you think?

Optimistic Guard said...

Great blog, some interesting topics I will surely be visiting here again.

Anonymous said...

Its a late nite in Chicago @ 4:27.am happened to bump into ur blog by chance. ok. am a guy here@just hit 28 , no longer a fob, been in chicago for 7 years now.....and this is my take on the relationship stuff.....will be honest....

Personally, the first few years i was in the usa, my main goal was to finish the studies, get a good job and get settled. Not much time for girls, was very close with someone, she started to get close and mm. i have to admit, i started withdrawing and keeping a distance- i wasnt ready for a relationship and had to consider my parents would have issues completely adjusting to a completely different family background (north india -> south india). It was painful but knew it wouldnt work in end, so both slowly got out of it..she is happiy married now found someone in her apartment complex. we continued to talk and meet for while but she stopped talking after she met this guy and only now after the marrige , she is getting back in touch.

i worked hard in first few years in job (aka hardware company) and did well, had a good social life, hang around, and have fun..Life was smooth. I met someone 2 years back through a common friend when she visited chicago to see him from arizona. She was absolutely great had a good sense of humor, mature, traditional (knew what the limits were) and though we had a lot of thoughts in common. I consider myself pretty understanding and fit easily into any social environment. I have a very confident personality, decent looking but not mirror shattering material. This girl , my age (was aleady in the look for a life partner @ parents pressure) and had seen quite a few by then. From the usual hi/bye talk, we ended up talking more and more , hours on the phone and met decent no of times during that year. Still, I was aware that she was looking for the special someone. I started liking her , she enjoyed my company and spent quite a bit of time talking to me but she was looking for someone else. Its tough to know what attracts a girl, but I always felt she wasnt interested in me as a life partner. Just for her personality , I decided its better to let her know that I like her and if she is interested, would like to get serious about a relationship. I made the decision to ask after knowing her close for more than a year and felt I want to be clear to her about whats in my mind.

The magical moment. I went to meet her and boldly told her I will be interested in her if she was interested in me or else we will remain friends... Thats the end of it. I lost a friend. I tried to call her few times, she hasnt called back....I frankly dont know if a woman really knows what she wants Is it her ego that stops her from being in touch...Women complain guys dont commit, but someone genuninely care and approaches them, they are still looking for their elusive prince in lala land.

I am now in the hunt for a arranged marriage. I dont think there is anything bad about it, its how you take the relationship forward that matters. There are quite a few freinds I know who rejecetd arranged marriage in their minds and forced themselves to find someone themselves, they ended up marryin the first person they met in person on shaadi.com. I call that superficial relationships, marriage decisons shouldnt be decided on convenience, i have a comfortable job,so i will try to find someone close to my work place. There are many who do that for lack of security or personal identity. The US is such a big place full of opportunities, if you can find a great job wherever you are , there is every likelyhood that if you are good at what you do, you will find something anywhere else. Its what priorties you have that matters. If your priority is money, job security etc, these trivial things obscure your view of marriage and relationship choices. As for my friend in the shell, she is my age@ 28 and still looking. I respect her decision to look outside to find her prince charming.

Sumera said...

I dont think the issue is about arranged marriages. But the "going back home to marry" mentality.

s said...

this one's for Enyur, who commented ages back about the way marriages are arranged. and for all those girls or guys who have endured those awful moments where a family comes in to check you out.

i'm a pakistani girl, lived there for 17 years and have been in the middle east for the last 11. i REFUSED to let my parents subject me to the humiliation of a rishta, of that tea trolley ritual.

i've seen friends go through some really humiliating experiences; they've been told they're too dark, too short, too fat or too ugly. WHY WOULD YOU DO THIS TO YOURSELF? do you like being treated like meat? do you like being scrutinized like that? why would you even want to marry a man or woman who chooses life partners based on height, weight, complexion, bank balance or degrees? what the hell happened to your self-esteem??

honestly, i don't get it. y'all are obviously smart, intelligent and educated people. and you need to put a stop to this practice. i am not saying arranged marriage is all bad but to continue the tradition of these awful aunties coming around with the boy's family to your house is just disgusting and needs to be abolished.

