Thursday, April 14, 2005


What does it mean when someone tells you, you are free?

I personally would take HUGE offence, especially when the person calling you is not more conservative, nor more pious than you.

I’ve been recently called that because I like going to parties (doesn’t matter where and what kind), & I swim in a bikini (the fact that I wear a skirt over it at all times doesn’t count).

I have been called ‘free’ once before by a very ‘sheltered’ cousin, and I took it lightly and with no offence, because yes, to her I am liberal.

But this person partys, drinks, is not pious, and has sexual relationships. But he has a penis, so does that allow him judge people?

I did not want to lose my temper, because I found the situation alarming and didn’t want raise a stink without stating my point, I told him ‘I pray and obey my teachings as much as I can, I don’t do the ‘kaba2er’ (big sins), and I like to go to parties where I can have fun (i.e. not sleazy parties), and when I’m having a good relationship with the gym and the scale, I like to wear a bikini (with a cute little beach skirt because I am shy to show what the skirt covers).

I find explaining this embarrassing, and insulting, but that’s what I did.

I thought this term was obsolete.

Dear it all goes back to double standards..."alrayal ma ye3eeba shay"

I suffer from the term "free" all the time...I don't see myself as so called "free" bel3akes I see myself as a person who lives life to the fullest.

Don’t be upset for being who you are…and as long as you are happy then the hell with everyone else!
Ask yourself, if what you are doing is wrong, if yes then stop, if no then continue doing it. It seems to me, and I am no Dr. Phil, that you have an issue with yourself when you should have an issue with your hypocritical friend. This isn’t a man vs. woman thing, its hypocrisy vs. self confidence and honesty. Are you confident with yourself? If the answer is yes, then do not defend but attack! Call him on his hypocrisy, don’t make it about you...but turn it into what it really is: his uneasiness with your life style. And that by itself signals that he has an issue with his. Moral of the story, by defending yourself you stand in agreement with him.
Jelly B,
Yes, definitely a double standard, bess il shakwa lil Allah. And ur right i cant change people but i can say 'tough'!

bu bader,
You are absolutely right. He's uneasy with my lifestyle. Actually he cannot comprehend it. Many people need the feel to categorize.

I think our problem as a society (& i think i've blogged about it, or talked about it many times) is that we have an identity crises.

Look at Kuwait in the 40s, 50s, 60s, 70s, 80s, 90s, & 2000s. Drastic change in society from year to year in everything: norms, clothing [from boshia (tradition) to mini skirt, to 7ejab (religious awakening)], language, stigma's, fundamentalism (70s), education, economics (2 major changes, 1 after oil, & 1 after 'manakh'), etc.
Well sorry but i didnt get it Sheba ?

do oyu belive that you are not liberal ? or you are frustated becouse of the word "free" ?

or is it just self conflict !!
while i support your right to wear or not to wear a bikini,... be careful! read this article about Ajman from the Gulf News a few days ago:
More than 50 men stood around watching two women who were sunbathing in bikinis at Ajman Open Beach on Friday.

read the rest here.

hilarious... i hope you haven't had this sort of trouble!
See I think with a person like that (and there are more of them, even if they say nothing) your explanation of your life style won’t change anything in his mind, not if you sit and try to convince him otherwise for hours.. don’t waste your time at such people.. they will still think you’re not worthy, and despite the act that they have a similar life style as yours (since they are hanging out at the same party), they’ll end up asking their mom to find ( el o66ah lem ghammadah) so to speak.. because they are just taking advantage of all the women that cross their lives for fun, and run to find the woman that has never been out of the house.. they are posers, they act like they are familiar with your life style, but they are so over whelmed from inside, and just try to score as much women and booze as possible.. Sheba, they will never understand..

The term free is used widely, and yes.. in this society, it’s another word for (Whore) and mostly men use it, some people use another expression “:she’s cool, don’t worry” ( that means she’ll give you some, so go for it) It is very offensive because they just sugar coated the word slut..

Unfortunately, these people judge, so there is no way of trying to change their judgment, oh and by the way, the same people, would not say such a thing on a western lady, because to them, it’s part of their life style to wear bikinis and hang out at gatherings, and don’t see them the same way they see you when you do that, they have no idea who you are or what life style you live, yet they think you’re FREE..

