Could unraveling Arab and Muslim masculinity provide insights into why some of these young men find themselves attracted to extremist groups? Anthropology doctoral student Whittaker Harpel-McGraw thinks so and is dating arab american man the idea in his thesis. He is trying to understand the challenges faced by first- and second-generation Arab-Americans as they attempt to balance their Arab and American identities. Gender roles Harpel-McGraw is focusing in particular on the context of transnational masculinity and how Arab masculinity is changing under the influence of the American experience. Findings His research so far shows that Arab-American men appeal to an imagined Arab tradition — one that no longer even exists in the Middle East — to legitimize their masculinity.
When Hasan and I made plans to get married, a lot of people asked me different questions about him that were based upon common stereotypes and misconceptions about Arab men and the Middle East in general. Even now, many people ask me if my husband forced me to convert to Islam or if he forces me to dress modestly. Depending on where you live, you may not interact with or dating arab american man across Arab people often. I will go through common misconceptions and stereotypes about Arab men and share my thoughts and perspective on each one. Of course, this post is not intended to generalize all Arabs.
Everyone is their own unique individual person and should be treated as such. This post is based solely upon my own experience and relationship with an Arab man.
Arab-american masculinity and extremist ideas
One of the most common stereotypes I hear about Arab men is that they are jealous and controlling and possessive. In Middle Eastern and Muslim cultures in general, men are taught to protect and care for the women in their lives. For this reason, I believe that what many people may view as an Arab man being jealous or possessive actually just stems from a desire to protect and look out for the women in their life, whether that be their wife or daughter or mother or sister. Stereotype 2: Arab dating arab american man expect their wives to stay at home and do all the housework.
In Middle Eastern cultures, men are traditionally expected to provide for women financially, while women tend to do domestic work around the house such as cooking, cleaning, and caring for children. However, every relationship dynamic is different, and this is not always going to be the case, especially if you live in a Western country. If you were born and raised in America with two working parents, you may view being a housewife as oppressive or demeaning.
However, if you were born in a Middle Eastern country where this was the norm and your own mother was a housewife, you may not view it as oppressive. Her job was not easy, and I admire her for all that she did to care for and provide for our family. I never viewed her role at home as dating arab american man or demeaning, because I knew that she truly loved doing it and was working just as hard as my father.
My frame of thinking was formed early on throughout my life that there is dating arab american man wrong with a woman being a housewife or a stay-at-home mom, so I have never viewed it as oppressive. In our relationship, Hasan always reminds me that I have no obligation to work or provide financially.
The truth about marrying an arab man
In Islam, those are my rights. Many people twist the teachings of Islam to dating arab american man the idea that women have no rights, but we truly have a lot of protections and freedom, particularly in regard to our money and profession. In our relationship, I do the majority of the housework and cooking, but I enjoy doing it and I see it as an act of service to my husband. We both work hard in different ways and he would never force me to cook or expect me to do dating arab american man of the housework.
A common stereotype about Arab men and Arabs in general is that they are secretive. I remember that when I first met Hasan, I thought he was somewhat secretive about things and I interpreted it in the wrong way. He was raised to keep personal things private and to not overshare with others. For awhile after Hasan and I became close, I stopped using social media and sharing every detail about my life.
I realized how freeing it was to keep personal things private. Even though we both use social media now, we always keep a boundary over what we share, and we try not to announce every personal aspect of our life and relationship with the rest of the world. There is value in keeping some things to yourself and your closest loved ones. One way believed to prevent the effects of Evil Eye is to not overshare everything with others and to keep personal matters private. Because of this, many people raised in Middle Eastern and Mediterranean cultures are taught early on the value and importance of privacy, which may in turn be interpreted by others not familiar with the culture as secrecy.
This stereotype is unfortunately extremely common and harmful.
Many people label Arab men, particularly Muslim Arab men, as abusive. Abuse under any circumstance is not acceptable and should never be tolerated, but this also does not mean that all men from that particular culture should be generalized as abusive.
I do believe there is a lot of work to be done in terms of teaching young boys and men that it is not acceptable to abuse women. Unfortunately, these patterns of abuse are cyclical and tend to repeat themselves across generations.
If our frame of thinking is formed early on that abuse is okay, we may go on to either accept abuse from others or abuse others ourselves. Unfortunately, patterns of abuse are cyclical and tend to repeat themselves across generations. Additionally, using religion to justify abuse is not okay, nor is it Islamically accurate.
Men are not allowed to abuse their wives in the name of Islam, contrary to what some people may say. Stereotype 5: Arab men force their American wives to convert to Islam and wear hijab. Of course, not all Arabs are Muslim and not all choose to marry American women, so this one relates specifically to Arab Muslim men who marry American women. Because there are many Arab men who date or marry Western women, this stereotype has become increasingly prevalent.
Many people have asked me both online and in real life whether or not my husband forced me to convert to Islam and dress modestly and wear hijab. There is no compulsion in religion, and any Muslim could tell you that. Muslim men are Islamically allowed to marry Muslim, Christian, and Jewish women alike. Though some cultures and families may encourage or require that their sons marry Muslim women, Islamically it is permissible for him to marry a Christian or Jewish woman.
When Hasan and I made the intention to dating arab american man married, I was still Catholic. At the time, I had no intention to convert, especially for the sake of a relationship or marriage.
It was something that we discussed very early on in our relationship, but we decided that it was most important that we both had faith and believed in God. Hasan never pressured me or gave me an ultimatum to convert—it was a decision I ultimately came to on my own. He made it clear from the start that converting is a personal choice and decision that he would not interfere with.
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Similarly with hijab, you cannot force your wife to wear it. Hijab is a choice that Muslim women make. I began to dress modestly because I realized the value and beauty in modesty and in reserving my body for my husband only. There are some young Muslim men not just Middle Eastern men who date Western women with no intention of marrying them or taking the relationship further, while knowing very well that their parents expect them to marry a Muslim woman or a woman from a specific culture.
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I hope you found this post interesting and helpful. Just because a stereotype may be common in a culture does not mean that it is true. If dating arab american man have not yet watched, be sure to check out the video below. Hasan and I talk through all of these stereotypes and he gives his own insight and perspective on them as an Arab man. Notify me of follow-up comments by. Notify me of new posts by. For those who do not know, I am an American woman married to an Arab man. Stereotype 3: Arab men are secretive.
Stereotype 4: Arab men are abusive.
Closing thoughts I hope you found this post interesting and helpful. No Comments. Really needed this reminder today so I thought I w. If you watched my stor.