your parents are not going to disown you or kill you if you say no or stand up to them and refuse to see the boys family (and choose a more sensible route like chatting on msn or email or whatever suits you). you deserve more than this, you're a human being with the right to connect with and choose the person you will share the most intimate moments with.

s said...

oh and for those men who think that women back home are more chaste and religious, you boys need a reality check and you're in luck cause aunty sarah is gonna provide it!

i don't know about bangladesh but the whole chastity thing is absolutely not true for women in pakistan. women are INDIVIDUALS who can be really religious and pure or NOT, whether they're in pakistan, saudi, london or new york. and a lot of them date or have pre-marital sex (and they do it with muslim men, so don't be a hypocrite and focus on the woman's sin cause the man was RIGHT THERE!).

a lot of the women in the home countries are a lot better at hiding what they do cause they know they're constantly being scrutinized and they also know that their past is going to be up for discussion when they get married. so everything is done very cleverly, but it IS done. i go to pakistan every year and laugh at the hypocrisy (girls who look and act like angels in family gatherings or around guys start cussing like a truck driver and smoking pot, as soon as they're in girls only situations). it's a big joke and (i'm sorry, this one's gonna be really brutal, please feel free to edit or delete) the li'l virgin you imported from 'back home' has probably been taking it up the arse for the last 5 years, because it's not sex as long as you preserve that hymen (i know dozens of women who genuinely believe that)!

perhaps you boys should just admit that you can't handle honest, open, strong women...because that seems to be the only real difference between women overseas and women back home.

(obviously, i'm generalizing, cause technically, i'm from 'back home').

sonia said...

A lot of stuff here that people will have difficulty dealing with. Clearly a lot of people do have cherished 'vision' of what girls are like or not like - and we all have to live and learn. in any case people do have different tastes : i don't think anyone was objecting to that in itself but the double standards etc. etc.

i do think 'marrying back home' is a part of the arrange marriage package -> though by no means a 'necessary' part. a marriage is 'arranged' to someone's convenience - so that can include all sorts of things - depending what the person views as 'convenience' - usually in traditional settings it meant that one would arrange for the type of bride/groom one expected. Those expectations are different for boys and girls. There lies the complication. Until the underlying 'attitudes' driving arranged marriage change - then arranged marriages are going to feature these kinds of problems - notably gender inequality. If the attitudes change - then there is no reason why it would be anything different to finding a partner on match.com for example.

what is interesting is in the interim period while social attitudes change slowly - a lot of people are justing 'opting out'.

sonia said...

anonymous - perhaps she was too traditional in the end and didn't want to have a 'love marriage'.

the thing that amused me ( sorry no connection to you Anonymous ) just initiated another thought - about 'double standards' in guys i met in bangladesh: they would expect girls to not have 'relationships' or 'prem' unless it was with them! and if they were rejected by a girl who is clearly not going to 'date' then they get really upset, even though she's made it clear it's nothing personal, she just isn't going to 'date'. This applied to a friend of mine in a hijab - can you imagine.

it's not surprising people are unwilling to not take 'romantic chances' when they've been inculcated morally by society against 'romance' as if that is a bad thing in itself. a lot of people don't know how to recognise a good thing when they see it - but how would they - when we're not encouraged to be 'loving'? oh you're expected to do that 'suddenly' when you get married - but no one seems to have noticed the schizophrenic nature of this. till marriage - one thing, after marriage - another thing completely different. Lots of people take it in their stride, but it wouldn't be suprising if they didn't manage to.

Saadia said...

These are exactly the things I feared when I wouldnt even bother with rishtas. I have my interests, even if they aren't lucrative, and I just can't deal with this crap. Now you know why.

Anonymous said...

Aisha, you definetly said all the things I am thinking in my head. I wish our parents would read your blog. Desi girls are subjected to too many expectations, while guys have it all easy. Kudos for speaking up!

