Esra

Where madness meets reality

women Archive

Tuesday

20

August 2013

0

COMMENTS

Why being a woman in Saudi is so amazing!

Written by , Posted in Experience

Life has its own way of living itself whether we enjoy it or not. It is part of what we signed up for and this includes being a woman in Saudi Arabia. Nothing can really prepare you for living here; not reading about it, not even living here all your life can make you an expert in how to deal with life in Saudi as a woman, especially a local woman.

You are not allowed to drive. You can’t travel or even apply to a job or college without your male guardian’s approval, but this is not all. You are always judged and whatever you do is strictly monitored by society. The quality of your own living is decided and dependent on your own family’s boundaries –you’ll be among the lucky elite if you happen to be born into an open-minded family. We are still supervised by the tribal culture and values regardless of how big or advanced we are becoming as a country and a nation.

But things are changing rapidly and we have witnessed it especially in the last decade; we are living in the information era. People are able to gain more information easily and adapt changes very easily. One of the most rapid changes we are witnessing is the ability for women here to gain more rights and have more access to things we haven’t dreamt of 20 or 30 years ago and we are overcoming all obstacles and challenges.

saudi-women-men-working

We are amazing because of what we can offer to ourselves, our society, and to the world. We are intelligent, strong, self-sufficient, and independent. We can do what we want when we want compared to what was a burden before. We are more secure and self-motivated and this made us happier.

The government is being a strong supporter in empowering us. Laws are being put in place to allow women to have more freedom at work. Numbers are saying that Saudi women constitute more than 17% of the native workforce. The number of working women increased 280% in the last decade. Mixed gender work places are becoming more acceptable.

In 3 decades female literacy in Saudi jumped from 2% to 82% – with more than 50% with higher education degrees and the number of Saudi women graduating from colleges with high education degrees is higher than many western countries.

We have a female minister, female parliament advisors, female lawyers, and female athletes competing in the Olympics, hundreds of thousands of Saudi women studying or working abroad. Things we never imagined about a decade ago.

I do believe that sometimes we still feel down, we still demand more but let’s admit and accept that there is a moderate progress happening by the government and we shall support it rather than criticizing it. The change is happening and we strong Saudi women are leading it.

For a nation that is relatively considered young struggling between the tribal and conservative parties, the political issues, and the youth along with the government’s urge to develop the human in order to develop the country and be a first world classified country, changes happening here are structured to benefit us while not harming or causing conflicts with any party even if others see it as very slow steps we can rest assured that they are sustainable steps.

Always believe that the best is yet to come and we will get there soon.

Monday

29

July 2013

0

COMMENTS

The Tough Cookie

Written by , Posted in Babbles

strong-smiling-woman

We all love to have an impressive personality stating that we are strong, and in a male dominating society we strive to prove that we have opinions that matter and stand out in our minds. The thing we might lack the most is understanding the differences between the strong character, the tough cookie, and imposing unjustified opinions just for the sake of pointing out our existence. It was often perceived that a weak female personality is the inability to make decisions on her own or not disclosing her opinions freely.

After reading a lot of personal development books and after going through a lot of exercises myself I wanted to share the traits that can actually give me or any other woman the strength in our outstanding personalities.

At first we have to admit and be aware that a strong character is not violent or stubborn; these are far from defining a strong personality, in both genders.

– A strong personality can’t be seen as vanity, there is a very thin line between being self-confident and vanity or pride in yourself which is a huge sign of a weak person.

– Sharpness is not strong. Some might assume that you have to be sharp and violent to put things straight while being strong is the art of being able to deal with others depending on their minds and never underestimating anyone.

– A strong female character uses her capabilities to achieve her goals and aspirations and overcome the difficulties to reach them.

– You find joy and pleasure in helping and guiding others. You don’t wait for anything from anyone in return for what you gave.