The word "Free" just like many other words such as liberal - mota7arrer are used as an insult in Kuwait. "free" to a large segment of the population means a slut and its only used to describe females ( shocking ).

Sadly its a price we all have to pay for not being part of their smelly herd of sheep. Its just idiotic to use the word "free" as an insult, which in any civilized part of the world means something of higher value than anything a Muslims/Arab/Kuwaiti mind can come up with.

Next time someone tells you that word, you tell him/her yes I'm proud to be free, to have free will, free thinking, and to live a bullshit-free life which others can only dream of.
well said bo jaij!

-(i forgot that "free" carries a negative connotation in kuwaiti culture. how sad)

sheba babe u don't have to explain yourself to anybody. NOBODY...
unless they:
1) pay ur billz
2) determine your grades/job status

gi6ee3a ma awa6in hypocritical takhaluf! wai3!!
As to your question of whether having a penis entitles him to judge women or not, the answer is :

ethically : no
realistically: yes

It is not just now, in the year 2005. This mentality is ingrained in the Kuwaiti/Gulf culture and is really a way for patriarchy to keep females in check.

So the male sheep can keep the female ewes safe within the confines of the herd while he can frolic to his heart's content.

It's no use to sound bitter about it because it really takes a lot of experience and broad-minded thinking plus solid self-esteem for a Kuwaiti male to accept anything else. It's not very easy to change the way we have been brought up to think, even on a subconscious level.
You can't wear a bikini IN PUBLIC for the simple reasons: religiously it's 7aram and traditionally it's 3aib. If you had your own private indoor swimming pool, however you could even go nude and nobody would have the right to stop you unless they file some sort of lawsuit and win. In short, avoiding these things is for your own good and if you don't want to listen.. you're free ;)
ill say it in song" your FREEE to do what u want to do u gotta live ur lifeeee!!! do what u want to do!!!" and i don't know the rest but its true those people wont change regardless of any explanations u give them so just go on being ur wonderful self :)
How sad that the word "FREE" is an insult here in Kuwait. It speaks volumes about our country and our people and the ingrained lack of respect for the concept of Freedom.

To be free - to these backward hordes - is to be released from the shackles that they have imposed on themselves in the false belief that it will get them a first class ticket to Heaven... so when they see someone who doesn't follow their example, they just can't handle it!

تباً لهم
Dear Sheba,

Why is it be free.

Yours Truly,

Free just means you're free to do whatever you want, without any forceful constraint from anyone else. In Kuwait that might mean no constraaint from religion and such.

I guess in my dictionary and that of many others free is a quantiative word.

You can be moderately free or majorly free. The only reason I would take insult is that this is coming from him, as in he's comparing you to be worse than him perhaps? Unless the bikni was worn in public and the party was mixed, with alcohol, and in some in messila or a farm in wafra, I wouldn't worry about the weight of the word. But if it was, then you will come across many that will call you more than just free. That's just how Kuwait operates.
If you are "FREE", what does that make him? A prisoner? A jailed convict?
I disagree with what everyone has been saying regarding Kuwaiti people's negative connotation for the word "free" as being an indication of them looking down on the concept of "freedom". First of all, english is not the country's native language, and what they mean by "free" is not what they mean when they think of "il-7urreya", or what they mean when they think of a person who is "7ur".

The word "free" is an english word, and it carry's with it some of the country's disapproval of the West and its "ways" and the people who opt to follow them, yes. But in no way, shape, or form do Kuwaities look down on freedom. The invasion is too fresh in Kuwait's history for that, if nothing else.

Also, zaydoun, with all due respect (and I'm not just saying that :) ) I do think that it was presumptuous of you to talk of people's "false beliefs" as if someone had assigned you to be the Arbiter of Ultimate Truth :(

Sheba mentioned in her post that she prays; does that make her one of the backwards hordes who stick to their "false beliefs" thinking that it will allow her into Heaven?

