When vulnerabilities are triggered within the couple's relationship, the individual tends to Another example is a lesbian woman who, after a heated fight with . impasse by considering its sociocultural underpinnings in terms of men intimidating Conversation, language, and possibilities: A postmodern approach to. This stimulates the Dread/ Anger Impasse: the men retreat, the women begin to get anger leads The Woman-Man Relationship: Impasses and Possibilities . Three perspectives on women and the gender impasse in We would like to express our gratitude to the women and men in Maputo, Nampula and .. relationships with men and the treatment of women who chose to live without. .. Education is a recognised necessity and tool to expand the possibilities and alternatives.
Can you blend these two parts of your world? Most young adults have concluded that they have little choice but to prepare for options that are likely to fall substantially short of their ideals. In the face of these barriers, women and men are formulating different -- and opposing -- fallback strategies. In contrast to the media-driven message that more women are opting for domestic pursuits, the vast majority of women I interviewed say they are determined to seek financial and emotional self-reliance, even at the expense of a committed relationship.
Most young women -- regardless of class, race, or ethnicity -- are reluctant to surrender their autonomy in a traditional marriage. When the bonds of marriage are so fragile, relying on a husband for economic security seems foolhardy. And if a relationship deteriorates, economic dependence on a man leaves few means of escape. Danisha, an African American who grew up in an inner-city, working-class neighborhood, and Jennifer, who was raised in a middle-class, predominantly white suburb, agree: Let's say that my marriage doesn't work.
Just in case, I want to establish myself, because I don't ever want to end up, like, "What am I going to do? I will have to have a job and some kind of stability before considering marriage. Too many of my mother's friends went for that -- "Let him provide everything" -- and they're stuck in a very unhappy relationship, but can't leave because they can't provide for themselves or the children they now have.
So it's either welfare or putting up with somebody else's crap. Hoping to avoid being trapped in an unhappy marriage or abandoned by an unreliable partner, almost three-fourths of women surveyed said they plan to build a non-negotiable base of self-reliance and an independent identity in the world of paid work.
But they do not view this strategy as incompatible with the search for a life partner. Instead, it reflects their determination to set a high standard for a worthy relationship. Economic self-reliance and personal independence make it possible to resist "settling" for anything less than a satisfying, mutually supportive bond. Maria, who grew up in a two-parent home in a predominantly white, working-class suburb and Rachel, whose Latino parents separated when she was young, share this view: I want to have this person to share [my] life with -- [someone] that you're there for as much as they're there for you.
But I can't settle. I'm not afraid of being alone, but I am afraid of being with somebody who's a jerk. I want to get married and have children, but it has to be under the right circumstances, with the right person. Maria and Rachel also agree that if a worthy relationship ultimately proves out of reach, then remaining single need not mean social disconnection.
Kin and friends provide a support network that enlarges and, if needed, even substitutes for an intimate relationship: If I don't find [a relationship], then I cannot live in sorrow. It's not the only thing that's ultimately important. If I didn't have my family, if I didn't have a career, if I didn't have friends, I would be equally unhappy. I can spend the rest of my life on my own, and as long as I have my sisters and my friends, I'm OK. By blending support from friends and kin with financial self-sufficiency, most young women are pursuing a strategy of autonomy rather than placing their own fate or their children's in the hands of a traditional marriage.
Whether or not this strategy ultimately leads to marriage, it appears to offer the safest and most responsible way to prepare for the uncertainties of relationships and the barriers to men's equal sharing. Young men, in contrast, face a different dilemma: Torn between women's pressures for an egalitarian partnership and their own desire to succeed -- or at least survive -- in time-demanding workplaces, they are more inclined to fall back on a modified traditionalism that recognizes a mother's right and need to work but puts a man's claim to a career first.
Despite growing up in a two-income home, Andrew distinguishes between a woman's "choice" to work and a man's "responsibility" to support his family: When push comes to shove, and the demands of work collide with the needs of children, this framework allows fathers to resist equal caretaking, even in a two-earner context. Although Josh's mother became too mentally ill to care for her children or herself, Josh plans to leave the lion's share of caretaking to his wife: All things being equal, it [caretaking] should be shared.
It may sound sexist, but if somebody's going to be the breadwinner, it's going to be me. First of all, I make a better salary, and I feel the need to work, and I just think the child really needs the mother more than the father at a young age.
Men are thus more likely to favor a fallback arrangement that retains the gender boundary between breadwinning and caretaking, even when mothers hold paid jobs. From young men's perspective, this modified but still gendered household offers women the chance to earn income and establish an identity at the workplace without imposing the costs of equal parenting on men.
