Can I afford not to be the ‘simple’ girl next door?

Published: May 10, 2011
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A simple girl is a ‘homely’ girl who spends all her day at home and is comfortable with house chores.

I fail to understand the ‘simple girl’ formula. Equally baffling is the notion of ‘the girl next door’.

I am a 25-year old professional, single, and equipped with considerable social etiquette but I do not fall in any of the two categories.

Am I not shareef enough then, to be a desirable partner for an educated urban male who has a stable reputation in the society?

I am afraid I am not.

I am anything but ‘simple’ so given the value association that comes with being an” Oh-so-simple-and-hence-so-good-girl” should I consider myself bad?

Good girls and bad girls

By what standards do we define the good and bad in a woman today? Or, let me rephrase that: by what standards do we perceive a single woman to be simple and thus innocent, or deviant and thus otherwise? How standard are the conditions that come attached with our definition of simplicity and how exactly do we shape our judgment based on these perceptions?

The strength of a human character cannot be limited to a scientific formula neither does it come with any strings attached, like an IMF loan. And this is why I find it hard to distinguish between being simple and being good.

Does simple equal good?

When it comes to women, why do we attach goodness with simplicity? Simplicity is one of many personality traits and goodness is another. Why do we perceive both as associated with each other? This ‘simplicity syndrome’ is common. One could be any of the following: wild and crazy, unconventional and different, articulate and mature, an embodiment of elegance and grace, anything but ‘good’ enough to be a ‘good’ man’s wife.

But who defines the good here?

The answer is not very hard to find. From all the arguments for and against this ‘Simple Girl’ theory that have been posted on these very pages, this is what I have summarised: A simple girl is a sweet, silent, adorable girl next door, who leads a very simple life, dresses decently, needs little attention, has little say in other people’s lives or for that matter her own personal life, thinks little, talks even less, is dependent for everything right from her finances to being escorted to her friends’ parties.

Fit for marriage

And when it comes to sorting out a ‘simple’ girl for marriage the above traits are justified with the following expectations:

A simple girl is domestic. She spends her day at home and is comfortable with household chores. She is less inclined to interfere in her in-laws’ or for that matter her husband’s personal and social affairs and can resolve matters with a simple swish of her magical wand of silence and patience. She knows how to dress modestly, speak softly, act soberly and attend guests cheerfully. She is a sweet wife, an adorable daughter-in law, a pious Muslim who offers all her prayers and gives charity and more importantly a perfect and devoted mother to her children – in short, a complete package for a blessed marital life ahead.

Bleak future

On the other hand, she is the same woman who after years of toil for raising her children and working on her marital harmony, reaches a point in life where her social life has thinned out considerably, with no friends to seek company from and not many places to hang out at.

While her kids start exploring the new environs, she becomes just another ordinary plain and desolate woman back home for her husband who has all the reasons now to complain by comparing her to other “charming, intelligent and equally witty” female companions that he meets and enjoys the company of. Where is the goodness factor now?


My simple question is: why do we breed such double-standards when it comes to our interaction with the opposite gender? While men in general enjoy the company of independent women who they often praise for their intelligence, maturity and level-headedness and most often sought mutual and trusted friendships with, the same women become a no-go area when it comes to considering marriage.

Worse still, how does one define men who consider it their moral duty to ‘straighten’ such girls and never let go a chance to tell them how emotionally foolish they are or how sentimentally and morally weak and corrupt they have been in the first place to bring about that ‘moral corruptness.’

Does our society only accept women who are meek, have low self-esteem, have no say in their public and private lives and are submissive to the men in their lives? Is it that any confident, financially independent and intelligent woman is too good to be true?

One might argue that personal choices and upbringing play a role here, and that friends with a female does not necessarily has to end up with marriage only, but how would one justify if the refusal/avoidance comes with once again judging the woman on the pretext of being good but not ‘that good’. Again, can anyone please define ‘good’ here for me?

huma.iqbal

Huma Iqbal

A blogger who writes on social development, socio-political and economic issues in the region.

The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of The Express Tribune.

