Successful women and Middle Eastern mentalities


Saudi female activist standing for her right to drive a car.

A recent American study was conducted in a number of universities across the states, including Buffalo University and University of Texas, on whether men accept “superior women” or not.

The study’s main focus was to find out whether certain characteristics of women could affect their status in society and even possible relationships in the future with “inferior” men. The study used the help of over 100 men, and their attraction to certain women was tested before and after knowing she’s smarter on in any way superior to them, and how it would reflect on any possible relationships.

The results were quite surprising as men showed more interest in women who scored less in math and English tests, while losing all motivation to pursue women who showed excellency and overpowered them.

This concept is the seed of the upcoming discussion on KBS’ World Radio Arabic channel, as they tackle this issue on a Middle-Eastern and Arabic scale, seeing how women’s success translates into these more conservative societies. On the weekly show “Listeners’ Letters”,Youssry Sawaby, the host of the show, asked Arab listeners to share their stories related to this issue.

The replies varied greatly but despite being from different regions, almost all men and women agreed on almost the same answer each. Women declared that men are certainly attracted to smarter and superior women, but when it comes to long-lasting relationships or marriage they’d definitely consider a less-smarter partner who wouldn’t challenge them. While men said that they’d appreciate a smart woman but if she starts challenging him or “making him feel less manly” they’d definitely lose interest in her.

Shaimaa from Palestine said that men accept women’s success and achievements but once they’re in a serious relationship, their jealousy and inferiority complexes get in the way, forcing women to let go of their ambitions if they still want a life with them. Other women like Arwa from Tunisia and Sirine from Algeria stated that a smart women is a profit for society in general and men especially even if they don’t realize that, while Alaa from Egypt confirms that men look up to successful women but when it comes to marriage they’d should someone who’s inferior to them, to be able to show off their skills.

Benameur from Algeria had a response that’s shared by the majority of men, as he said that smart women are dangerous to their men, as according to him, she could insult him, embarrass him, and try to take control over their shared life, trying to overshadow him, “A women should act according to her husband/partner’s instructions. Mostafa Mohammed, from Egypt, had the same opinion, as he said that if her superiority start to leave its effect on the way he runs their life, then her presence is no longer welcome.

Superior women have started to prove themselves in Middle-Eastern societies, where a couple of years ago it was unheard of women to have done what women nowadays managed to accomplish. But most mentalities in these Arab societies have yet to change to accept that.

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