Granting a mother's "right" to work supports women's claims for independence, but does not undermine men's claim that their work prospects should come first. Acknowledging men's responsibilities at home provides for more involved fatherhood, but does not envision domestic equality.
And making room for two earners provides a buffer against the difficulties of living on one income, but does not challenge men's position as the primary earner.
Modified traditionalism thus appears to be a good compromise when the career costs of equality remain so high.
Ultimately, however, men's desire to protect work prerogatives collides with women's growing demand for equality and independence. If the realities of time-demanding workplaces and missing supports for caregiving make it difficult for young adults to achieve the sharing, flexible, and more egalitarian relationships most want, then how can we get past this impasse?
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Clearly, most young women are not likely to answer this question by returning to patterns that fail to speak to either their highest ideals or their greatest fears. To the contrary, they are forming fallback strategies that stress personal autonomy, including the possibility of single parenthood.
Men's most common responses to economic pressures and time-demanding jobs stress a different strategy -- one that allows for two incomes but preserves men's claim on the most rewarding careers.
Women and men are leaning in different directions, and their conflicting responses are fueling a new gender divide. We need to worry less about the family values of a new generation and more about the institutional barriers that make them so difficult to achieve. Most young adults do not wish to turn back the clock, but they do hope to combine the more traditional value of making a lifelong commitment with the more modern value of having a flexible, egalitarian relationship.
Since a mother's earnings and a father's involvement are both integral to the economic and emotional welfare of children and also desired by most women and menwe can achieve the best family values only by creating flexible workplaces, ensuring equal economic opportunity for women, outlawing discrimination against all parents, and building child-friendly communities with plentiful, affordable, and high-quality child care.
These long overdue policies will help new generations create the more egalitarian partnerships they desire. Failure to build institutional supports for new social realities will not produce a return to traditional marriage. In the narrow lanes of the medina and in the modern avenues, boys whisper sweet words to fashionable girls who have started donning the veil on the wave of the Islamic revival.
Women's Growth In Diversity
Contemporary revivalist movements promote the re-Islamization of society, the ethical reform of subjectivities, and the rejection of Western cultural values as the remedy to the material and spiritual crisis affecting both Morocco and Muslim worlds more broadly. Since colonial times, modernity, along with the experiences of domination and defeat, has continued to be a lived concern in the writings of novelists and intellectuals with different political visions. Whereas romantic love has long been embedded in popular imagination and public culture, it was often depicted as a dangerous sentiment that leads someone to compromise his or her honour Abu-Lughod and creates states of confusion and madness.
At the turn of the nineteenth century, a vision of marriage based on love and choice entered the debates on modernity in Muslim societies. Tracing the historical entanglements of love and modernity, I situate the emerging ideal of love marriage in al-Azaliyya in relation to a longer history of the circulation of imaginaries of romantic love.
On a lazy Saturday afternoon, while waiting for Ghizlan to finish her make-up to go for a stroll in the city, I switched on the television in her room and saw that Titanic was being broadcast on the satellite channel Fox Movies.
Amongst the most successful romantic Hollywood films, Titanic tells the love story of Rose, a girl engaged to a rich aristocrat, and Jack Dawson, a poor but charming young man, during the fateful journey from Europe to America on the eponymous ship. She came to sit by me on her sofa and confessed that she had never managed to hold back her tears when Rose wakes up after the collision of the Titanic with the iceberg and realizes that Jack is clinging lifeless to the wooden panel that saved her, surrounded by the icy waves of the Atlantic Ocean.
While Titanic embodies a powerful image of romantic love in al-Azaliyya, Ghizlan also emphasized the long-standing literary and poetic traditions of love in the Arab world. Still evocative today S. Davis ; see also Schielke To emphasize the extent to which the trope of unfulfilled romance is rooted in popular imagination,12 Ghizlan recounted the Tamazight legend of Isli and Tislit.
Isli and Tislit belonged to two different tribal groups, and because of the opposition of their families, they left behind their villages in the High Atlas Mountains to reach Imilchil, where in desperation they cried themselves to death. According to the legend, their tears formed two lakes. In these classic tales, the love of the protagonists defies the rules of their society and ends tragically, in madness, anguish, or death, thereby becoming a potent reminder of the dangers of passionate love and the predominance of society over the individual.
At the turn of the nineteenth century, the seductive dream of two individuals bound by love emerged as an ideal of married life in literary works Baron ; Najmabadi The reconceptualization of marriage as a romantic union turned love into both an aspiration of personal fulfilment and a project of social reform e.
Abu-Lughod ; Ahmed Beth Baron contends that the modern ideal of marital life based on love and choice spread in elite circles and amongst the middle classes in turn-of-the-century Egypt more as the result of changing political and social circumstances than of Western influence.
