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Saturday, December 16, 2006

A WOMAN WITHOUT HER MAN IS NOTHING

I wanted to put on a gown of rose petals and share with you pink dreams on scented paper; but instead of the sweet Valentine’s Day feature I had in mind, I was driven by painful anger to defend women from the blows of Dr. Nick Neave who dropped a bomb in my backyard when he announced that “women in the 21st century may boast that they are truly independent for the first time in our social history. They may tell themselves and each other that they don't need a man. They can even start a family on their own thanks to IVF techniques. But, while feminists may argue (that) this proves women have finally kicked off the shackles of dependence on men, I'm afraid they're wrong.” Walid Anwar, sales and marketing expert agrees saying that “women will always be women no matter what they achieve under the name of their so-called independence. Deep down inside each woman, she needs a man to lean on and support her. No woman wants to be totally a male figure - it is just against nature.”

The evolutionary psychologist is convinced that women “are programmed to worry their men are going to abandon them … women may be richer and enjoy all the trappings of success but, deep down in their psyche, they fear they can't survive alone … they fear a drop in status or social standing that might come with divorce … women are more inclined to forgive an affair than a man … not because they're nicer, more easygoing individuals. It's simply because their primeval urge to hang onto a male provider is so strong … the thought of your husband having sex with another woman may be devastating. But even worse is the prospect of him pouring all his financial resources her way.” Tamer El Meehy, managing director of Entrust: Development & Management Consultants acknowledges the existence “of a deeply embedded sense of insecurity in women that is often reflected in a high level of possessiveness; many women are richer than their men, and are in fact providing for the family, but they still have the same insecurity.”

Reading the doctor’s words triggered my resentment for Walt Disney, who fed us many a time lies about a long awaited prince charming who fights the monsters to free the little helpless princess from evil spells. He promised living happily ever after yet overlooked the affairs, breakups, make-ups, struggles, boredom, and challenges that rock, or wreck, many boats. Hallmark is next on my hit list; because of their cute cards, creative gifts, and heart warming poetry, we have to celebrate Valentine’s Day and unlucky tomboys, like my humble self, never get to send or receive any of their product lines. It is as though being brought up, and living, in a conservative Middle Eastern society is not enough to get us, Arab ladies, into frequent intellectual fist fights with cavemen who come our way, the good doctor had to add fuel to our living hell with his conclusions.

On the one hand, Rania Hegazy, TV producer wonders if “earth will be a better place to live on were there no men.” On the other hand, the relationship between men and women in our society reminds Nancy El Maghrabi, managing director of Markstri of “the Cold War between the USA and the Soviet Union, at the time. It is an eternal power struggle.” Moreover, Shahinaz Ahmed, education/training specialist sees the male-female communication process as “a series of catastrophic collisions of ill-defined needs that we like to believe are the same.” And Dalia El Rashidy, partner at Logic Management Consulting says that our women are trapped with their men in a “mother-child relationship where the mother has to be understanding and accommodating all the time without the child ever trying to reciprocate. The sad truth is: this particular child never grows up.”

The article goes on: “In prehistoric times, women … needed the support and protection of men who didn't just have brute force but also had social status in the group, either through their sheer physicality or the strength of their personality … modern surveys consistently show that women today ape those inherent characteristics by looking for partners who are socially dominant and have the respect of their peers.” Did I get this right? Did the evolutionist refer to women as limp creepy social parasites who need to climb up a strong male trunk and suck the living sap out of him to survive? Will we wither and die if we are separated from our socially acceptable host? In short, we prefer being tied to a stake and stoned to death to getting out of a bad relationship, or marriage. Khaled El Dessouky, business development manager for Hitachi Egypt disagrees with Dr. Neave; “I tend to think that men and women are equally, yet differently strong. Their bonding becomes a win-win game only when they master their strengths; for example, when men throw the power card, women should use their tenderness weapon.”