  • Columbus

    long ago heard good girls go to heaven and bad girls go every where ;)….the number of the definitions of good and bad is directly proportional to the number of minds thinking …Recommend

  • Columbus

    and yeah the pic displayed surely wont help in good definition here…Recommend

  • Happy Man

    As i said earlier, Concept in Pakistan about simple and modern girls is something like this, “You flirt with modern girl, and marry a simple girl. They are the perfect marriage material.”Recommend

  • jimmy

    ‘educated’ girls like this author do not have ethics and kind heart. they result in poor marriage relationships due to their false pride and attitude. dont know why such bad nature girls are there in the society. Recommend

  • http://blogs.tribune.com.pk/author/143/taha-kerar/ Taha Kehar

    As always, a brilliant piece. You’ve raised some pertinent points here. But how do you propose this issue can be dealt with at a time when solutions matter more than the blame game? Recommend

  • Saad Sheikh

    agreed with most of the points elaborated here, generally most of it is true and you yourself being a girl must have first hand experience of these things. but i must say that it is not necessary that all men think like this for women. I for one don’t decide the goodness of one depending on the simplicity, it all comes down to the nature of a person for me and most of the times when i can’t judge the nature i don’t make judgments about them. My personal experiences made me realize that things are not so “simple” with the simple girl and while she looks calm and nice and all happy about whatever is happening with the world, there is much more going on behind the scene which we surely don’t know(no offence intended). On the other hand, the “bad” girls are much honest with life and persons around them. this is only my viewpoint and i’m sure most of the people mights have experiences of their own.Recommend

  • Saad Sheikh

    and yeah one more thing, its also not necessary that a girl in veil is good and a jeans t-shirt girl is bad.Recommend

  • Salahudin Safdar

    Why tribune bloggers are so feared of ‘simple girls’?Recommend

  • citizen

    If you find yourself struggling to bust out the social constraints of being a “good girl”, it probably means: a). you are lucky enough to find a lot more depth to your personality and b). someone or ones in your life struggle against letting you be yourself entirely.

    I feel I’m one of the few women I know who has been lucky enough to be taught to focus on my individuality from a young age. Now in my thirties, I find that some of “riskier” personal decisions I’ve made have had a bit of social backlash, but I would not change those any day.

    This definition of “good” as submissive, obedient, not breaking out of stereotypes, is, whether we like it or not, NOT limited to this part of the world, as much as we would like to blame it on something.

    There’s a time in our lives to rebel, and there’s a time to gently work WITH things rather than against them. I feel if you look even in our society, you may surprised at symbols of strength and unconventionality in women.

    Decide if it’s your time to rebel, or to work gently and still retain your true identity.Recommend

  • http://habloid.wordpress.com Habiba Younis

    brilliantly articulated, loved it! Recommend

  • zaraafzal

    islam has assigned specific roles to men n women but society has recreated it , divided n then furthur divided them to catagories and sub-catagories based on fake standards , however islam do respect the individuality of each men n women as persons … i dnt think much about ” the good man / woman ” and ” the bad man / woman ” , for me ppl r actually somethng beyond this discrimination of our society , beyond being MAN n WOMAN they are ” PERSONS ” , induviduals with unique set of qualities … if a man lies , he is bad ..and as bad as a woman who lies , similarly if a man is kind he is good ..and as good as a kind woman , so these are common traits n virtues which are universally praised n pharased as “goods” .I find that a useless practice , when a man or a woman tries to prove his/herself as “GOOD MAN/WOMAN ” in society (rather than being the person they are) cz the only thing acheived in this process is tht u lose ur individuality. And indeed there are social considerations which we hv to consider being rational enough to be the part of that society ( these considerations often play the role of constraints , but they shdnt be responded in the rebelious way that is often adopted rather v need to transform our society… firstly by correcting ourselves and begining from our own home n our own children )Recommend

  • http://bakedsunshine.wordpress.com/ Shumaila

    Personally, I don’t think you’ve actually mentioned anything new in your blog post. And as far as ‘simple’ is concerned, well I think times are changing and being the quiet ‘naik parveen’ might score you some points with the rishta aunties but guys themselves look for someone with a bit more liveliness. Of the women close to me who have got married/engaged recently, all have been pretty normal, vocal, confident young women with very little simple and homely about them. Recommend

  • http://xain-online.deviantart.com Xain

    Quit whining! Life isnt a walk in the park. and you’re not here to please the whole world.Recommend