After independence, the Moroccan Kingdom, in promoting a return to its Islamic roots, codified in the Personal Status Law a model of the family in line with that of the classical Maliki school. Inafter heated debates between Islamists and liberals, the Personal Status Law was reformed, to include a more egalitarian vision of gender relations.
The ideal of marriage as a love choice was popularized through magazines, novels, and films. In general, though, the prevailing idea of love as a dangerous passion has continued to shape the dynamics of intimate relationships Mernissi With the spread of smuggled decoders and pirate cassettes since the s, and then satellite dishes,13 the stories of unhappy and unfilled romance have increasingly mingled with other love stories conveyed by Hollywood, French, and Egyptian films, and more recently by Mexican and Turkish soap operas.
In these stories, love often has a happy ending or the protagonists struggle to overcome status incompatibility and manoeuvre to marry the beloved person. Susan and Douglas Davis ; investigated the engagement of young Moroccans with American, Arabic, and European cultural products through television, magazines, and music in a semi-rural town in the s and s. These authors contend that, in the context of mass schooling and changed patterns of leisure time, music and television cultures provided young Moroccans with new imaginative horizons and ideals of married life.
Meanwhile, their search for individual autonomy in marriage choice often clashed with family allegiance Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute N.
Moreover, my young female interlocutors complain that love affairs rarely lead to marriage. Not only can parents oppose a love marriage, but also deceitful lovers may gain their trust only in order to have a sexual encounter and then often consider them unsuitable wives precisely because they engage in premarital affairs.
As Matthew Carey notes, the dynamics of premarital relationships in Morocco are complex, opaque, and unpredictable, and people often exploit opacity in order to further their social ends. On some religious satellite channels, conservative preachers condemn the corrupting effects of foreign cultural products available on satellite TV and call on believers to return to a purified Islamic morality. Moll ; Wise Intimate relationships and male-female sociability are essential primary points of focus in the revivalist project for the ethical-political reform of individuals and society.
In her opinion, the Arabization of education,14 and a number of important political and social events that occurred in the past few decades in Morocco and the Middle East, have led Moroccans away from Western-inspired models of progress and encouraged the rediscovery of their religious identity. For Ghizlan, the liberalization of national TV15 and the arrival of satellite dishes have played a role in these processes by allowing Moroccans to get broader access to news and to learn more about Islam.
At the same time, she argued, certain entertainment programmes, films, and music video-clips available on satellite TV have disseminated superficial messages Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute N.
When she was a teenager, Ghizlan loved watching Indian and Egyptian films on national television. These romantic films focused on the struggles of two lovers thwarted by their family, but, she added, were respectful: It was a romantic story, not like today. Have you seen what the singers look like? Nowadays, satellite TV is full of such things!
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In her opinion, the pervasive presence of seductive singers and actresses on television has a negative influence on boys: Television always gives you models, whether negative or positive. Our generation had good models!
Mobile phones and the Internet enable teenagers to talk and arrange meetings beyond parental control. Couples arranged secret meetings at the street corner or a few blocks away from their home for fear that parents or siblings might see them; they exchanged words of love, but they were shy and respectful.
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Love, agency, and destiny One evening, I went to visit Ghizlan and we somehow started talking of love. She explained how complicated love is, in Morocco and in all Arab countries alike, because love affairs seldom turn into marriage. Noticing that I looked puzzled, Ghizlan took a piece of paper and drew a flame on it: You think about what he told you, what he did. Given the transience of love, Ghizlan suggested that the important decision about marriage should be taken when the flame of passion is still burning intensely, arguably because it is in this very moment that people dare to struggle for love.
This claim challenges the wisdom that warns against illusory infatuations and the dangers of love. Notwithstanding the importance that Ghizlan accorded to love and choice in marriage decisions, however, she also stressed that the outcome of a relationship is not simply a matter of love or individual will. It is, rather, connected with qad.
Far from setting divine destiny and free will in opposition, though, the widespread belief that people attain in life what God has preordained is combined with an insistence on freedom and responsibility for individual actions, which will be judged on Judgment Day.
Yet, intrigued by the way in which Ghizlan shifted from a worldly horizon of passion and choice to a mystical one in which personal agency meets powers that transcend human control and rational understanding, I asked her to clarify the connections between love and destiny. In response, she went back to her piece of paper: To understand her viewpoint on the relations between predestination Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute N.
Put in these terms, is everything fated to be? I could grasp the broader significance of her reflection on love, agency, and destiny when I stayed overnight at her home, and she recounted to me a very sad story.
