The Middle Eastern Woman's Handbook

  1. You heralded bad news to your family the minute your mom found out she was pregnant with a girl.
  2. You could’ve been buried alive at birth. Be grateful.
  3. You must get married, you must get married, you must get married, you must- you must!
  4. The family’s entire honor is between your legs. Keep them closed.
  5. Your brother can do whatever he wants but you need to stay at home and learn how to be a housewife.
  6. Red lipstick makes you a whore.
  7. Becoming labeled as a spinster or promiscuous by society should be your biggest fear.
  8. You were only put on this earth to please your man.
  9. If you were to be sexually harassed or raped, it would be completely your fault- because you should’ve covered yourself up some more!
  10. He killed her to redeem the family’s honor, and cleanse its reputation from the shame she caused them.
  11. You should be forced to wear a hijab and cover your entire body so as to not lure men. Religion said so.
  12. No man will marry an independent, stubborn, out-spoken, successful woman. Don’t be like that, tsk tsk tsk.
  13. Learn to love double standards.
  14. Your life and your body are under the control of your father, your brother or your husband, never your own!
  15. It’s perfectly normal to marry some man you’ve never met before because his mom liked the way you looked at your cousin’s wedding.
  16. You haven’t really accomplished anything unless you’ve gotten married.
  17. You’re expected to bleed on your wedding night; otherwise you’re definitely not a virgin and should be shot to cleanse the family name!
  18. You need to get married, you need to get married, you need to get married, you need to- you need to!
  19. You will be fat-shamed by both men & women. Better watch those calories!
  20. You’re expected to be in a constant competition with other women!
  21. That’s too short! This is too tight! Oh my god, that’s too revealing!
  22. If you marry someone from a different nationally, you’ll have no right to pass on your citizenship to your children, whom you’ve carried for nine months. Accept the fact that you’re a second-class citizen.
  23. You’re expected to produce male children. It’s your ultimate goal in life.
  24. He is entitled to marry four women. Religion said so.
  25. Remember, it is you who tempted him to rape you, it is you who provoked him enough to hit you; it’s always your fault.
  26. There is no such thing as rape in the setting of marriage.
  27. Your paycheck, if he’s kind enough to let you work, is his. Hand it over at the end of every month with a kiss on his cheek.
  28. He hits you because he loves you. And let’s not deny the fact that you were asking for it.
  29. Honor killings are an acceptable solution. Marrying your rapist is another acceptable solution.
  30. Your “reputation” is everything.
  31. What you lack in looks, you better make up for in the kitchen!
  32. “هم البنات حتى الممات”. Know this. Memorize this. Laminate this. Teach it to your children. Repeat it regularly.

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  1. I hope you don’t mean to depict all women’s situations in the Middle East. As far as I know, there is no such thing as ONE situation.
    Conservatism and liberalism usually blend, but i agree that most laws are unfair and that in most countries women are second class citizens.

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