Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Stop the bashing!


Today, I decided to pick up on a a posting by an Algerian blogger on Algerian women.

On Patriots on Fire, a post entitled “Algerian women serve no purpose” was recently published,  which amongst other things states that some interviewed Algerian men think that Algerian women serve no purpose and that their interest is centered  around marriage and Turkish soaps.  Shockingly, the comments to the post seem to endorse the statement in the title.

I cannot deny that marriage and men are a recurring theme in some very popular blogs run by single Algerian females. Searching for a husband seems to be a favourite preoccupation of young women in Algeria. There is the famous slogan that girls at Algerian universities use which is diplôme plus un homme, which makes finding a man a priority for a young woman just as much as getting the degree. Indeed, some girls just want to go to university to be able to find a partner as the milieu offers more choice than one would find in the small community from which one hails.

Nevertheless, the interviewees or the blogger seem to suggest that there is a norm and that Algerian women by focusing on finding a husband or a partner seem to be shifting from the norm. But the need to find a male partner or a mating partner to be more biologically precise does not only occupy the Algerian female’s mind. Bridget Jones’s Diary and Sex and the City are very good examples of the pressure put on women in Western societies to be hitched once they reach a certain age and also to produce descendants. So, it is a bit unfair and shortsighted to imply that this phenomenon is purely Algerian or even Arab by reaching conclusions based on this fact.

On a recent assignment in a town not far from London, in a company dominated by women, I was surprised to find out that babies and children were the preferred discussion topic during lunch breaks, and that everyone made sure to mention the achievements, the concerts, the pantomimes, the sports days that their children were attending. These women were not without a purpose, 80% of them had PhD’s from top universities in the UK and in Europe. The question: ”Do you have children?” was asked by everyone I met, and someone went even further as to ask me: “Do you not want to have children?”. I decided to make a joke about it.

So, it is really only natural to try and find a life partner to fulfill a biological need and to pass one’s genes on.  If people who are looking for a partner are thought to serve no purpose, then most of young people on this planet are useless.  

2 comments:

  1. Loundja,

    I think I need to start with making some points clear:

    Everything that was in the article I read is between quotations. This excludes the paragraph where, among others, looking for a husband is stated as a priority.

    That paragraph lists several comments I heard here and there (as stated in my blog). I would guess you heard similar ones yourself. And btw, the "looking for a husband" bit is something I hear mostly from other women.

    I am Algerocentric and so is my blog. Saying Algerian women served no purpose doesn't imply anything on non-Algerian ones. How non-Algerian women are has no importance in my blog.

    My opinion is given in the last two paragraphs with a conclusion which is quite similar to yours above.

    My post generated several comments. And some, including the one in the comments section which you apparently didn't like, rightly asked the question "what is a purpose?"
    I understand from your text that having "PhD’s from top universities in the UK and in Europe" is an evidence of having a purpose. I don't think everyone will agree. Does this mean that an uneducated and unemployed person spending his/her time watching Sex and City serves no purpose?
    When many Algerian student left school to join the war in 1956, were those who chose to continue their studies and have PhDs serving a purpose? if yes, was it a higher purpose than helping free the country?

    Everyone serves their own purpose and it's fine so long as they are happy with it. And at the same time, we all make generalisations and judgements, trying to rank these purposes on subjective scales. And this is where "Algerian women serve no purpose"-like conclusions come from.

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    Replies
    1. Mnarvi DZ,

      Thanks for clarifying things... I had to have my two pennies worth on the matter, and defend myself and my gender.
      I think that the misunderstanding comes from the absence of a definition of the word “purpose” and the criteria and specifications that would make one seem like they serve a purpose or not. These do not appear in you post, except for reference to moujahidates, which in my opinion is not relevant as we cannot keep glorifying and even sanctifying the revolution and those who were involved in it; they are human after all. Like the author of the article mentioned, many Algerians believe that Moujahidine and moujahidates were pious people, which is not necessarily true, but that is beyond the scope of our discussion here.
      In response to your statement about women from other societies, I understand that you are only interested in women from your country, but what you wrote did not just stem from your observations but also from comments you heard from friends and acquaintances who may be basing their conclusion on comparisons with other women from other countries. I have met many Algerians who think highly of Western women…
      As for PhDs and education as a demonstration of having a purpose, I can say that they do give one a sense of purpose.

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