As an Arab woman and a few years over the age of 25, I get the questions “shouldn’t you be married right now”, “why are you not married”, “Do your parents try to force you into marriage”, “Must be hard for you to be who you want to be”.
I think that the previous generations and the culture created an image of a woman that has by far changed over the last decades.
First of all, I do not think that marriage is a priority in my life. I love my life the way it is now, I have great career opportunities, I am an adventurous type of woman and I do not feel less Arab because I do not have a ring on my finger. Unfortunately, the society has not seen all the great Arab women out there that are actually doing great things.
Yes, my parents are Muslim, yes they are very into our Iraqi cultural, yes of course they would be happy if I found my perfect husband and yes they have many rules that I had to live by. But it doesn’t mean that they will never stand behind me when they see that my happiness is not quit similar to what they had in mind for me.
I moved to Australia, and they were not very happy about it, yet I am here and they are very proud of me.
I ran marathons that were in other countries and I traveled alone, yet they did let me go and I know they always thought that I might not make it. They still supported me.
I am not married yet, and they wish I was with someone right now, yet they are still happy that I am enjoying my life with or without a partner. And although they keep asking if I met someone, they will never force me into marriage.
My parents think that education is very important, they think exercising is absolutely a must in someones’ life. My mom always told me to never let a man raise his hands or voice towards me. My dad always treated me with lots of care and love, and he listened and gave me advise whenever I felt upset.
Yes, I was born in Baghdad and I come from an Islamic family. And I live my life the way I wish to, because I believe that Arab women are capable of doing great things in this world. And I can already see the evidence in my life.