Wednesday, July 06, 2005

Sexuality and Sex and the Arabic Taboo

Warning: for those uncomfortable with the word "Human sexuality", buzz off.

A note to the reader: Yes am a girl, Yes am Jordanian, and Yes I am writing
this. This is a long post, because it's a very important issue in my
opinion.

There you go , am a Jordanian girl who lived here all here life, and yes
*gasp* am gonna blurt it honestly for a simple reason: arab people encircle
themselves with the "3eeb, and Ma3alesh" dilemma. I went to the safeway to
encounter a rather different setting with no organization at all, something
like il 7esbeh, a very open system that you lose your way half through.
Maybe, the aisles idea wasn't that bad, but that's not the point. Am off on
my hunt for personal hygiene items such as toothpaste, deodorant, etc. And
there i am standing in front of the Sanitary Pads section, to use a more
Common name that you'll recognize- The Always Shelf. Yes, no matter how
commercials they put on TV, face it: Arabs still feel the 3eeb point. How?
Let me finish my story, so i baffled by the shuffled shelves, and then a
lady comes with her two young sons, and she whispers to them. "Wa2fo balash
7ada iyshoofni" She turns abruptly to the shelf, and snatches a pack barely
looking, and i can assure that's how the shelf got so messy. And she turns
bumping into me, and as i wake up from the shock, she apologizes and moves
away with her two sons. And i halted there mesmerized. Yes I did, and the
ladies who passed by, looked at me as if am committing a crime for standing
in front of the shelf for that long. No no, wait a second, did i just
witness that?

Did i just see a woman ashamed for what she is? Did i just see them hiding a
universal fact. What are you ashamed of lady? Your own body and sexuality?
And my father came back, sweating and nervous, and whispered "Are you done
yet?" And i said "No" and he answered "Well I’ll be in the fish department."
- And by the way we weren't buying any fish! Well i know the men's attitude
about this issue, and the whole "eww" episode. Wait? How did you come into
this world? Did they just peel the egg and you popped out? Why are woman
ashamed of what makes them the source of something so special, something so
divine: babies.

I shake my head, frustrated and i turn to the next section, to see an even
more dramatic trauma. Two ladies, who obviously don't read English, are
examining two small boxes - which look exactly like the raspberry candy
boxes. And they stand there innocently, baffled by their content, and i hear
them say as i hide in the corner "Yimken 3elkeh" Yes Yes, close enough
ladies, they're holding a box of condoms! And i approached them stocked with
courage and i pretend to be scrambling with the shelves, and i say "Laish
7ateen Adweyeh hoon." Yes imagine, I had to say that, because i am sure 3/4
of the Jordanian community do not know what a condom is! And they move
away, nodding, and i move away also nodding. The price label on the shelf
had their name written in English too, not a single Arabic translation. Now,
tell me why? Are we English or American, why not put an Arabic label if
you're so confident about what you're selling. Why aren't the condemns in
the Pharmacy section, believe it or not, we're not a foreign country where
you can sell condoms in the supermarket, for a simple reason: some people
might even carry it to the cashier thinking "It's 3elkeh"

And we have such ignorance regarding our sexuality, two good reasons:

1) We don't have a sexual education class assigned in our compulsory
Curriculum that ranges from ruins you never visit to advanced chemical
formula.

2) Sexuality, is the "Hush Hush" issue, starting from sexual impotence, to
fertility problems, and ending with STDs.

Why don't we have a Sex Education Class? Because a very furious father will
barge into school and say "What are you teaching my daughter?" And a enraged
mother would complain "Mish il mafrood itfat7o 3eneeha 3ala haik ashay2."
What? So the whole talk the mother gives her daughter before the wedding
night is still the fashion. In which, she skips half of the important stuff,
because she's too shy to discuss it.

