Column: Doing research leads to less ignorance

Molly Dotson, Assistant Photo Editor

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On a typical school night students will likely be studying or finishing homework, but as per usual I was at home procrastinating–looking up useless information on the Internet.

While observing an array of popular websites, I noticed a rather bold political cartoon: one that showed a Muslim woman, complete with a burqa and an American woman in a tube top and extremely short shorts standing next to her.

They each had a thought bubble with the same sentence inside of them — “Look at how men run their country…”

This inspired me to research the roles of women in Middle Eastern culture, and further caused the realizations that there are many misunderstandings between the people of these two regions as well as the fact that females of both locations are not as different as many would like to think.

For example, political, domestic and social elements in these two locations are viewed as opposites, but in reality they are quite similar matters.

Understanding these similarities is important for people who do not like to sound ignorant in their everyday speech. Therefore, in the following paragraphs I am going to describe some of the ways in which America and the Middle East are alike in their views on women.

Although some Americans believe men and cultural customs own women in the Middle Eastern region, women in the U.S. are products of the same paradigm.

Since the early development of humans, women seem to have been placed in a position unequal to men.

One of the ways this is exemplified is through politics. Just a century ago, the majority of

American women did not have the right to partake in national elections.

However, the U.S. remedied this unfair treatment by granting universal voting rights with the 19th Amendment.

Recently, females in more parts of the Middle East are able to vote and even be elected into office as well. Uninformed United States citizens would often regard this information as false because they do not recognize the rapid developments in the Middle East.

Another considerable factor relating to the commonality of the women in both places pertains to domestic matters.

The traditional customs of women keeping the home in order while the husband works for money is still a common routine.

Even though many American women hold jobs outside of the home, they are still held responsible for housework and childcare. These household tasks are also responsibilities of Middle Eastern women.

Not only is the woman expected to tend to household duties, but also she is expected to abide by the social norms. Indeed, women are judged differently than men in sexual situations.

For example, a woman with multiple sexual partners is thought of negatively whereas a man can engage in this behavior with little to no judgment being passed.

Likewise, marriage, a fundamental practice in both the U.S. and Middle Eastern countries, entails many features of the hapless disposition of women in both regions.

In select Islamic nations, it is lawful for men to practice polygamy. They may also partake in temporary marriages, where a man pays a woman to remain with her for as long as his fee lasts. Women activists in these areas have condemned this practice as “legalized prostitution.”

It is common knowledge that in the United States, polygamy and prostitution are certainly not of a higher value. In fact, the two customs disgust many.

Yet one must still keep in mind that many Americans have “values” of their own. In other words, prostitution still takes place in the U.S. regardless of legality.

For more information, I suggest you do your own research and form your own conclusions like myself.

Molly Dotson is a junior journalism major. She can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected].