it's funny cuz it's true...?

Apparently, there’s a whole range of animated sketches about Jordanians (and Arabs in general) up on Youtube. Now, I’m not saying they’re not humorous at all—a lot of people think they’re absolutely hilarious, and I have cracked a smile or two at some parts. But what’s unsettling is why they’re funny. It’s because a lot of the videos accurately depict the attitudes and situations going on around here, and ring true to the viewer. But that’s the thing. I think that because these attitudes actually do exist, we shouldn’t be laughing.

Exhibit A: 

This video starts with a young man phoning home from the US. He tells his mother (in a very exaggerated injection of the American accent into the Arabic language) that he will soon be returning to his hometown, and that he wants to find “the other half” of his religion. Hence, being sick of the so-called promiscuity he’s noticing in Western girls, he wants his mother to find a bride for him: a religious girl who speaks to no other males besides her siblings, and one who will not leave the house without wearing clothing that will show nothing but her eyes. The mother responds in a rather kickass way, but one that still represents an irksome mind-set. “Son, you say you want to get married and settle down to find the other half of your religion, right? But have you got the first half to start with?”

Right. So the video transitions with the young man and his mother sitting in the living room of the bride-to-be, who is saying, “I hate girls being around boys. I didn’t want to go to university because it was mixed. But my dad made me go. My dad’s the only man in my life.” The guy is thrilled.

At the wedding, the guy is saying, “Thank god for giving me a wife like this. She’s as innocent as a cat.” He’s interrupted, though, by another man offering congratulations to the bride, and making a comment about furnished apartments. Another guy comes up with two bottles of champagne, “perhaps to relive the old days”. A third one, presumably aiming to give the bride some money in celebration of her wedding says, “I’m not used to handing you money like this. Back in the day, I just threw it at you while you danced, huh?”

The guy of course, is shocked.

This is sad. People here are still of the mentality that a guy without half his morals can expect to marry a devout girl who’s never spoken to a guy before (not that that pertains to morals, anyway). That a guy can go out and live his life because, hey, he’s a guy—no pressure, but a girl who’s been out and about is harder to sell. And let’s say you’re a bit of an optimist, like me, and want to take this video simply as a satire. The responses to it are just as disquieting—most of them are siding with the poor guy, who has to marry a “bad” girl. A couple said that the guy got what he deserved for being unrealistic and hypocritical.

People have told me I need to lighten up and get a sense of humor. But if this is passing for humor, I don’t really want one anymore.

Am I the only one who fails to see the funny side of this?

More articles by Category: Feminism, International, Media
More articles by Tag: Activism and advocacy, Social media, Middle East and North Africa



Helen H
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