A more controversial issue, my friend once told me that when a sex scene pops in some movie, her father orders the girls to go to sleep. And leaves his son watching, and when she protested to her mother, the mom answered: "howeh shab lazem yet3alam"

What the? He's a guy; you're leaving him to learn from porn movies, and cheap
sex scenes? Instead of decent, scientific education class, your alternative
is movies? And because she's a girl, she shouldn't know anything about her
sexuality? Did you know that many girls i met, didn't even know why they get
their periods, their mother simply didn't tell them.

And please let's not shield our ignorance and glue it to Islam. I don't
think educating your children to live a healthy life is against Islam or any
religion in this world. Half of the bed death marriages occur because of the
lack of sexual awareness. Here you go, i gave you my 10 cents in an issue
which is a taboo, and even more dangerous for a girl to talk about. This is
reaching the degree of absurdity, wake up people!

23 Comments:

Blogger Curtis said...

"And my father came back, sweating and nervous, and whispered "Are you done
yet?" And i said "No" and he answered "Well I’ll be in the fish department.""...

I've bought them for my wife with my head held high. I'm with you %100.

I understand what it's like to be vocal about something nobody wants to think about. Keep it up.

6:49 AM  
Blogger NAR said...

"La haya2a fid’din" (no shame in the religion) - I also think Islam does not have a problem with sexual education; it is just our culture. This appears to be one of the problems that will change with the generations; perhaps our generation is in pretty good shape regarding this. A lot of people all over the world, I am sure, are shy about this topic. After all, that is one of the things that separates us from animals.

-- Nahtir

7:31 AM  
Anonymous Ziad said...

Nice blog. You're very wise for your age :)

Sorry to include a few complaints in my first comment, but:

1) The text in your blog is hard on the eyes. It needs to be a larger font, and the background color needs to have more contrast against the color of the text.

2) The comments don't show their authors unless you click "post a comment".

Anyway, I'm happy to see a promising young talent like yourself blogging. Keep it up!

7:43 AM  
Blogger Amino said...

Curtis - I love your blog, i wish more people would step up and say the truth. I admire you Curtis! I am glad someone like you reads my blog. Peace Bro!

Nathir - You're right, it's our culture, and if people like us don't speak up it will never change.
P.S: am a Yoda Fan too!

Zaid- I am glad you're reading my blog, i tried to fix the font color/size. Better now you think? The comments thing however - hmm still figuring that out!!

I never thought the guys would be the ones to respond hmm *scratching her head*

8:35 AM  
Blogger Basbooos said...

Thanks alot for this post. I totally agree with u. Until when are we going to keep living in hypocracy???? Until when area we going to keep ignoring this very important subject??? please open this link http://alarabiya.net/Article.aspx?v=14634
please read the article and the comments that were posted. i cant believe what most of these people have said about this courageous writer. (by the way i am a jordanian girl too)

9:12 AM  
Blogger Amino said...

Basbooooos - u wanna know why they answered that way? Because they read with the "She is crazy" thought lingering in their head. If anyone read her book, he would know what she tried to say. Check out this:
http://honeymoons.about.com/cs/femalebody1/a/Hymen.htm

In order to read a novel and understand it, one should put his own set of beliefs away, and learn not to judge. Otherwise, he's not learning anything. She is courageous,just like Nawal El Saadawi, and others. Am posting a section soon about Nawal El Saadawi, and Arab Intellectuals.

9:40 AM  
Blogger Roba said...

Amino, that's a great post. I don't understand why these issues are taboo either, I mean, for heaven's sake, we need to start prioritizing properly...
Anyway, that was a great read, I'm gla d you brought up this topic, keep your posts coming.

10:47 AM  
Blogger Hind Sabanekh said...

WOW..... i totaly agree with you i went to buy always last month and the woman said i will put it in a black bag 3ashan 3eib i was like la2 this one is good even though its white and she said at least stick it in your bag!!! (7abibty mafi mo5) sick mentality believe me!!

11:35 AM  
Anonymous Ziad said...