  • http://ayeshahoda.wordpress.com Ayesha Hoda

    I guess these “simple” girls are more clever than girls like you and I – who show their “true colours” by speaking out – and more or less satisfied with the life they lead. Your description reminds of Mona Lisa Smile depicting that era in America when the identity of girls was tied to their husbands and their ability to get married in well-off, prominent families. I guess Pakistanis are now passing through that phase.Recommend

  • sAm

    Brilliant piece. You have raised valid questions pertaining to double standards prevalent in our society. Some blame also goes to asghari-akbari sort of urdu literature which has plagued the minds of urban middle class. A well thought blog. Bravo
    RegardsRecommend

  • Ugh, been there, done that

    oh God, riding on the concept of Saba Khalid’s article in the ET magazine published much earlier. trust me, just because you pick the same topic, you won’t get the same attention. Try being original :) Recommend

  • http://deleted Ghazi

    Plus hers was biting and satirical. Edgy and funny and touched upon so mnay issues without going on and on and onnnnn. This one is plain boooooohrrrrringggg! Recommend

  • Asad

    Why is every girl (Simple or complex) so crazy to get married? This article shows the same. The insecurities of a modern girl when it comes to marriage.

    You have to accept the fact that the modern girl takes her inspiration from the ‘western woman’ who is smart, intelligent, confident, walks alongside men- some times even ahead of men.
    BUT the western women most usually do not have a husband, its usually a partner or boy friend and even if they get a husband, divorce is most likely. Split ups and changing partners are common for the western woman.

    Men are naturally protective creatures. They have an instinct to protect their wife. So a ‘simple’ or should I say a traditional eastern girl is easier to manage with and spend an entire life with. A modern independent girl does not appreciate the protective instinct of her husband, and hence men prefer to marry the simple or traditional eastern girl and the marriage works.

    Regarding the notion that men prefer and get attracted to modern girls, thats partly correct and partly wrong. Actually men have an instinct of getting attracted to women. The modern girl is an exhibitionist and so men usually have a short term ‘crush’ on them but its never long term love. Men love simple women who are the loving mothers of their children or their caring wifes. and this love is long term.

    Hence you see guys flirting with modern western type girls and when their crush is over they marry simple eastern type girls and live happily with them. Recommend

  • Danish S

    @Shumaila,
    You and your buddies are probably among the 2 percent of our population (read: elite) but a vast majority of people still have the same questions as Huma does. There’s a reason why Shoaib Mansoor, in his recent interview said, ““Having been so blessed in life, I often think of the things that I should be grateful for. The list seems to be never ending, but invariably it ends at one thing . . . that I was born as a MAN. Nothing in the world scares me more than the thought of being born a woman or a eunuch in a country like Pakistan,…”
    Good write up Huma!Recommend

  • Ahmed

    @Ugh, been there, done that
    ‘trust me, just because you pick the same topic, you won’t get the same attention.’

    Well, she got your attention! ;pRecommend

  • Azmanrana

    u dnt have to worry whether u r a bad or good girl just focus on ur life :DRecommend

  • SadafFayyaz

    Fantastic……Recommend

  • http://www.tanzeel.wordpress.com Tanzeel

    Read Quran if you want to know about good girls.
    Allah o Akbar!Recommend

  • parvez

    Your article was rather long winded and I got confused as to why you have to fret so much about this. It looks like you are tilting at windmills unnecessarily. Its your call, why bother about others as long you are doing what you know is right.Recommend

  • Mueed

    @Happy Man: hahaha,,100% true,,Recommend

  • Sahar Khan

    @ Asad:
    HOw easily you have justiffied every immoral act for yourself..that getting attracted is just normal so no problem with it….we will get over it….and yeah our love ..our status..our children..ohhhh plzzzz you are such a MALE CHAUVINIST..!!Recommend

  • Danish S

    @Asad
    You forgot about one thing, this article is from a woman’s perspective. Not how men should or should not behave. The world does(should) not revolve around men, you know that right?Recommend

  • TF

    @Asad:
    The so called Confused Liberals of our society!!Recommend

  • TF

    @TF:
    Or I should say Biased educated people of our society….Recommend

  • TF

    @Tanzeel:
    If you have read enough then share your wisdom and then we will decide how much you made sense of what you read.Recommend

