Since apparently all of us over the ripe age of 20 walk around with visible and obnoxiously loud ticking analog biological clocks, it’s no surprise that the issue of marriage is constantly smacked into our faces as though it is the sole defining moment and relationship of our lives. Marriage for Muslim women, whatever shade of practice, belief and color they come in, is a big deal. It may not be a big deal for a particular Muslim woman, perhaps, but those around her still tend to make it into a pretty big deal. Either she’s too single or too married. Or not married enough. Or single in the wrong way. Or married the wrong way. Or thinking about getting married the wrong way. Or having non-marital relationships. Or just not interested in ever getting married. Maybe she’s too picky. Too educated. Too hijabed. Too naked. Too fat. Too flat. Too ambitious. Too cultural.
While the constant barrage of marital inquisitions leaves much to be desired, there is a serious conversation to be had here. Many concerns, even if audaciously framed, are legitimate in a time where it seems young Muslim women in the West are having an increasingly hard time finding a marriage partner, and even staying with him (the context of these discussions being firmly heteronormative). The reasons for this social problem are plentiful and resemble issues in other minority groups, such as the Black communities in these societies. Professional and financially stable Black women find it difficult to meet Black men on their level (and willing to date them). Professional and financially stable Muslim women do too – amongst other reasons. Yet while we’re just having the same conversations diagnosing “the problem,” we seem to be doing very little and talking very little about actual solutions. In other words – okay, so we know that due to issues of education, age, culture, race, back-home-nostalgia and hyperconsumer marital expectations (and then some), Muslim women are staying single longer, but what the heck are we doing about it? [Read more...]