In the last few days, I’ve come across some pretty one-sided articles purporting the supposed East vs. West dichotomy among Muslim women. The overwhelming attitude seems to be this:
Western Muslim women:
- can’t cook
- too focused on career
Eastern Muslim women
- great cooks
Has it ever occurred to anyone that all of us women, regardless of which religion, race, or creed we come from, are the combined total of our life experiences? And that regardless of where we grew up or come from, be it “East” or “West” (and even this differentiation is subject to debate) we all have unique characteristics and values?
We’ve heard the song and dance before: “Oh, Muslim girls here are too wild, we need to go back home and find us a nice, ‘gaow-wali/village’ girl.”
But that’s all it is, a song and dance. And I think people repeat this just to repeat it, because it’s catchy and it’s what they’ve heard, and it’s what everyone is saying. But honestly, I don’t think anyone, Muslim man or woman, really believes it.
Just today, I had a delightful lunch with a friend of mine and her lovely co-worker, who I met recently at an office party where my friend works. All three of us (I feel safe to include myself in this group 😛 ) are educated, intelligent, and gainfully employed…and guess what we talked about? COOKING! It started with my Mediterranean Veggie sandwich, and from there escalated into an exchanged of recipes, the similarities between Columbian, Arab and Indo-Pak cooking, and the power of knowing exactly what you’re eating and how it was prepared.
Not a single one of us felt like we were discussing an inferiority-inducing topic, or that a village fairy would descend from on-high and with a touch of her magic wand banish us to some fictional village where we would be chained to a tandoori oven.
It’s funny, but so many of these articles I read focus so much on MEN do this and WOMEN do that…doesn’t anyone remember we’re all people, too?
There is an amazing vidder out there, named Lim. She made an amazing video, called Us. It put whatever is coming out of these cutting-edge studios to shame. Someone commented and said, This is fantastic. Which company do you work for? She quite succinctly replied, I’m a housewife. 🙂
It’s unjust to box Eastern Muslim women into this category of submissive, shy doormats whose only existence is to serve her man and keep her mouth shut. It’s unjust to box Western Muslim women into this category of loud, overtaking, domineering you-know-whats who hate men and hate anything to do with domesticity and spit on babies and tea-cozys alike. I’ve noticed so many Muslims here in the ‘States and abroad, men AND women, have this attitude and it simply isn’t true.
Every Muslim woman I meet is a complete, multi-faceted creature unto herself. We’re all struggling to be good Muslims, insha Allah, and it’s unfair to try to box us into a single category and call it the truth. It’s not.
In other news, I walked and ran almost 4 miles today. Feel grrrrreat. That, my friends, is what’s up. 🙂