Women's nature?!

{ Wednesday, March 30, 2011 }
During my research about women's rights in Saudi Arabia for my bachelor paper, I keep on bumping into this term called "women's nature", solely used by men. It's used as an excuse for everything. 
"It is essential that female students be steered toward feminine disciplines. There is no need for women to compete with men in disciplines that are not suited to their nature." said former Superintendent General Mohammed bid Adwah. My interpretation of what is meant with a woman's "nature" in this particular use is that women are weak, emotional, and not up to anything that requires work or stress. Women should stay at home, serve their husbands, look after their children, and not fill their minds with dreams and plans that are against their "nature". Studying sciences or engineering? My dear, you are too weak for that! 

I wonder, did these men ever ask if women agree with their description of women's "nature"? Or do they think they are right and women are always wrong? I, as a woman, do not agree with this definition. 
Also, how many books are written to help men (in vain) to try and understand women? We are complex creatures. We give birth, experiencing tremendous pains, and still we are considered weak and fragile?! 
I wish that those men would stop trying to put women in a simple box which they can easily control, and open themselves up to the possibility that we can be more. Yes, we love our family and our men, but we don't live just to serve them. Islam encourages us to seek knowledge, to do good, and to participate in society. I don't want to be treated as a fragile princess, who will fall into sin the moment a man looses a bit of his control over her. I'm not a disgrace in disguise. I don't need a man to tell me what's right and wrong. I can read and understand myself. I'm sure all women can. To me, the definition of women's "nature" is not valid, and I wish they would stop using it as an excuse to hold women back. 


3 comments:

Little Auntie said...

Asaalmu alialkuam,

You do often hear about 'the nature of women' being 'delicate' and so forth in Saudi Arabia, but to be honest, I do want to point out this interesting fact I read last year:

According to the latest report by UNESCO, women in Saudi Arabia now outnumber western women in worldwide university enrollment and graduation rates. Furthermore, 13 Muslim countries produce a higher percentage of women science graduates than the US and upto40% of Saudi doctors are women. And it’s not only students and doctors that are pushing the boundaries, notables promoting science to women include Sheikha Mozah of Qatar and Princess Sumaya of Jordan. The science revolution of the Islamic world is here, and clearly it’s being led by women.

That was directly taken from here:
http://www.elanthemag.com/index.php/site/featured_articles_detail/muslimahs_leading_the_science_revolution-nid913348720/

Which based the Saudi fact from here: http://www.uis.unesco.org/template/pdf/ged/2009/GED_2009_EN.pdf

I think we need to give more credit to the Saudi women and society which is changing :)

Safiyah said...

W aleykum assalaam little auntie :)

Thanks for the information! I have no doubt that a lot of Saudi women are clever and educated, alhamdulillah. I have the impression that the society is changing too. What mainly annoyed me was how some men spoke about women, and use their "nature" as an excuse for everything. Like "It's not in women's nature to work". Or "it's not in a woman's nature to drive a car" and so forth. I'm not doubting the capabilities of Saudi women at all, on the contrary. I think they can do more than some Saudi men give them credit for ;)

Abir Ibrahim said...

salamalikum,

It is rather painful to see the ignorant mind state of men. But more painful to see women conforming to these social standards set by men. SubhanAllah I am also writing a research paper about Female Genital Mutilation in (Muslim) Africa, and it is astonishing to see how men have conditioned women to believe that undergoing such a dangerous and deadly procedure is best for them (mostly because they will be marriageably desirable). May Allah continue to unveil ignorance from our eyes iA.

Great Post sister.

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