  • Shumaila Mirza

    being a woman is so much difficult, men can never realise it.
    we have to take the pain in each and every phase of life, compromises, sacrifices etc etc etc all for us..still we are a suppressed part of our society. and the expectation of being perfect intensifies the sufferings..
    Although, ALhumdulillah i belong to a family where girls are valued more than boys, the fact can not be denied that i am a woman and i have to act the roles i am assigned with..but these can be easier if men start understanding us. as soon as they start justifying us as the human beings and feel for us just the same way as they feel for themselves, our problems will not exist anymore.
    Well done Huma!Recommend

  • TF

    @jimmy:
    I wonder why uneducated men who do not have ethics and kind heart read stuff from authors like this girl!! They are the ones who are likely to end up being unfair as husbands due to their narrow and selfish attitude towards women! Don’t know when such men will become humans again???Recommend

  • Sara

    @Shumaila:
    but rishta aunties are still a reality in around 80% of Pakistan… Many guys leave it up to their mums to decide who’s going to be their wife; and most mums do prefer the ‘simple’ girls like the author said. There’s a general bias against working women as not being marriage material :p, which makes convincing parents to let their girls work a LOT harder. At least that’s whats happening with me. Recommend

  • Man in Black

    Feminist much? Why do I sense hasty generalization? I agree with the cultural idea of the so-called “simple girl” but all of this have been said criticized too many times, how about change the way you target the audience; particularly who believe in going-out with a so-called “modern girl” and marry a “simple girl”. They eventually do face the problem and as we see our older generation we do not want to make the same mistake.Recommend

  • AK

    @ jimmy: That was rude! “Don’t know why guys like you exist in this society.”!

    @ Asad: I am actually offended by your stereotyped concept of a modern girl necessarily being an exhibitionist? Why so? Justify please. A modern professional girl wears hijab, full sleeve shirts, socks, shoes (not chappals, mind you) to her office. She is soft spoken, handles situations well because she is intelligent and knows when to take a stand and when to make a compromise in dealing with the boss / client / parent / friend, hates to go out for lunch and would rather stay indoors and eat home cooked food, takes responsibility for her work, does not EVER come to office on saturday / sunday because these are “family days” and makes it a point that she reaches home before maghrib until and unless there’s very urgent work in office and she can also pay utility bills and manage bank accounts / investments. This is the modern professional girl i see around daily in my office. (She fits more in the category of being a traditional yet professional girl but since you very much want to use the word “modern” to steretype a professional woman, i’ve used the same word.) What do you see in your “modern woman” which I have somehow not had the privilege of seeing?

    @ the rest who think “simple girls are the perfect marriage material”: They may be. But wouldn’t a girl who can do some random house chores out of home such as purchasing grocery and paying utility bills on her own, without any help, make a man’s life easier? Better still, how about a woman to whom a man can give all of his salary at the end of the month and she’d know that half of it is to be saved in times of need and perhaps, later on in life, she might surprise the hubby by telling him “we have enough money to purchase a house of our own!”? She’ll only make a man’s life easier than it already is by being able to handle a “homely” girl who doesn’t have a mind of her own (under the name of “being protective”). After thought: the more confident girl also usually knows how to kill cockroaches instead of running away screaming for help! :P

    @ Huma: I can totally relate to what single professional girls at the age of 25 go through on a day to day basis. One guy would hit on you (chances are he’ll be married too), other will send his parents over for shaadi, parents will make you walk like a model in the drawing room after every few days and no one is gonna ask you what you want out of your life. I’d rather stay single for some time and concentrate on my career. Can’t I have career related ambitions? Am I not human to not like my mind to be challenged just like men? Ignore the comment where someone has asked “why girls are so desperate to get married” because I can understand you and I know you’re not desperate to get married, you’re just getting sick of the way people around you are treating you :)Recommend

  • Khan

    In another century, a most celebrated author who goes by the name of Jane Austen was writing and fighting for the same ideas, same notions in another part of the world – the heart of the “west”. Can you not see how timeless her classic novel, Pride and Prejudice, is? Recommend

  • anonymous

    simple/traditional girls are the ones that remain within the boundaries of religion and the not so simple ones are those that chose to explore beyond the boundaries of religion.Women with the “ill do what i feel like doing mentality” are the one’s that are labelled as unfit for marriage. Having premarital relations, consuming alcoholic drinks etc.
    By no means does anyone consider that females who retain the laws of religion but have a passion for a career/life other than child bearing are considered “not so simple” at least not any more.
    Religion/Morals play an integral role because the women are responsible for bringing up the future generation, i.e, children.Recommend

  • Rabia

    @Asad wow I pity your wife. Recommend

  • Utopia

    The case is very simple…yet complex…
    whoever it is men or women…..when an individual deals with multiple spheres in life (family, work, social life etc) their priorities get affected. We can witness that clearly in men’s case, when its work load for them they get a margin to ignore family life or friends in that case. We know very well…how this negligence affects the family.