Gigi, uncomfortably
Dear Sheba,

Your post as always sparks, interesting discussion. I have waited patiently and listened to what everybody had to say....

To be honest...One cannot assume anything about the guy making the comment other than he probably enjoys the same things you do. Maybe you feel that he is immoral..I dunno. Maybe thats why you took such great offence.

Like you...I think talking about such things always is gonna feel judgemental. So I have great difficulty describing my feelings on this whole issue.

All I have to say your life as you choose....don't change for anyone. People will always have something to say about something...thats how we are.

If the issues is parties and bikini's. as you please...but I am pretty sure there are many Men who don't want their Wives dancing among other Men...i am also pretty sure there are men who are uncomfortable with there wives wearing a Bikini in front of others.

Bernard Lewis has a great book called "What went wrong?". In which he speaks to the clash of civilization. He talks about how Arab men even in 18 Century were surprised at the lack of "Manly Jealousy" among westerners. Its a good read. I don't think what you are describing only occurs in Kuwait...I am pretty sure there are examples all over the Arab world where Men have difficulty ridding themselves of cultural beliefs.

Finally, be true to your can't live a life free of what maybe old social constraints and not accept that you are.


Thank you all for commenting.

First, this post/debate/issue is NOT about religion, this is about culture.

I have 2 points to state:

1. Kuwait is an amalgam of cultures and i cannot pass judgement on Fadwa (my study mate during my time at KU) because she wears a niqab, and she never passed judgement on me because i come to KU in my colored Gap jeans (they were in at the time). So when someone who is not more pious or does not come from a different social background from me calls me 'free' its shocking.

Same goes to our neighbors, who are also Salaf & cousins at the same time. They never ever show distaste or lack of courtesy at our life style, and we actually have a great relationship with them (beyond a neighborly one).

2. Within families we have a conservative brother, a liberal brother, and a religious brother, and a more liberal brother. Do they sit and call each other names?

Why must people judge other people and what makes them do it?

I was raised in a manner everything has a right time and the right place. I hope i can pass that kind of balance to my children. The first time i went to a club was with my uncle. The first time i went to a casino was with my aunt's husband. I party with my cousins. The first time i went to Taraweeh & Qiyam al-lail (long prayers usually during Ramadan) was at the age of 7. The first time i went to Mecca & Medina was at 12 (and often after that). Yes, i've also done my Hajj.

Shocking? Shouldn't be. Unless you think that every party is a sleazy meat market (i know those do exist, but we're not talking about these!).

Moreover, i really do not understand whats the difference between a 2 piece swim suit & a 1 piece? The only parts a 1 piece covers would be the stomache area which i don't think is more attractive than the breast or thighs. Or is it just a stigma.

AGAIN, i do not want to focus on details, these 2 examples (parties & bikini's) are not the issue. The issue is acceptance. To accept that different people have different life styles.

Yes i am aware that i come from a minority. But i hate to see judgement being passed on people because of that.
Gigi.. if you read my comment again, you will note that I didn't mention religion anywhere. I am referring to the tired customs that are enforced in the name of religion. Those are the false beliefs I refer to, not religion itself.
Hmm this all seems interesting... I came across you guys whilst just trying to find anything related to Kuwait.

Anywho... good discussion.
Nevertheless, whilst reading; and I came across Bojaijs' comment, I didn't like the sound of it.

"Sadly its a price we all have to pay for not being part of their smelly herd of sheep. Its just idiotic to use the word "free" as an insult, which in any civilized part of the world means something of higher value than anything a Muslims/Arab/Kuwaiti mind can come up with."

I understand you were trying to generalise perhaps, but stereotypes often fail portraying the image of all.
As I read that, I might sense that you depict this lower image of Muslims/Arabs/Kuwaiti... jahala.

9a7, our nation has retarded behind others, bass it hurts when you also add on the fact to all muslims/arabs and kuwaities.

And freely I say, insulting in a way being that I am a person who fits in all three categoreies.
In fact you could be insulting yourself, and everyone else in here.

Oh well, then again I just wanted to point this little thing out. Who knows you could've commented, but not with that intent.

Just wanting to say again, nice to see open minded Kuwaities discussing.
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