"[It] is obvious to me that the submission we have to Allah [God as a Muslim] is of the highest order and that we cannot possibly submit to a human being in this fashion. ... [When it comes to Islam and allowing the husband to be head of the family] I think it just means that you should trust your husband enough to trust his decisions for the family.
This trust can be violated when control is exerted in means which are detrimental or in situations in which it is not warranted. The man has to illustrate that he is capable of handling the responsibility of these decisions in order to be trusted.
Where do you draw the line between protector and maintainer to abuser?
Is your husband allowed to bar you from traveling?
From leaving the house?
From wearing a certain outfit?
From speaking to other people?
From eating certain things?
From exercising? [or to exercise when you don't want to]
When does “this is good for you” become “I control you” or “I own you”?
I thought that basically sums it up for Omani women as well as Saudi women.
Talking about where these restrictions come from, and us saying as Muslim women, the restrictions only supposedly come from Islam, but are usually from culture, where do the restrictions/forbidden things take root at?
I would say tribe and family. Occasionally, society as a whole, but rarely is it that for Omani women. Usually, it is the family and tribe or region (which is why we all escape to Muscat). From family, education, exposure, travel, and independence over communal thinking are the things that determine the freedom of a woman from within the tragic net of her family and tribal obligations/restrictions.
Even in Muscat, family can be a restrictive scourge. A woman isn't allowed to work, or have a phone, or have the right to free movement, because her father or husband decided that was "the best thing for her".
I allow my husband to say when and how I can travel because his decisions are truly protective of myself. And I have the choice to disobey him. I have free movement. If he locks me in a room against what is best for me or without a cause I'd agree with;) he'd better know I'd burn it down and myself with it before I'd be locked for life, that's just how I am.
I tell my husband where I am going before I leave the house. But I expect him to do the same for me. Wanna know where I am 24/7? You better be as transparent honey.
My husband doesn't always like my makeup or my clothes. His decision matters. It doesn't control me but 90% of the time I let it guide me. The other 10% of the time, I think he's being overly jealous and is wrong so I ignore him. But 90% of the time he's right. I love red lipstick afterall.
From speaking? Oh definately my Omani husband controls that. The volume at which I speak, what I speak publically about, is guided by regionally and tribally acceptable dictates (which is why I blog). I let this slide. It is beyond annoying as hell but if he went to my country he'd have to put up with the opposite so I can concede. This is for the best (or the easiest way) through life here. It is boring, but it's Oman. It's the safest thing, not the bravest, or the truest.
From speaking to other people? Not really. Men who try to isolate their women have something deeply psychologically wrong with them [ http://pomegranatebitter.blogspot.com/2014/06/a-womans-wisdom-commentary.html ]. They focus what is wrong internally with them by blaming the women in their life and other people around them. They are, in fact, insecure losers. There is no other more suited term for them. Their insecurity and failings are supposedly hidden under a guise of paternalistic all-seeing wisdom.
From eating certain things?---My Omani husband is annoyed I am so picky but he is kind about it---but I remember my sometimes emotionally manipulative Saudi ex-husband threatening to divorce me if I did not eat seafood (which I had to swallow with milk like a pill because I am semi-allergic to fish). Why in hell did I allow myself ever to be so degraded so have someone control what I put into my own body? I have to wonder. I truly believe that 80% of the time women allow themselves to be suppressed. The other 20% is having no support structure (physically, logistically, and legally) to escape suppression.
From exercising---I suppose. Even in Islam it is halal to swim to run etc... women in these Gulf states don't regularility do these things. I can, but I have to be strong about it. My husband supports the idea but the cultural him frowns upon it, like he's at war with himself. As a compromise, I skate, I don't bike (like
I agree with Yankee Doodle Saudi, that there is a very fine line between being controlled emotionally and physically/intellectually suppressed, and being provided for/protected if these things are not in one's best interest (TRULY---not culturally or familialy or misogynistically).
Not everything a woman allows to be done to herself is ok (for example, me swallowing shrimp). But there is little chance of changing anything for this type of woman until she realizes and changes herself and what's around her. Once she's made the move to change what's around her, that's where a support system kicks in, and sadly, as much as I love this country, I have to face it, for Omani women, beyond family, and tribe, legally, despite government law, none really exists.
Women Working in Oman: Individual Choice and Cultural Constraints by Dawn Chatty
International Journal of Middle East Studies, Volume 32, Issue02, May 2000, pp 241-254
Cross-Cultural Features of Women's Place in Society by Unni Wikan
Article Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/29789029