Last year, in the holy month of Ramadan, we would gather after Iftar to watch an Egyptian soup opera called “I Want to get Married,” starring Hind Sabri, a beautiful Egyptian actress with a Tunisian background. Her show deals with the gloom beneath the surface of successful, intelligent, beautiful women in Arab countries who can’t find the right man.
In some Arab countries, women are called spinsters if they are not married by the time they reach their early twenties; in other Arab countries, a woman may not be given that title until she is in her late twenties or early thirties. Lucky woman, huh?
This means that unmarried women who pass a certain age without marrying are viewed negatively by many in their society. However, “I Want to Get Married” attempted to battle that stereotype, or at least shed light on what is really going on in the minds of many young women.
In my opinion, the social chaos caused by the Arab Spring is going to make this situation all the more complicated and traumatic, because so many people, men and women, will worry more about their futures. Who wants to think about marriage when they know they might not be able to give their children a decent life? What about food and education? When life is stressful and violent, marriage seems to be a luxury.
Why does society blame women for not getting married? Why do men not share in the blame? During this year’s Ramadan perhaps the soap operas can help answer those questions.
In the meantime, let’s give women a break!
(Ikram Al Yacoub of Al Arabiya Web TV can be reached at: email@example.com)