When she was 24, Ghizlan received some text messages on her mobile, sent by mistake from someone she did not know. Persuaded that the message was important, she let the stranger know that she was not the person he was looking for. They started talking by mobile phone, and then, when they realized that they were both living in al-Azaliyya, they decided to meet.
After their first meeting, they started dating regularly and their accidental meeting developed into love. After three years together, they agreed to marry. Ghizlan informed her parents that a man would come to ask for her hand and they prepared special sweets to greet their guest.
To her astonishment, no one came knocking at the door that day. Aware of the complexity that surrounds the passage from love to marriage, Ghizlan did not trust him and jumped to the conclusion that he had changed his mind about their marriage without having the courage to face her.
Deeply hurt by his behaviour, she decided to break off their relationship and avoid any contact with him. A few months later, Ghizlan learned that her beloved had passed away.
She went through a period of profound suffering.5 Attitudes Men Love About Women
Despite her despair for the loss of her beloved, Ghizlan gradually recovered herself and fell in love with another man. The failure of this second love story — which I detail below — triggered a profound crisis that has reconfigured her relationship with the divine.
In a world where transcendental powers are at play, human agency is not only located within the individual self see also Mittermaier ; Mahmood Ahmed had left the village of his birth in the Atlas Mountains to study in Casablanca and had then found a job in Tangier, so they had not seen each other for ten years.
When they met again, an intense feeling blossomed: The words with which Ghislan began her story, however, anticipated the tragic ending of their relationship: After their meeting in al-Azaliyya, Ahmed and Ghizlan kept in touch by the Internet and mobile phone until his mother became very ill.
Since his father was working far away and Ahmed has no sisters or female relatives nearby, he asked Ghizlan to help care for his mother. Recalling the time they spent together, she smiled and her eyes became dreamy. I spent such a wonderful week! Outings, sweet words, beautiful conversations. If he just saw someone turning to me, he shouted at him. I spent a week as if I had set foot in paradise. She said that she wanted to cry and scream, but her parents did not know about their relationship, and so she kept silent until she became ill with a fever.
She said that, despite the sentiments that bind two lovers, love and marriage follow different logics in Moroccan society, a common idea amongst my young interlocutors. Some families support a love marriage, and the couples often succeed in marrying in the case of family disapproval by making their love match seem to be an arranged marriage.
When marriage is at stake, however, pragmatic considerations about family respectability, honour, social class, and deference to parental authority may weigh more heavily than love. While Ghizlan could understand the transcendental and social forces at play in marriage decisions, she demanded responsibility and called for agency as a moral imperative, to which Ahmed failed to respond.
Her words above imply that he did have the power to make a choice and that, perhaps, things could have been otherwise. Arguably, the idea of love thwarted by family opposition or destiny, a central trope in many tragic love tales, helped Ghizlan alleviate her suffering. Besides her spiritual aspirations, her words below express her uneasiness regarding the constraints surrounding female sexuality and her critique of the gendered dynamics of power in love relationships.
In her opinion, male sexual desire is inflamed as they cast their gaze on the female body. For me virginity is not essential, but you may have problems. Overtly discussing female sexual freedom, Ghizlan complained that not only can parents interfere and object to a love marriage, but also many young men do not accept women who are not virgins or who have a higher social position and a strong personality. Like other young women in al-Azaliyya, Ghizlan described virginity as a male social expectation.
If you delay marriage until 30, it gets harder and harder! But you study first — studying has delayed my marriage. Because of her pursuit of a professional career, Ghizlan has postponed marriage and hence passed the age regarded as appropriate for a woman to marry.
Evoking religious arguments, she claimed that marriage at an early age allows the fulfilment of sexual and emotional necessities, and hence contains social disorder. She also thought, however, that early marriage would have prevented her achieving the dreams of a career that she had planned for since childhood.
Although Ghizlan believed that marriage and family life are very important, she could not accept a man who would restrict her freedom. Broadcast on Nile Television Network, the TV series tells the story of an educated woman who works as a teacher and lives alone in her flat.
Despite her cultured and bourgeois surroundings, she suffers from pressure to marry from her family and peers. Although Ghizlan made it clear that her family did not pressure her to marry, she identified this mass-mediated story with her personal predicament, thereby reframing it as a broader phenomenon that especially involves educated and independent women.
In her view, this TV series addressed the uneasy condition of those women who have pursued their aspirations and then find it difficult to find a husband who lives up to their expectations. Day by day, you begin to understand life, not the dream-world but real life, because when you are 30, life is real, while before you looked at la vie imaginaire: Her shift in tone partly reflected her disillusionment with love and her belief that love alone is not enough to make one happy.
Ghizlan has been in a liaison with a man for three years.