    Now the character of a woman is so designed that it is a balancing center..if this center dislocates slightly or majorly…. starts affecting everything.
    Therefore….we should rather discuss how to collectively manage our priorities in life…if we are a multitasking person, we need to work hard to remove the stereotypes ( Who cares – is not a solution, we should care).

    Because I would even prefer a guy for getting married whose priorities are all set around me. So the attitude is justified…unless it is not based on ‘jahalat’.Recommend

  • Silent Listner

    A nice and very candid article, I agree with the viewpoint of the writer. In my opinion Pakistani men are going through a transition, as far the attitude towards woman is concerned, and still their are dual standards, like I will tolerate a sister or a daughter like Huma because she is a successful girl who can face the realities in workplace or social life, and would also like to defend her happily. But once it comes to choosing a wife the double standards becomes visible. The average Pakistani men (no matter what all tall degrees he holds) will look for a simple girl not the one which is described by Huma. Recommend

  • rehan

    it is nice article. u r v true that most of men has double standard. they like to have a ‘Simple’ girl as life partner but like the company of others.

    but it is said that simple wife can behave with husband in both ways..so the solution is there…wife can be simple in atitude and in life but can be witty and modernized for the husband in other way as well….Recommend

  • Vincent Secret

    It it ludricous to assume simple girls ar enot intelligent or are meak. Well majority fo them are those who BY CHOICE choose their families over all others. After all they say the toughest and most rewarding job is to bringup a good family.

    As for you raw arguments well even in a job way down the career line you face issues jsut like you have mentioned. Last but not the least Allah ahs made all precious things hidden and hard to get like a pearl is in a shell deep in the ocean while the sand is under the feet on the shores. Hope you got it now ………. guess which one are u ;)Recommend

  • Asma Sayani

    Good Work Huma…you raised a very common but less discussed issue here.I completely agree with Happy Man’s Statement here that in our society men do flirt or should i say ” Time Pass” with modern girl, and marry a simple girl as they are the perfect marriage material. Mr Asad’s point of View revealed that though generally men do enjoy the company of an independent woman but they can’t afford to get married with that same Independent Woman as she does not appreciate the protective instinct of her husband.Who told you this Mr.Asad??? you are just a perfect example of biased so called educated people of our society..

    Unfortunately we are living with double standards in our socity where people do appreciate the independent, intellegent, professional and mature woman but when it comes to consider for marriage they do prefer their parent’s particularly mother’s choice because she will select a simple, beautifull, submissive girl who would like to being protected and dependent to her husband and easy to tackle.Recommend

  • Deen Sheikh

    To the writer
    My Dear Huma Iqbal, you are forgetting one thing, one of the reasons, why guys want the so-called simple girl next door type desi girl is parental and family pressure, though many of them want to settle down with their gf’s, because of family demands when it comes to a future daughter in law, and their expectations, this is btw subliminal learning that our parents put us through when we reach adult hood so we go for the girl next door type instead of the mature, confident and independent type. Its parents of the guy, who want an obedient, submissive, caring and domesticated housewife for their son, in reality, for themselves. A lot of people from the previous generation are too comfortable with the status quo they have seen in their time, and their uncomfortable at the idea of change if u know what I mean, in many families confident and educated girls such as doctors, lawyers, engineers or teachers are seen as undesirable. There is a stereo type in many families including my community, that an educated girl does not make a good wife, a good daughter in law or a good mother.Recommend

  • yasir

    wht is the absolute criterian of bad or good ?Recommend

  • Nazish

    no, deen, noRecommend

  • Maira

    It is a wrong thinking that a “bad” girl cannot be a good wife or mother. Having good qualities and capabilities and being a liberal girl are two different things. I have seen many many girls who wear burqa but have hidden boy friends. But on the other hand, many liberal girls have nice nature, take care of their family very well and live a very happy married. So, better to take nature of the girl rather than “badness” or “goodness” in account. If a girl is ready to change after mariage, then it doesn’t depend whether she is a good or bad.Recommend

  • Mr Nice

    @Asma Sayani. If it thats straight “time pass” philosophy. Stop dating. Exactly half power is yours.

