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21 May, 2006

A sorry sisterhood

"It seriously ruined my whole day, it was so depressing to me."

WestMeetsEast's reaction after attending a seminar titled: "What Drives Arab Women?" It identified five categories of women. One type was women who see themselves as equal to men, and were likely to be educated and active in the workforce. Three more types were women that were "happily subservient" and saw their role in life as home and family based.

But it was the fifth category that saddened WestMeetEast:

"This type suffers from extreme internal conflict. She sees the independence and freedom that expat Western women enjoy – and it makes her jealous, insecure, and spiteful even. In her frustration she wants to feel that her life is superior to those women, so she spends lavishly and shows off mightily. She drives a Mercedes (in the UAE at least where women are allowed to drive), puts diamonds on her fingers, her purse and even her cell phone. She brags openly about her riches. At home, her frustration and inability to stand up to her husband manifests into masterful manipulation. In lieu of being equal in her husband’s eyes, she “beats” him by conning him into spending more money on her. Thus, she feels some modicum of power and control. Her biggest fear in life is feeling invisible."

According to WestMeetsEast, most of the women in this category were UAE nationals. "It's a uniquely UAE thing - not Saudi or Qatar or Bahrain. They see us, they see that we are allowed to be bold, independent, whatever. While they want that, they hate us for it because they can't have it. They're not strong enough to stand up to the powers that be, the men in their lives. What do these women have over us? Money. If money is the only thing they have over us then yes, flash me your diamonds, it's the only way they can show strength."

Even more sadly, category five has become the face of UAE womanhood in the perceptions of many expats. Businesswomen are busy in their offices and homemakers are busy at home. It's category fives that roam conspicuously around the shopping malls, diamond-encrusted mobile phones and Paris Gallery bags in manicured hands. They give outsiders the impression that all emiratis drip wealth and luxury, but this is far from the reality.



Blogger qadi said...

UAE-thing? Try the new york metropolitan area.

21 May, 2006 19:04  
Blogger Emirati said...

Try Orange County or Beverley Hills.

21 May, 2006 20:22  
Blogger Cokey said...

Ah now I need to be more 'political' rather than abusive in my comments. Great.

Type 5 category rocks in bed! Btw they do sleep around in order to get revenge.

21 May, 2006 21:21  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The description of "Cat 5 women" is universal - and it's not just women, add the mean as well. The ostentatious display of wealth affects every man and woman in every part of the world because they are so insecure of themselves.

21 May, 2006 22:14  
Blogger LazyOwl said...

Agreed.But others dont wear "Abaya".Hope you get my point.

For those who dont get it, rules are simple.
Practice what you preach.
Respect others,so you will be respected.
Be open minded, don't think your's is the best.

21 May, 2006 22:30  
Blogger bandicoot said...

I would like to learn more about the seminar and the survey before I pass definitive judgment (I posted on LizzieD’s and asked for more information.). But until then, since when did driving a Mercedes, bragging about one’s wealth, going on shopping sprees, and wearing flashy diamonds in public have become so uniquely the stuff of Arab women? I think that being spiteful, shallow, showy, self-indulgent, inferiority-ridden and whorish are universal codes of conduct. The description of local women from the “fifth category” sounds more like a passage from a cheap novel than the conclusions of a serious survey.

22 May, 2006 02:50  
Blogger hdastoor said...

Having lived and worked in the UAE where i had to deal with UAE women on a personal basis, i can say these remarks are completely true. These women are totally dominated by their men, they are fully aware of their husbands cheating habits and these women turn to their drivers , gardners for emotional, physical satisfaction . The higher the social strata of these women the more pervasive is this culture.

22 May, 2006 08:30  
Blogger bandicoot said...

So you had this figured out like a science! You deal with UAE women on personal basis and these dealings must be frequent and deep enough to unlock so many of the private lives of these women that you can codify their behavior and then have it all analyzed in terms of social strata and culture? Well, I don't know about that! I'm not underestimating your personal experiences, but I hope you see my point here. I won't ask you for numbers, facts, and evidence to support your theory, but even if it's all true, what's the point really? Again, isn't this universal, or at least can be expected to exist in other societies? Or are you saying this stuff happens only in the UAE?

22 May, 2006 10:30  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Puhlease!! one can compete with a spoiled Southern Cali bimbo, not even a Jumeirah Jane, and if money is the deciding factor, then just pay a visit to Westwood, not only are they rich, loud and obnoxious they are also older than the average Emarati woman strolling down Emirates Mall, looks like they Emarati ladies know when to stop.

22 May, 2006 11:57  
Blogger John B. Chilton said...

"According to EastMeetsWest"? (Typo)

23 May, 2006 05:12  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well it might be a good idea for EastMeetsWest to visit the smaller towns in the countryside. Where they dont have diamond encrusted cellphones. (BTW if the said phones have better reception, I want one).

It is true that these (about 99% of them) women have no say over their destiny. Maybe they should live by the immortal words of 'earthbound misfit' and suck it up :)

For Cokey -> Please submit proof, pix and numbers so all of us can get in on the game ;)

23 May, 2006 19:20  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

talking to a Brit friend a while ago, I was surprised to hear that he had "had it" with Western women and only sought Easterners for companionship. This was echoed later by several Canadian and European friends... what's with all these guys? can anyone explain?

26 May, 2006 13:58  
Blogger inmotion said...

This isn't a UAE thing it's all around the globe .. one person comes up with a seminar and some formal post grad education and suddenly its scientific and irrefutable statistical evidence compiled over years of study and observation .. as if .. the more money your man has the more likely he is to stray .. once in a while .. or maybe more .. and the more you spend of his money the more you want to spend of it and the more you get used to it and the more you refuse to give up the lifestyle .. if law's here permitted that the woman got half as it did in california .. divorce rates would be much higher I think .. then again what do I know .. If you ask me its her fault .. she accepted it and decided to do nothing about it ..

28 May, 2006 23:29  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"These women are totally dominated by their men, they are fully aware of their husbands cheating habits and these women turn to their drivers , gardners for emotional, physical satisfaction ."

I guess someone has been watching too much Desperate Housewives lately. lol

~A Pakistani-American who stumbled upon this blog...

P.S. I am not sure if ya'll get it in Dubai.

29 May, 2006 18:14  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

That's not an UAE thing! I think that's what most women with rich husbands do... everywhere! In my home country (Puerto Rico) that was certianly the case ... and now I'm in New York and it's the same thing... just amplified.

Apparently you either get your own money or obey your husband.

29 May, 2006 20:20  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This category 5 you mentioned I found extremely well and concisely charted out. I have seen something similar with Iranian women. Most notably the younger generation, that gets "prepped" up to marry richly. It is unclear what after the marriage, for they are not really thought how to handle anything beyond their clothes and looks. And yes, utter manipulaton as the only way of communication is an overwhelming practice. Monetary value of one is so overrated there, that men lie about their wealth (well, I guess up until the wedding that is) as a manner of attracting potential brides or achieving social standing. Divorce rates are ridiculously high. But as you can imagine a divorce does not give a person, groomed to just shop and sit as a doll, a meaning in life. So, my guess is that even if UAE women can break free from whatever confinement they find in their marriages, this will not teach them modesty, virtues or will make them pursue some venues for personal growth...

30 May, 2006 22:43  

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