Before you continue reading , I must warn you that if you are traditional in thought, conservative, or overtly religious, you may not like what you may read in the paragraphs to come, so consider that you have been told and that this is the point where you either decide to read on, or click the “X” at the top right hand corner of your page and leave.
Now, that you are still reading, I suppose you decided to talk about it, “It” here being the many social taboos that govern our society and the way we interact with others.
You should know that I didn’t wake up on this beautiful Friday morning and decide to randomly write about this issue for no reason, as this issue has been one that has been occupying a good portion of my thoughts ever since the last book club meeting I attended with Junior Chamber International (JCI) on April 4th.
The story we discussed at that meeting was “Aroos Amman” (The Bride of Amman) a Jordanian novel that highlighted several social realities openly. Issues tackled in the novel included ; homosexuality in Jordan, parental sexual abuse, inter-faith marriages, and the social pressures imposed on women above thirty who are still single.
Now, we cannot deny that these are all issues that lurk in the background of our seemingly peaceful society , and this is not because our society is corrupted but rather because these issues do exist in any society in the world.
Now, I don’t want to talk about the rights, wrongs, dos , and don’ts regarding such social issues, since I am not a sociologist, anthropologist, or therapist, and I can never claim to have a clear proof solutions to such social realities. But, what I did find interesting in the meeting was the number of people who were against even talking about these issues.
You see, I, was guilty, of suggesting the book and so, even before the meeting people did come up to me and say, “Why are we going to discuss such issues?’ , others said “We will never really change anything if we talk about such problems”, and a third group came to me and said “The book has sexual connotations in it, how are we going to talk about it”.
Now, I am not really deluded, and I really do realize that a book club meeting with 30+ people in attendance isn’t suddenly going to turn society around. It isn’t going to stop girls above 30 from feeling like outcasts just for being single, or homosexuality to suddenly be accepted or unaccepted, nor is it going to stop sexual harassment, or redefine the law to accept interfaith marriages .
However, I also do know that if everyone in this society decided to think like that, including decision makers, we are never going to change anything.
As adults I think we are all mature enough to talk about sexual connotations, given that the meeting didn’t have priests or sheikhs in it. The book really wasn’t about these connotations, try reading “50 Shades of Gray” and you will know what sexual explicitness is. Anything explicit in the book was only serving as an explanation for the story and any reader would know that these subjects do exist in most novels.
In the meeting, many people claimed that the only way to solve problems in society is to turn to religion, specifically Islam, but then that got me wondering what exactly the Christians, Jews, Atheists, or any other faith followers would do. Are they all supposed to follow Islam too, or are we going to get into another discussion about their faith choices? . In the spirit of not talking about things, some people in the meeting also claimed that there were no problems of the sort in the society, and that issues like virginity, the delay of the marriage age, and sexual preference were no longer prevalent in Jordan. I was wondering which part of Jordan were these people talking about ? Were they talking about the small percentage of rich teenagers in International schools, or the youth lurking around some areas in Western Amman. I can safely say that this is an inaccurate statement, since in some rural areas honor killings are still very much alive and running, and a girl talking to a guy she isn’t engaged to is not spoken of even.
Here I have to say that I am not advocating or not advocating free sexual expression, but i am highlighting the fact that negating the issue doesn’t miraculously make it go away. But, outside the bounds of the meeting this is a general lifestyle we tend to adopt in our society. Issues a lot simpler than those discussed in the book are simply not spoken about, as people seem to hope that if they don’t talk about the issue it would solve itself.
Even in our jobs, if we are upset with the boss or something the boss did, we find that we talk about it to everyone on the planet but our colleagues at work or the boss him/herself. If we are upset with a friend, relative, or partner, we decide to ignore them completely and we tell everyone else how we are angry at them. Or, we might even decide we tell no one, including the person we are upset at leaving the whole issue a mystery.
I had situations where people just stop talking to me and when I asked why, they would say “You don’t know why?” and I would say “No, I don’t”, and then they would say “when you figure out why, call me”, just to avoid talking about it. I usually do call back a few days later, and most of the time the issue not spoken of would be a stupid pointless misunderstanding .
Similarly, people would have health problems, and they would just prefer to let them exist rather than going to a doctor and fix them. There analogy would be “I don’t want to talk about it, since I worry that I may have cancer “, and it is to those people that you want to say “Well if you have cancer God Forbid, at least you will know and you will get the issue treated”
To get an answer to the issue of “not talking about it”, I once did a social experiment, I posted a question on a social media network that said “Would you prefer to have no answer to a question you have been dying to ask, or a bad answer” and the number of people who preferred no answers to bad answers was significantly higher.
Let’s face it, we are a society that fears confrontation. We fear asking direct questions. We fear making direct statements. We fear getting the answer we don’t want to hear, and we are worried about upsetting the peace. But, even in business they say that you sometimes have to create a crises to force a solution, and in life it is better to say what is on our minds in order to know where we stand.
It is funny how we as humans refuse to use the one advantage we have over other living things, our words , isn’t it?
Verbal Diarrhea Awake Too Early on A friday