Thanks Amino (is it Iman?), the text size is good, but you still have dark grey text on a light grey background. My artistic talents are nonexistent, so you'd better ask Roba for advice on the choice of colors :)

-Ziad

1:22 PM  
Blogger mozzy said...

Well all I can say .. no do after reading this post is standing ovations.

Amazing, finally a girl would stand up trying to open the people's eyes around here. Saying something that is totally taboo.

Me myself I have had long discussions with males and females about this issue, the funny thing is, guys tend to say "Why shall she know so much about it?"

And most girls would say
"I don't wanna hear that!!"

2:04 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think sex education is just wrong!

C'mon I mean the human race still do exist today..

Jordan got the highest brith rate among the whole world...(seriously ppl stop doing it)

My point is, don't worry by human instinct people will know what do behind closed doors,even if they haven't got any education at school (jordan as an example)

Now,if you are arguing that males are given the freedom to endulge in sensing their sexuality meanwhile females are killed for such a thing....then yes I do agree...that we have some messed up mentatlity...

But sexual education won't teach the Arabs gender equality...that's the point.....The two aspects are parraler...

On a final note, c'mon you live in a society were females are told that they are (Naqeesat 3aql wa deen) and men should always rule?!

Kiddo, just take it easy...thank god u live in Jordan, where u don't have to see women dressed in some Black Burqa alday long, or some cute Jihadi bombing your local deli....

Fking - middle east...

4:35 PM  
Blogger Linda said...

omg this is too funny. yeah the issue of sex is not talked about in our home because i start to giggle, but of course, in the great country of america, we have our sex education classes so that way our parents really dont have to talk about it with us.

as for the female products, man its so differnt here. my dad goes to the store and buys them for us girls in the house and he aint all that shy about it. especially when they are on sale he just fills his cart for us, hehehehe.

5:10 PM  
Blogger Amino said...

Hind- LOL!! Happens all the time in the local supermarkets.

Ziad - Will do :) :: Amino searching for Roba ::

Mozzy - "I don't wanna hear that!", yes yes, that's the attitude they have, instead they catch the wrong habits from stories they hear at the Hairdresser's.

Anonymous- You are entitled to your own opinion my friend, I will not say you're wrong. Yeah i do realize the human race still exist, and I do know we have the highest birth rate among the whole world.

Let's get this straight, there is something called Birth control, and humans don't only do it to reproduce, it's called Sexual health buddy.

Did i write that we should be given Sex Education classes to achieve Gender Equality, actually no. I suggested that because if you hear how many new couples got divorced because of Sex problems you won't believe it. So what's wrong if a female teacher explained to her female students, am not gonna go through all the "Coed" discussion.

Final note, I live in society, and therefore am entitled to think and exist, and just because I thank my god for living in Jordan doesn't mean i shouldn't strive for a better Jordan. So if this is the technique, then if our neighboring country doesn't have any technology, we should Thank God we have some technology, and sit around all day instead of working to achieve something better.

I respect you for saying that, cause i've been waiting for long for someone to say the "Thank God" phrase, I am sure God will be delighted if our kids don't resort to cheap porn movies, to try to figure out what they are. :)


Linda - There you go, it's kinda awkward to talk with your parents about it! Universal Fact again! Hey Sales.. i love sales LOL!!

9:24 PM  
Blogger madas said...

Interesting subject, in our culture we are afraid of sex education, because people are afraind that would give women more freedom to go around and do things... which is obvioulsy happeneing anyway! This also might indicate that the girl "has experience" (lasama7 Allah!) and then no one will marry her, and then she will be 3anis and she will have to live with her brother and his wife ti2rifhom 3ishithom, and her parents will have to spend on her forever, and then the honour of the family will go down the drain and then the whole family will go down the drain and noone will hire them so they will start ish7adou 3ind il jame3... and so on... do you still think sex education is good? :)

5:33 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

QUOTE "many new couples got divorced because of Sex problems"

Then bring the young wives to me,I'll give them something they won't refuse...