Dr. Neave shared with us another study by unnamed sociologists at Virginia University: “women who worked were more dissatisfied with their husbands than those who stayed at home (and) a survey by the Skipton Building Society concluded that many women who are the main breadwinner hold it against their partner for contributing less to the household budget than they do … happiest of all were women whose husbands brought in at least two-thirds of the household income … in short I suspect women will never feel truly comfortable earning more than their men. The need to rely on a man is driven by such a deep-seated biological urge.” How bad could this article get? I am used to Middle Eastern men wanting to turn back time using religion or pleading protectiveness, but Dr. Neave threw the ball high up and it fell on the grounds of our biology – who could argue against that?!

“Women need to look up to their man and independent women who have an established career need a man who delivers an added value. Compatibility has a final say when it comes to who is putting how much where and for how long,” refuted Amany Souka, managing director of El Wekala Advertising. “A male partner who earns less is prone to insecurity attacks and minority complexes that would drive him to having affairs to prove his masculine caveman strength.” she added. Hence, the women in the doctor’s research have developed a severe case of low self-esteem that could be traced back to a mentally and emotionally abusive partner – who earns less money. Dr. Rafik Nakhla, director of personnel at the library of Alexandria and business instructor at SAE focuses on the bigger picture saying: “men and women are not rivals; they are partners for life where the return on investment comes in the form of mentally and emotionally healthy children; the future of the children depends on the quality of the partnership.”

It all comes back to maturity; women who are dependent on men are like fungal infections whose symptoms are reddened teary eyes, blistered ego, itchy heart, and overall burning sensations, and men who are dependent on their women are pathetically, yet disgustingly, sick. Dr. Steven Covey divides maturity into three phases; “dependence is the paradigm of you - you take care of me; you come through for me; you didn't come through; I blame you for the results. Independence is the paradigm of I - I can do it; I am responsible; I am self-reliant; I can choose. Interdependence is the paradigm of we - we can do it; we can cooperate; we can combine our talents and abilities and create something greater together.” Monir El Shazly, strategy consultant and freelance photographer summed it up saying that “If their relationship will not make both of them better, it will make both of them a lot worse off.”

Instead of a male-bashing book, Daylle Deanna Schwartz’s All Men are jerks – Until Proven Otherwise helps us realize that we create the jerks that we later complain about by allowing them to get away with unacceptable behavior in an effort to please them – the kind of behavior that Dr. Neave applauded earlier on in his theory. Daylle believes that if we can get to a place where we can see a man as a sweet addition to our life, as opposed to a necessity, our relationship becomes a win/win situation: we win if we have a satisfying relationship with a man - we win if we have to leave a jerk because we have a satisfying life either way. Hesham El Zeini, recruitment consultant agrees and believes that balanced and successful relations are “a never ending process of strategic negotiation where enough space must be given for compromises.”

Before Dr. Nick Neave rested his case, he came up with a joke of a conclusion: “while women may claim they are having cosmetic surgery and Botox treatments purely to feel better about themselves, I believe the reason is much more complex. Women are driven by a primeval urge to keep their men by looking youthful and fertile.” Now I am beyond livid and totally speechless. A woman, without her, man is nothing!


“You should never look for someone to complete you.
A relationship consists of two whole individuals.
Look for someone complimentary...not supplementary.”
Oprah Winfrey

3 comments:

Rafik Nakhla said...

Hi Marwa
You seems very proliferative however it is not disney who fed us he only drew from Hans Christian Andersen's and other fairy tails.
Don't be harsh on him. he enlighted our childhood, I still love to see his movies with my children, at least they were not violent as the new japanese mangas. they promoted some positive values

Rafik Nakhla said...

we are on 29 december your last output dates back to 16 are you on holiday or are you suffereing from writer's block
Happy Bayram and happy new year

Marwa Rakha said...

Thank you for checking on me and on my blog:)

I met all my deadlines with the magazines that I write for so I am giving the writer a break.

I am now experimenting with TV:)

Marwa