Miss Hydro said...

amen, amen, amen. That's all I gotta say...my thoughts exactly! No wonder there is such a huge surplus of single ABCD females...that being said, better to be single, intelligent, and happy rather than be saddled to some slacker desi dude!

Abbas Mandal said...

Nice info.Iam desi guy.Ok sonia
iam acquainted with the probs u mentioned cause iam in BD.
Its full of double standards which I cant accept.The reason is I grew up in the Middle-East

Anonymous said...

ahahahhahah what a ridiculous post...guys are apparently all that is wrong and evil with the world and girls are the angel's that are always victimized...

girls who can't get a married due to their own insecurities find it easy to blame the guy because he's "intimidated by smart women"...its a convenient tactic to deflect responsibility...

the post about guys having a past history and nobody caring is complete BS as well...guys who've had a previous history are affected and lose out on many opportunities.

I know many girls who've rejected guys because they weren't religious enough or were too religious, too old, too hairy, too desi, too fat etc etc...girls are just as picky...

just seems as though girls who can't get married like to blame external factors to make themselves feel better...

Amer said...

Girls are just as picky, in fact, most desi girls over the age of 27yrs have a narcissistic complex, where they want the rugged looks of george clooney, personality of hugh jackson and body of brad pitt.

Honestly, I have heard this from desi girls. Let's get real first. Most desi girls whom i have encountered are 28yrs and over, career driven, smart, live alone and will likely live alone for a long time.

The concept of comprise will be accepted by these girls, and they will make their nice salaries and go w/ their girlfriends and pretend they are worthy of getting mr. perfect, while the truth is, it's not mr. right doesn't exist.

desimd said...

WOW, Aisha really nice post. Overall you are right but I think you wrote it while you were pissed. I’m a Desi guy and some of my relatives prefer me marrying a girl from Bangladesh. My mom prefers a girl from here America, because of my inability to speak Bangla well and I’m too modernized; my mentality will not match the mentality of a girl from back there. My dad prefers a girl back there, I guess for her to be submissive, but he’s afraid to bring it up to me, I don’t know why. I’m 24 and currently working on finishing grad school.
I’ve seen both Bangladeshi and Pakistani girls from back home and they do look gorgeous and they act as if they’ve never been with a guy, which I doubt. I do agree with some of you guys but at the same time you guys went overboard. The reason is because I have a young sister, and even though she’s Americanized we taught her to keep up with her prayers 5 times a day, keep fast during Ramadan, etc. My parents and I both know that she cannot be talked into arranged marriage. She’s very smart and independent and the only guys she’ll be able to match with are ABCDs. Even I don’t want a FOB for a brother –in-law.
But for Mezba and Haleem the Desi girls over here (Bengali/Paki) are more understanding and more Islamic than girls from back home. The girls from back home who are Islamic are not educated enough and the ones who are educated are not Islamic. The girls over here have both packages…I don’t know about you but I don’t want no dumbass for a wife. For example, if I’m on the road and I call my wife to check my bank statement to see the balance…do you think a girl from back home can do that? They probably know the basics of using a computer but that’s it (probably generalizing).
As for looks, yeah that is significant but not as important as personality and character. You girls choose us guys for either looks or money so I think it’s fair for us to actually be picky when it comes to looks. I wouldn’t mind having a wife who has a career, it’ll keep her mind active. But Aisha, I think nowadays girls have more choices..I know my sister does.

Shivani said...

Wonderful post Aisha! Loved reading your article and some of the comments too.
Everything you said rings very true and I can also relate to your husband saying 'feel free to make all the bling you want, I'll suffer the exotic vacations and villa in Fiji, I'm selfless like that' because mine said something very similar to me on such a topic, LOL!

Um! Desimd, girls from back home are not dumbasses. While the ones from villages might not be as educated/sophisticated as the ones raised in cities, it certainly doesn't mean they are not bright. That's my one singular beef with desi kids raised in western countries, they all automatically assume that girls/boys are somewhat lacking in intelligence. Different accent does not equal lack of intellect.

