Solution to Spinsterhood?

12 Jul

Right, so thanks to my dear husband I have my laptop-that-sounded-like-a-lawnmower back. It now sounds like…nothing at all. Oh the peace. It’s just fabulous. Yay!

Last week an interesting article in our local paper, The Arab News, caught my eye. The title of the piece would catch the eye of most, I would think.

 Solution to spinsterhood: Take four wives

Below a few excerpts from the piece:

“A group of young Saudis has strongly advocated polygamy as a way to end spinsterhood among women in the country. They have launched a Facebook campaign called “We want them four”, asking every capable Saudi man to marry four women to reduce the number of spinsters in the country.

There are no statistics on the number of unmarried women in Saudi Arabia, but their number is believed to be high due to the often extortionate wedding costs.

‘Every Saudi and Arab man who is financially and physically able to marry more than one wife should not hesitate to do so in order to end spinsterhood among our women and help cap the high marriage costs that have deterred many young men from getting married’, the campaign says.”

Read the full article at: http://arabnews.com/saudiarabia/article80425.ece

So just a few things up front then:

1. Marrying up to 4 wives is absolutely acceptable in Islam. These young men are not advocating anything illegal.

2. My opinion on taking multiple wives is irrelevant and I shall not pass judgement on this. Every person reading this post is likely to have a strong opinion on this and I shall leave that to you. 

I do have a few thoughts on this article though:

Firstly, I think that young people in this part of the world have it tough. They don’t get to do a lot of the stuff that we would traditionally do as teenagers and young adults. One of the things that I feel is really problematic is the fact that boys and girls don’t get to participate in much sporting activity. Obviously the heat is the primary reason for this, having to spend so much time indoors makes a game of football with other kids in the neighbourhood impossible for at least half of the year.

Another major issue is the segregation of the sexes. You will certainly not find a group of teenage boys and girls sharing in a game of ANYTHING, EVER! I am sure that there is a certain amount of sport played but not nearly as much as there should be and probably not by all children. So here comes my opinion on this, I strongly believe that growing kids must take part in a variety of physical activities. It need not be competitive but it is essential for the development of a  healthy society. When you have a group of young men with naturally high energy levels not having anywhere to channel that energy hanging around with nothing to do, it will almost certainly lead to trouble. And in this part of the world, it does. We have witnessed that scary mob mentality unleashed. It is frightening.

What does that have to do with this new Facebook page? Well, I think that there is a link between boredom, with all the pent-up energy, and groups like these popping up. I don’t think that they are in the wrong by any means and they have the right to speak out and form Facebook groups on things that they feel passionate about but it seems like a slightly strange thing to do. I’m not entirely sure what they wish to achieve. Getting married leaves many young men in Saudi Arabia and other Arab countries in debt for many years . How will marrying more than one wife bring down the costs exactly? Is it going to become a buy one get one free program? I don’t understand. 

Secondly,I am also very surprised that Facebook has not been banned here. I would have thought that the authorities would frown upon any social networking sites. They present endless opportunities for communication between the sexes, not to mention the real life meetings that can and do result from this.

And finally, if you are going to launch a Facebook page, at least consult briefly with an English-speaking person regarding the name of the group. “We want them four” ARE YOU SERIOUS? Now I don’t use Facebook, it’s just not my kinda thing so maybe there is something that I am missing here but I can’t believe these guys didn’t research this a little more before hand. It just makes me laugh and I don’t think that was their intention.

What do you think about the article and launch of  “We want them four”? Do you think that anything will be achieved by it and if so what?

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2 Responses to “Solution to Spinsterhood?”

  1. trapperhoney July 12, 2010 at 9:21 pm #

    i have to agree with you. i don’t see how wealthy men marrying four wives will make marriage cheaper for others. as for other thoughts, well, it’s a different culture and i have no right to pass judgment.

  2. JamesBrett July 13, 2010 at 4:58 am #

    personally, i have nothing against polygamy as a cultural practice. generally, it serves as a way in which everyone in the community can be taken care of. americans (and many westerners) would tend to suggest it’s unloving to have more than one wife — you are dividing your concern and care. but other cultures would say it’s even more unloving to leave single mothers (or single women) unable to take care of themselves, struggling financially to feed and care for themselves and their children. i think there are problems on both sides of the issue, but i think it’s incredibly arrogant to look down on the other side — when everyone’s just trying to make sense of a broken world with hurting people.

    that said, i know (basically) absolutely nothing about middle eastern culture, but (from my extremely limited understanding) i’d like to see the bride price come down so that those men with less money could marry. for that matter, i’d like to see the wealthiest guys help finance weddings (and possibly marriages) for those who are not as well off as themselves. i think that would be a beautiful picture of a community truly caring for one another — whether it be a muslim, christian, or non-religious group of people.

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