As part of the Egyptian society you are obliged to be submitted to rules and prototype of how your life should be, no matter what dreams or targets you set for yourself. “1980 and Above” play discusses- among other problems- a controversial issue of couple loving each other but the economic and social restrictions standing before them.
Marwa el Sabahy (L) acting as the girl subject to the society’s stereotyping – who is in love with her prince charming – but the economic status for her man – performed by Hatem Salah (R) – does not help the two couples to get married.
As a typical Egyptian young man, he is a graduate who could not find a job. So, he started working as sales agent for toothbrushes in streets. The heroine waited for him too long that she became 29 years old without accepting all the marriage proposals and being exposed to all the society’s looks and accusations.
“I am 29 years old now! Do you have any idea how suffocating it is?? How I feel when everyone asking me why you still un-married till 29? Can you feel how people stereotype the un-married girl? “
This dialogue represents the heroine suffering the “spinster” crisis, as it stereotypes women according to their marital status as if women were created to marry, have kids, and raise them only.
How celibacy actually occurred? How come a man who loves a girl finds it almost impossible to get a flat? Before finishing this article I am not writing this suggesting answers. Actually I am reviewing my point of view in this issue hoping that if we reach the core the problem, we would conclude to answers and solutions.
Such suffocating atmosphere drives girls in younger age to seek marriage as the prior demand in their life before reaching the above-25-age phase.
Despite the financial circumstances of the country, the girls’ parents still demand high level standards for their girls. While- if one got back in time- their parents started their lives with almost nothing and they lived a real happy life. The gap started when the parents adopting the concept of “our girls should not suffer as much as we did when we were younger” or “she should live at the level she used to live with her parents” such way of thinking created a bigger problem that the high standards set by the parents created a generation of men willing to marry without the financial requirements and women beating the clock in order not to get old before getting married. She should not carry the “spinster” title otherwise she will be marginalized, prejudged, and ill-treated.
Both of them start to pay for a mistake that is not theirs from the beginning. Problem get grocer when a man starts to hunt a job qualifying him to hold an honorable living with a wife, but another issue appears. Unemployment! The concept of honorable living starts to fade for the sake of just having a job, that drove the hero into starting to sell toothbrushes as a way of positive solution to” just make his daily living”.
An endless chain of obstacles faces every couple aiming at marriage. This let the youth takes the easy way “out of wedlock relationships” creating a bigger issue resembled in the non-traditional attitude of being with a man that is not your husband, brother or father letting the girl again facing the society’s criticizing looks.
Letting alone all of these chains, modern media created an ethical problem. The youth grows up on movies representing the west youth in relationships starting their own lives without getting married. They start to think, why did we create all these restrictions before us to start a decent life with our beloved ones? A question many have failed to answer and a knot rarely overcame.
The controversial here is; how the parents should react when a young man comes proposing for their girl? Are they demanded to ask for the expensive flat, overrated engagement jewelry and the too many expenses – the man have to pay to prove generosity and love for the whole family – the groom does not have to pay? Or do the parents have to choose a wealthy man – or let’s say a man with enough money to provide a good living for their daughter- to sustain the same level she used to live in? if a man proposed and he is a good decent man but he is not that rich, do they have to refuse with the allege “fear of the future”?
Away of the moral answers everyone reading the article will say, let’s talk facts. They won’t accept the man, because he is not sufficient financially for her. The real victims her are the females who are treated like marionettes.
To conclude, we are not presenting solutions; neither do we solve a problem. We are simply criticizing the society’s stereotyping of females over 25, the economic blocks before couples and the idea of marriage itself, hoping that the article would be a glimpse in the way for change.