– The self confidence and strong personality make you not pay attention to the words of hypocrisy which other women usually enjoy. Your capabilities help you feel the sincerity in the words you receive.

– You are ambitious with targets and goals in life and you set a plan for yourself to work hard to achieve them and never give in to failure and despair.

– You are open to the world, to everyone and always up for meeting new people and building new relationships, which makes you worthy of love and respect.

– A strong woman knows the value of time, energy, and effort being put into tasks and knows how to invest in herself to enjoy and balance her work and leisure.

– In the end, what is most important is a strong woman who is proud of her opinions and not afraid to share them with anyone, not afraid of telling the truth to anybody, but is also keen and considerate about the feelings of others. Even when you have the ability to fight hard you’ll still have the internal power of observation that enables you to read what is going on around you and adjust your reactions accordingly.

 “A strong woman understands that the gifts such as logic, decisiveness, and strength are just as feminine as intuition and emotional connection. She values and uses all of her gifts.” – Nancy Rathburn

Wednesday

24

July 2013

1

COMMENTS

Why should it always be a husband?

Written by , Posted in Babbles, Experience

We live in the most conservative Asian culture –or maybe just a double-faced blind-sided society.

If you look around you in your own social circle, you’ll understand what I’ll be discussing here.

We women were raised with one ultimate goal, which is to get married and procreate like rabbits. It is very rare to find a family that raises their daughter to be a useful member of the society rather than grooming her to be a trophy wife.

equal

How many career-related success parties have you heard about compared to how many weddings and engagement parties you’ve been invited to during a year?

Did your elder relatives ever gather to celebrate a promotion or an achievement in your career the way they do if you get married or have a baby?

The idea of achievements and success are usually gender discriminated. Any achievement you as a woman achieve is nothing unless you have a kid jumping around your legs or a man by your side as if you are incomplete without him. We’ve never seen society caring about a man’s social status when celebrating his success.

I’m not against the idea of building a family or having a partner that supports you through life. I’m just against the concept of making a woman’s life revolve around it.

The perception of being incomplete. The idea that men are complete by their financial independency, but you as a woman will never be unless you have a ring around your finger.

We don’t need the sympathy or the sad looks every time an outstanding strong successful husband-less woman is around, and some might take it to a next level and start discussing how to make her life better by having a husband or being so generous in suggesting an x person as a candidate.

All we seek is to be defined as me, a strong independent woman with no labels and no attachments the same way you always identify independent men.

Tuesday

16

July 2013

0

COMMENTS

Smiling is Not Flirting

Written by , Posted in Babbles

I tend to be the smiling person you run into while grabbing your morning coffee or maybe, sometimes, the person striking a conversation at the airport terminal or while waiting for your dentist appointment.smiling-woman

I was raised in an open free house with a multicultural background and have been living in different parts of the world as I grew up exposed to all kinds of ethnicities being a daughter of my great never stay still family. I do believe that my background made me open to the world and more accepting of others. I really see myself as a friend to everyone.

In the past few years I settled in Riyadh, a dry, emotionless city. It’s sad that I’m giving it this name, but everyone who ever lived or stayed here would agree with me that even with all the urban modern architecture around us, the desert is still affecting the society badly in being strict, firm, and cold, emotionally. It is rarely witnessed, and relatively weird smiling to strangers in the street; same or cross gender.

With all of the strict cultures, the social boundaries, and religious barriers – as they claim-, people became aggressively closed to themselves which resulted in misinterpreting any positive or nice gesture – especially with the other gender- and I really started to notice it heavily and to be honest it is one of the most annoying feelings ever to have your genuine acts misinterpreted just because of the cultural or old social misperceptions.

What I’m writing here might sound self-involved and delusional but I want to assure you I’m not the kind of hair-flipping narcissistic diva tearing hearts apart with her looks and walk. I’m not even aware if physical appearance has any involvement here when it comes to transforming any act of politeness into an invitation to start an unwanted conversation and in worse cases you end up getting yourself a stalker with a set mentality that you were meant for each other because you did give him the green light when you smiled back while exchanging business cards at an event.

