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How different are traditional gender roles to Islamic gender roles



When I say Islamic, I mean Quranic Islam, not traditional Islam.

Traditionally speaking, old-fashioned gender roles are for a woman to stay at home, cook, clean and make her husband the centre of her world. To be submissive to her husband. To dress 'feminine' although femininity is defined by culture in terms of clothes, hairstyles etc. Men are traditionally the breadwinners, told to be strong, aggressive, hide and not express certain emotions to appear 'strong'.

Many men are intimidated by women who have achieved more than them in terms of career and education. However, people in general including women are treated as inferior if they do not reach a certain level of education or career. Should a woman give up on her educational and career aspirations and be treated as inferior by most of society just to please a man or potential suitors? On the other hand, she can always date and marry men with greater job status than her even if she has a PhD however, a lot of men would be missing out on potentially great partners if they keep this egotistic attitude. Many traditionally minded men want their women to depend on them, especially financially i.e. not making enough money to live on intentionally. However, many women do not want to be dependent on their partner to this extent because 1. Why make yourself intentionally dependent on a man if you can help yourself? 2. A man can change i.e. turn from a kind-hearted, trustworthy spouse into a cold-hearted, aggressive abuser and then you're stuck. It's a trap. A smart person will strive to be independent and help themselves if they can and are fortunate enough to achieve this. Also, if a man truly loved a woman, he would protect her but also want her to be able to help herself because he knows he's not invincible and would want her to survive and not live in poverty if he were to die or become incapable of looking after her financially (or otherwise). He would also bear in mind that any kids or family members who depend on his wife will also more likely survive if she has a job or is educated. I am not talking about protective men, I'm talking about men who need their woman to not be able to survive without them in order to feel manly and therefore feed their ego.

Men shouldn't be aggressive to their wives, women or anyone in general. Men are told to be the protectors and maintainers of women however, this is very different from being a controlling, aggressive man who thinks women exist to serve him. Where in the Qur'an does it mention that a woman has to serve her husband? It's not a very romantic concept. There was a verse where submitting to God is mistaken for submitting to one's husband. One should try to share household duties out of love, kindness and necessity, not because of some slave-master gender roles. Also in terms of any decision in life, a woman should not be forced to stay at home if her husband tells her she's not allowed to work or get an education simply because the husband has no right to make halal things haram. Yet so many cultures still have this backward concept. But it's also in life in general. Many husbands control every aspect of their wives' lives from what she eats, who her friends are to what she shops for which is toxic, yet they see it as 'Islamic'. They feel as if a woman needs their permission to do anything at all. A woman is a grown-up human being, not a slave. Treating her as if she is a slave or a servant is toxic.

From what I know, Quranically speaking, a woman is allowed to work and have a career. She's allowed to have an education. Many men seem to hate women like this and think of it as 'manly' but what about women who do not have a husband or working males in their families? Are they supposed to be viewed as manly for trying to achieve a livelihood for themselves and their families? For trying to survive, have a decent standard of living and avoid poverty? This is why I think traditional lines of thinking can be very toxic. It is always assumed that the woman has options which is not true. It can take years to find a suitable partner, if at all. Even if she's married and working, I don't see how that is not womanly or masculine. A strong woman is still a woman, not a man.

Quranically speaking, a woman doesn't even need to have long hair or wear a dress. She can chop all of her hair off if she so wishes and wear trousers and shirts if that's what she prefers. Nowhere in the Qur'an does it state that it is a woman's job to cook and clean i.e. take care of the home (correct me if I'm wrong) and it makes most sense if both spouses share these chores equally. It also makes sense if a stay-at-home spouse who's not working from home does more household duties be it a woman or a man but again there's no implication that it is because of their gender.


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