It may surprise those who view Arab society as traditional and conservative that many Arab Muslim men are supportive of women’s rights. Marcia Inhorn, a Yale professor of anthropology, interviewed more than 300 men from 14 Arab nations – and reports in Slate that many men seek love and companionship in marriage and education and equality for their daughters. “The hundreds of professions of love that I have recorded over the years – not only on the part of men, but from women speaking about their husbands – point to the deep marital and familial bonds that are part of Middle Eastern social life,” she writes. Inhorn describes a culture that emphasizes romance, commitment and companionship – which may have become more pronounced since the Arab Spring. While Islam allows more than one wife, two Arab countries have outlawed the practice and demographers estimate that less than 5 percent of marriages in the region are polygamous. She concludes that many men protesting in the streets support women’s rights. – YaleGlobal
“I Am With the Uprising of Arab Women”
Marcia C. Inhorn is the William K. Lanman Jr., Professor of Anthropology and International Affairs and the Whitney and Betty MacMillan Center for International and Area Studies at Yale University. She is the current and founding editor of the Journal of Middle East Women’s Studies.