Anyhow, I digress. Back to the post - been there, gone through it and still watching it happen all the time :)

Shivani said...

Wonderful post Aisha! Loved reading your article and some of the comments too.
Everything you said rings very true and I can also relate to your husband saying 'feel free to make all the bling you want, I'll suffer the exotic vacations and villa in Fiji, I'm selfless like that' because mine said something very similar to me on such a topic, LOL!

Um! Desimd, girls from back home are not dumbasses. While the ones from villages might not be as educated/sophisticated as the ones raised in cities, it certainly doesn't mean they are not bright. That's my one singular beef with desi kids raised in western countries, they all automatically assume that girls/boys are somewhat lacking in intelligence. Different accent does not equal lack of intellect.

Anyhow, I digress. Back to the post - been there, gone through it and still watching it happen all the time :)

Anonymous said...

Thank you such a great article. I am a male that is currently looking and just got to experience few of the above scenario's. I am not a Doctor but living in the States. It is unbelievable how many aunti's came to my mom and told her not to find a girl in the States but go home.

One of the aunties actually got mad and said, who will marry the locals? Another lady replied, the locals want a Doctor.

Of course, as the girls age, parents start to compromise where they could have actually grasped on to a better guy.

Keya said...

Such a true post! I'm Indian. The desi- marriage market is truly a bazaar. I compare it to a cattle market where the best cow sells (it better be tall and fair). Funny thing is, thanks to dowry, you dont buy a cow - you get money for buying the cow.
ughh just ughh!

Mrs. F said...

I'm a little late to the party, but thought I'd chime in. EXCELLENT POST I LOVE YOUR BLOG. Just to add my two cents...I married a man who is not desi. He is a doctor though. I gotta say the doctor part softened the blow, but the fact that he respects my religion and culture sealed the deal. How can parents say no to a man and his family who really love their daughter? And in the end, it's not their decision anyway.

Anonymous said...

Just as there are plenty of men out there who want the compartmentalized version of their ideal desi woman, there are many desis, including myself, who have no issue with highly educated career women who make more than the man and are older. I don't suffer from such insecurities simply because I was raised by a career woman.

Being older, divorced, widow, not a virgin, etc...does not make a woman less of a human being. There's plenty of people who claim to be religious & even quote hadith to make themselves sound pious, but, the reality is, these days, it's a rare male who acknowledges that Khadijah was older than the Prophet and his boss and SHE was the one who proposed to him. He had to prove his credibility to her, not the other way around. And, if it wasn't for her being the first convert to Islam backing the religion with her finances, 1.5 billion people would not even be Muslim.

So, I say bring the ladies on. And, if they dismiss my existence because I don't make as much as them, then, it's all on them & they're the ones who are really full of crap with their: "there are no good men out there" rhetoric.

The only question I have is, where are they? Where do the desi women hang out? Are they only dependent on friends & family to find them a man from a "good" family or are they actually making a proactive effort to get married? Because if it is the former, no one is going to simply show up. One has to also make an effort to make something happen. And, when something does happen, are they being just as dismissive as the men with their guard raised & shooting the guy down the moment they meet him? Because let's face it, this is about relationships & that's a 2 way street. There is no racquetball. It's all about tennis.

Anonymous said...

Wow I love your work. Thank you for contributing such well-written words to this topic! I have instantly become your fan!

I am a Canadian Pakistani girl (but quite "westernized" I'd say) who has recently been victimized by one of these Pakistani men that abuse the privilege of dating and "having a past" which no one will judge.... He led me on for years, while at the same time always knowing that it will never work out because his plan was always to marry back home at the end of the day, and use me as timepass I guess... in the end I found out its because I am not the kind of girl willing to throw away my years of education and sit at home and cook and clean and put his needs forever first. He actually even said he wouldn't want his wife to make more money than him because his respect relies on being the true breadwinner. Damn. Anyway, great article. I hope true gender equality finds a way into our culture soon.

Z. Ali said...

Aisha, You have been very thorough and you hit the nail on the head!

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