It annoys me to find that some might consider my millisecond longer smiles or my ‘have a pleasant evening’ wishes an indication of flirting or a welcoming sign to go further with their moves.

I do understand the mechanism of relationships and how social relations develop; we can see it happening everywhere in real life and in the cyber world. We all start as strangers in the beginning but there will always be body language, a physical distance, or an emoticon that can tell if the other participant of the conversation is interested. You need to pay attention to that.

The last thing I or any other outgoing woman can ever imagine is living in a closed, stressed, smile-less world because of this condition so please let’s all agree:
Smiling is not flirting!
Texting to check on your health after a week of the flu is not flirting!
Holding the door for you at the entrance is not flirting!
A handshake while exchanging business cards is not flirting!
And of course, replying to your tweet or complimenting your blog post is not a flirtation, whatsoever.

Monday

24

June 2013

0

COMMENTS

You’ve Got a Friend in me!

Written by , Posted in Babbles

friends

We all grew up listening to and humming the song (You’ve Got a Friend in me!) We grew up to understand that friendship is the most important relationship between human beings. No matter what your age, gender, location, or background we all need a friend to lean on and to walk side by side with through life.

“Friendship is defined as the relationship of mutual affection between two or more people. Friendship is a stronger form of interpersonal bond than acquaintanceship”. It was never stated yet always debated that friends should be from the same gender. In my personal opinion gender discrimination is only a social barrier that we grew up with but had no fundamental reason behind it.

Society has long considered romance to be based on the prototypical male-female relationship because it keeps the life cycle going by bringing more babies into the world. Cross-sex friendship has primarily been ignored. Our typical men-women relationships were: 1.) families meet; 2.) couple gets engaged; 3.) they get married and 4.) have kids. This is who defined these relationships?

We’ve always been taught that cross-sex friendships are charged with sexual tension and danger.  However, my own personal experience is that men and women can be friends.  This is not only true with your significant other.

Society is different and things are changing rapidly around us. If we go back to 1989 –when Harry met Sally- research said less that 10% admitted to having a close friend of the other sex. However, now with the new media and the cultural shift, people have repudiated this idea. Men and women are working together, networking, cheering the same soccer team, and even sharing the same wardrobe. With everything that is happening around us, the question should be: who doesn’t have a friend of the opposite sex?

The way that men and women respond to things is very encouraging.  It is not healthy to narrow down our understanding of a whole gender to one person – a significant other.. “Men have grown up in a world in which a conversation is often a contest. For women, even a healthy debate—if there is such a thing—is about exchanging information and support.” says Deborah Tannen. Men and women are also becoming more androgynous as their societal roles become more similar. “Men are more willing to have feminine characteristics, and women are a lot more willing to admit to traditionally masculine characteristics, like assertiveness,” said Camille Chatterjee. There are many other testimonials that show you how different it is to deal with the opposite sex.

The main challenges you’ll face in this new relationship are:

– Define your relationship: “People don’t know what feelings are appropriate toward the opposite sex, unless they’re what the culture defines as appropriate.”

– Overcome the attraction by not ignoring it or being unwelcoming to it.

– In a male dominated society, ensure that you bring power to the game and establish equality.

– Deal with doubters with confidence; they will never be satisfied no matter what it is said.

– Where should you meet: working together is a start, online discussions, and surprisingly with time you’ll find other ways to interact.

Cross-sex relationships are not always about physical attraction. It is possible to share all of the qualities that define best friends. However, with time you will both realize that it won’t work in a serious romantic situation. The longer the friendship has lasted, the harder you will be able to see it as a romantic possibility.

You will never be able to experience the best that friendship has to offer until you unleash yourself from the social boundaries and just live the moment friend to friend,  human to  human and with no other labels to identify you.