Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Spinsterhood, Dowries, and Completeness

Xpress (the tabloid insert to Gulf News):
Up to 50 per cent of Emirati women face Maryam’s fate [spinsterhood], says Eman Abdullah, president of the International Women’s Cultural Forum in Dubai.
What compounds the problem is that more Emirati men are coupling up with non-Emirati women to avoid the skyrocketing cost of marrying their compatriots, according to Eman Abdullah. This diminishes Emirati women’s chances of getting life partners from within the population.

Legally, Emirati women are allowed to marry foreigners, but UAE traditions discourage them from marrying expats – only 500 Emirati women married expat men in the last seven years, according to a recent forum.
Khalfan Al Mhriz, Family Counsellor at the Dubai Courts, said one solution is for women to be willing to be taken as a second wife. "Being considered a second wife has its own complications. They think it opens doors for family troubles, clashes and jealousy between the wives," he added. Al Mhriz added that society must accept the fact that women are becoming more independent and better educated, with no need to rely on a man.

Raya Al Mhrzi, a sociologist in Abu Dhabi’s Awqaf and Islamic Affairs Department and a member of the Marriage Fund, blamed fairy-tale ideas about marriage. Women, she said, have become too demanding, and high dowries, lavish ceremonies, clothes and jewellery become prohibitive. The Institute for International Research, a UAE think-tank, puts the average cost of a wedding ceremony in the UAE at Dh300,000
Ahmad Al Qubaisi, a leading Islamic scholar in Dubai, said: "The concept of spinster does not exist in Islam. The Arabic word aanes is used to refer to a female camel who has reached old age. Muslim women can get married at any time regardless of age. However, Islam encourages early marriage as a way to complete half of his/her religious duties." Al Qubaisi said that getting married and having children is both a pleasure and a duty that completes one’s womanhood.
Dr Mohammad Wafeek Eid, a psychiatrist at Al Musa Medical Centre in Dubai, said most spinsters suffer from anxiety, depression and multiple psychosomatic complaints, including headaches, epigastric disturbances, abdominal gases and discomfort. "They tend to be suspicious and they make those around them uncomfortable. They are somehow viewed as abnormal because they do not go through motherhood – spinsters are the object of social pity. They feel they are unfulfilled, incomplete," he said.
Eman Abdullah, president of the International Women’s Cultural Forum in Dubai, said spinsterhood is a "dangerous" phenomenon. It waters down the Arabic language, destroys local customs and traditions and creates an unstable and unhealthy family life, she said.
I am skeptical that up to 50% of Emirati women are spinsters - but don't disagree that spinsterhood is common. I am skeptical, too, of the statement that most Emirati spinsters suffer from multiple psychosomatic complaints. The article also fails to mention that the children of Emirati women married to non-Emiratis are not citizens, but those of Emirati men married to non-Emiratis are.

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Blogger EclectEcon said...

If there is an excess quantity supplied of Emirati women at the current price, why hasn't the price been competed downward so that the quantity demanded equals the quantity supplied?

10:25 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This could be the true reason:
"...abdominal gases"

If you don't get married, then you start to fart, and then you definitely wont marry :)

10:20 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi John,

Xpress is an independant tabloid not a gulf snooze insert!

the only thing xpress and gulf snooze have in common is the building they r in nothing else!

7:01 PM  
Anonymous Sara said...

A great deal of effective information for me!

8:07 AM  

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