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Pool party at Saleh's
June 8, 2011 5:09 AM   Subscribe

"We have a saying in Yemen. Girls who are very lovely get married. Girls who are not so lovely finish school." Lauren Goulding meets the president of Yemen.

Her blog, with a rendition of their first meeting.
posted by mahershalal (29 comments total) 12 users marked this as a favorite

 
Huh. Weird story. May the tyrants of the Arab world each give us one more good blog post then take a long walk off a short pier.
posted by Salvor Hardin at 5:43 AM on June 8, 2011


Charming. They say much the same thing at universities - especially in sororities - all over the United States as well.
posted by perilous at 5:45 AM on June 8, 2011 [1 favorite]


Actually, in US universities they refer to the "Mrs degree".
posted by DU at 5:58 AM on June 8, 2011 [1 favorite]


The Mrs degree refers to women who go to college specifically to find a husband. Maybe this was more prevalent in past times; I've known a few people like that but it doesn't seem common.
posted by orrnyereg at 6:00 AM on June 8, 2011


[finished school]
posted by orange swan at 6:03 AM on June 8, 2011 [2 favorites]


You know more women than men are finishing college in the US these days?

Can the MR. degree be far behind?
posted by fourcheesemac at 6:06 AM on June 8, 2011 [1 favorite]


Is this post about Saleh, about Yemen, about the author of the blog, or about how women are perceived and treated in Yemen? Because if it's the latter, I gotta say, a quote like that would be tame coming out of Berlusconi's mouth, let alone a dictator of a Muslim country. I wonder if Saleh was ever invited to the Bunga Bunga parties.
posted by (Arsenio) Hall and (Warren) Oates at 6:08 AM on June 8, 2011 [2 favorites]


And there is another saying, where they say that a horse is like man.

You see, when a horse is sad, it is like if man... is sad.
And if horse is... happy? It is like if man... is happy.
posted by unigolyn at 6:21 AM on June 8, 2011 [7 favorites]


There aren't nearly soo many people placing such value upon marriage in western cultures now, and I'm unsure men ever valued marriage soo highly, fourcheesemac. Your male version might therefore be called "Hookup Studies".
posted by jeffburdges at 6:23 AM on June 8, 2011 [1 favorite]


You know more women than men are finishing college in the US these days?

More women finish college in much of the oil-producing Middle East as well. (e.g.)
posted by Nomyte at 6:30 AM on June 8, 2011


I went for college looking for a MR degree, but only because I'm lazy and think I would make an excellent trophy husband.

Sadly, all I got was a BA in Math and a girlfriend in the nonprofit sector.
posted by Aizkolari at 6:47 AM on June 8, 2011 [3 favorites]


They say much the same thing at universities - especially in sororities - all over the United States as well.
Speaking as someone who, I can almost guarantee it, knows more women who are currently in college and sororities than you do? No, they really don't.
posted by craichead at 6:49 AM on June 8, 2011 [3 favorites]


So what do girls who are smart AND pretty do?
posted by Panjandrum at 7:13 AM on June 8, 2011


So what do girls who are smart AND pretty do?

Pretty much whatever they want.
posted by greta simone at 7:25 AM on June 8, 2011 [13 favorites]


Didn't that Tosh.0 guy also recently say something like this? There's nothing particularly uniquely Arab about the sentiment.
posted by Horselover Phattie at 7:33 AM on June 8, 2011




So what do girls who are smart AND pretty do?


Men find them intimidating so they settle for cats.
posted by MXJ1983 at 7:37 AM on June 8, 2011 [20 favorites]


Anyway, Saleh has more urgent matters to worry about now.
posted by Horselover Phattie at 7:38 AM on June 8, 2011


I dunno, there's a part in Tina Fey's book where she comments that it used to be that you either had a good body, or didn't. If you had a good body, you got married, and if you didn't, you chilled out and learned a trade. This is compared to today, when all women are expected to work constantly to improve their attractiveness, even - especially - the professional women.

Dunno how much truth there is to this, but her version of reality did sound kinda appealing. Then again, I'm gay, so "not obsessing about attractiveness (to men), not getting married, and learning a trade" sounds like a pretty good deal to me. Though the "trade" would probably have been something with a low ceiling, so that's not so appealing.
posted by subdee at 7:39 AM on June 8, 2011


This is compared to today, when all women are expected to work constantly to improve their attractiveness, even - especially - the professional women.

As well as work constantly.
posted by Melismata at 7:42 AM on June 8, 2011 [5 favorites]


More women finish college in much of the oil-producing Middle East as well.

Last year UAE university (one of the few PhD granting institutions in the GCC) had 406 male graduates, and 1558 female graduates. Women outnumbered men in every faculty except Law, where women were barely behind at 18/24. In Science and IT, women outnumbered men by more than a factor of 20 (64 female to 3 male students). In engineering, men came close and managed to close the gap to about 60% of female enrollment.

Other universities in the UAE and across the GCC follow similar patterns.
posted by atrazine at 7:42 AM on June 8, 2011


I don't know why anyone is upset he said this. He has just expressed succinctly, almost poetically, exactly why physical beauty is a curse.
posted by JHarris at 7:51 AM on June 8, 2011 [2 favorites]


Well, as long as we're trafficking in demeaning stereotypes, Mr. President... how do you tell the difference between the lovely girls and the plain ones? Do you just have to take their word for it?
posted by Naberius at 7:54 AM on June 8, 2011


Her story reads like a bad cross between Camus and Pynchon.. And I don't feel like I learned anything by reading it..
posted by k5.user at 8:10 AM on June 8, 2011


Well, as long as we're trafficking in demeaning stereotypes, Mr. President... how do you tell the difference between the lovely girls and the plain ones? Do you just have to take their word for it?

No, you take their MOTHER'S word for it. DUH.
posted by spicynuts at 8:13 AM on June 8, 2011


[Take it down a notch or go do something else, please.]
posted by cortex at 8:58 AM on June 8, 2011


As the president laughed at me, I wondered whether he had understood my challenge. Had anyone ever bothered to explain the rules -- did he even know that he was cheating? Perhaps he was just amused by the white-girl-who-speaks-Arabic novelty, or did not mind being called out in a private setting by a young woman with no influence or standing.

Pardon me, I think you've got something on your shoulder.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 9:04 AM on June 8, 2011


um, since she decided to finish school and junk, and she had a notebook with her, and is apparently some sort of journalist, why didn't she y'know, bother to ask the PRESIDENT OF YEMEN some questions about, y'know, politics and stuff?
posted by sexyrobot at 9:24 AM on June 8, 2011 [3 favorites]


and I'm unsure men ever valued marriage soo highly

That's because they were not doing it right.
posted by three blind mice at 12:43 PM on June 8, 2011 [1 favorite]


Oh I don't know sexyrobot, maybe it was because she suddenly realized that she hadn't been invited as a journalist, but perhaps as some kind of commodity the PRESIDENT OF YEMEN seemed to be hinting he would like to "introduce" to some buddy of his. I suppose it was to his credit that he didn't push it when she didn't express any interest. Perhaps she was afraid for her safety.
posted by Belle O'Cosity at 8:18 PM on June 8, 2011


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