Ooopss...Am I being sleazy?

If you are concerned about married couples, why don't they give them some sort of a catalogue before getting married...

Well,I do like your rebellious attitude....moreover, I'm welling to join u in a sitting in front Jordan University demanding for Sex Education in our schools...that would be fun...

What's wrong with cheap Porn? Aren't they helpful? They are so educational...That is the government's answer for your demands...

On a final note...I'm very grateful for the neighboring countries for supplying us with the much needed "one nighter" Girls (I'm being sarcastic)

Sorry if I was rude...yeah what with girls accusing guys who went for school abroad...accusing them of must have been fooling around...(what would really tops it, staying in dorms, and bringing back some incriminating photos

Lets Roll!

11:27 AM  
Blogger sala6a said...

"The price label on the shelf
had their name written in English too, not a single Arabic translation. Now,
tell me why? Are we English or American, why not put an Arabic label if
you're so confident about what you're selling."...

والله ما بعرف شو السبب، بس ممكن يكون نفس السبب اللي خلاكي تكتبي بالإنجليزي.


لا تنه عن خلق و تأتي مثله عار عليك إذا فعلت عظيم



بالمناسبه، أنا أتفق مع الكثير مما طرح. , أعتفد اننا بحاجة إلى كم كبير من التوعية.

5:23 PM  
Blogger Amino said...

Anonymous- Sex education isn't something you teach the individual in the university, i think teenage is the right stage.

By the way, saying your opinion is never rude.

Welcome to the board, hope to see you post more often.


sala6a-
والله ما بعرف شو السبب، بس ممكن يكون نفس السبب اللي خلاكي تكتبي بالإنجليزي.


لا تنه عن خلق و تأتي مثله عار عليك إذا فعلت عظيم

Writing in any language is my own choice, however if you'd like me to translate the article i'd gladly do it. Cause unlike the label, am not selling anything, am stating my opinion that I am not ashamed of.

بالمناسبه، أنا أتفق مع الكثير مما طرح. , أعتفد اننا بحاجة إلى كم كبير من التوعية.

Of course, not any kind of awareness, scientific, reasonable education.

Thanks Sala6a, and welcome to my blog.

3:36 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am a mother for two beautiful kids and i just what to say that i loved what you wrote .. 3an jad good job.

i guess its up to us future mothers and father to change this image ... i know i will :)

10:45 AM  
Blogger nasimjo© said...

Respect 4 u Amino 4 this post ,,, it's an issue that i open my self with many Hard-brained ppl ,,, thanx 4 this post, it's an issue to discuss on Jordan Planet,4 real...

100% of what u said is true ,, & Im agreeing on it.
Respect,

6:27 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Amen!

7:56 AM  
Anonymous Zerok said...

LOL we actually got blogs -_-'

Well if i read this entry 5 years ago i would have been with ya a 110%, but now NA2a.

what you saying maybe true of the senile and diapered but thats about it .

our generation (estimate since am 23) is way dirtier than what we show to the next person.

funny thing is prob u'll never read this !

so what i suggest is that you open your eyes a little wider for whats goin around you and now that you made it to college i believe things will be more evident to your eyes.

as for the thought about sexual education (well atleast in the US) the reason for it was mainly to reduce the STD epidemic and teen pregnancy, but in our country (atleast we wanna believe it as hard as we can) these issues are non-existant , well to be more accurate its under wraps.


OH well as for the bollocks thats commenting on the font size and style tell him to hold control and scroll to increase the size rather than act like the know it all that he isnt


HOLLA !

2:13 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

ok i believe that since we are all human we should know about our bodies. period. and if sex ed is gonna help in that then why not. i am fasinated with the way our body works and have found it hard that ppl in this country don't discuss such things because its a taboo.

ive always beleived that sex and one's sexuality is a part of life and so there is no reason for it to be taboo-ed at all.

bleh i hate culture...

amino keep up the good work of 'telling it as it is'

kloude

5:54 AM  
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