Can You Imagine Wanting This?

I recently finished Kabul Beauty School. It’s a great piece of non-fiction about a feisty American woman who takes on Afghanistan and makes it meet her on her own terms.

A central theme of the book is women’s issues in Afghanistan, and a central aspect of that is marriage. And how do most Afghani women feel about marriage? They are not enthusiastic. Basically, there are two reasons why they might want to get married:

1 – to avoid a forced union with a Talib

2 – because maybe the husband will be less oppressive than the father or brother selling them off to him.

Otherwise, they’re pretty much going into a union where they’re perceived as foot-massaging, tea-serving, baby-making machines. Electric appliances, really, because when they don’t work right, the first remedy tried is a kick in the side. No shock, then, that they approach marriage with a reluctant resignation.

Anyway, I was thinking about how different our outlook on marriage is. Here is a whole online community of us dedicated to the pursuit of marriage and commiserating about not achieving that happy state.  Us womenfolk are really lucky that we live in the right country in the right era. We can cheerfully look forward to a marriage of equals where we have the full legal and social right to keep our husbands in their places. Assuming we can find one. That’s one advantage to the Afghani method – only the very worst specimens can’t find a man willing to abuse them.

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10 thoughts on “Can You Imagine Wanting This?

  1. Very true post- on all accounts. I think also, we might be blessed being Jewish (possibly, dare I say, religious), and having all the ideas that go into a Jewish marriage involved in the decision making process. It’s truly special to see (and be in) a working Jewish marriage.

  2. “Like”!

    But “we have the full legal and social right to keep our husbands in their places” sounds somewhat derogatory to men (the kind of men you seek to marry have no need to be “kept in their places”)…

  3. a marriage of equals where we have the full legal and social right to keep our husbands in their places – I didn’t order any irony with my lunch.

  4. Today in the NY Times was an article how older American men (usually on pensions) marry Thai women and remain in Thailand (where living costs are low) as they like these young women who haven’t yet discovered that women are equal to men. The women are happy enough with the financial security. Except the guys don’t realize that they also have to support the wife’s family. Joke’s on you.

  5. After reading that book, what I didn’t get was why the author herself ended up marrying an Afghani man (who already had a first wife and at least one child, IIRC)!

  6. She didn’t want to break her pattern of messed up marriages?
    Lea – the author’s Afghani husband complained that one American wife is more trouble than a dozen Afghani wives. He’d ask her for tea and she’d ask if he’d broken an ankle. That’s not my idea of keeping a husband in his place. Everyone knows a husband’s place is in a big comfy armchair being served hand and foot. 😉

  7. Right attitude Bad4! ;p if you advertised that as your attitude to marriage guys would line up around the block to ask for your hand, no dating required

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