    Why are we comparing modern (jeans t-shirt) and veiled girls. Is it something that biting us at some conscience level? If you are modern – then get modern enough like the west women if not then you know exactly what to do.Recommend

  • Aamir

    What is good or what is bad? I think we human can not define as woman is covering herself considered to be more praiseworthy in Saudi Arabia then Western Countries but in Western countries a woman wearing skirt is more praiseworthy then a covering woman.
    One good thing is not good in other part of world, is it not clear that we human being could not decide what is good or bad for our self but only Creator of universe will tell us what is good or what is bad for us.
    Thanks. Recommend

  • Ali

    one can find hardly a single girl wish to just live at home and perform domestic chores. it means the girls are living at home is not doing this by own choice but forced to do so by parrents or in-laws. They are simple with out their will.

    we are living in male dominating society so it is our duty to provide them atmosphere where they can participate easily with out the tag of liberal modren etc, again it is employer (mostly male) who forced to come in modren dress.Recommend

  • Ahmad

    Hazrat Ali said : “There are some conducts which are bad for a male but good for a female; miserliness, pride and cowardice.”Recommend

  • Asad

    To all to got offended by my comments, I had no intention to offend any one.
    I was merely providing some answers to the writer’s concerns. You are entitled to your views or to think ill of me/other men like me, just as I am entitled to have my own views.
    The bottom line is that men and women have got their own nature as made by our Creator. If we follow the guideline sent by our creator, the problems of society will be minimised. If Pak women copy western women, they will have to forgo marriage and family life, just like the western women.
    The simple traditional girl is one who has Islamic values. If a professional girl has Islamic values-well and good. The only problem with professional girls is that it becomes difficult for them to juggle their career with home. Thats the main reason men shy away from marrying professional girls (even if they have Islamic values).Recommend

  • Zain

    its been a pleasure through and through reading this article,
    also more interesting reading some of the views of the ‘MALES’ here… lol
    unfortunately could go beyond a point in the views..

    Anyways this is my two cents to the Intelligent girls reading this… and coming from a guy, take it with a little more than a grain of salt…

    The author has BEA U TI FULLY described the double standards guys have when making a decision about marriage with a modern girl.. and no matter how much guys try to argue against it or find flaws in it, (some even by going to lengths of branding the modern female as insecure about marriage… who the hell wont… who do you think these women are?? sluts??? … i mean that was a pathetic argument to begin with) it is a given thing, mark my words, guys will always prefer the Simple aka (dumb, silent, low self esteemed ) girl…

    so whats the way ahead now??

    Intelligent girls, START behaving Intelligently too now!!
    U have to stop talking to this breed of MALE CHAUVINISTS!!…. not before they dump you for the simple girl, but before you give them tons of EGO satisfaction in their post-pubertal years!!
    That gentleman shareef boy who u think is going to be the prince charming is exaclty the one who will pester you day and night with the bryan adams songs and tell you how intellectually superior you are to the dum chicks..and let you loose like used toilet paper when ami jan thinks hes ready to wear bangles in his hands..

    Lastly and MOST importantly… Raise better sons than you see around yourself….. mayb, mayb that just might trip the balance because I doubt anyone will follow the first suggestion…Afterall even intelligent girls have temptations ;) …lol

    Its very funny btw how females dont even realize how easy it is to have everything their way..
    There is a reason why the shareef boy’s mom hates the Modern girl…
    Think about it..(mayb a little earlier than being that mom) ;)

    Peace!Recommend

  • Shumaila Mirza

    too good AkRecommend

  • bharat

    the problum with this world is ;” the stupids are full of confidence and intelligents are confused”.
    nice title!Recommend

  • http://blogs.tribune.com.pk/author/264/huma-iqbal/ Huma Iqbal

    Some very interesting responses have been generated here. Whether I agree with them or not is altogether another matter. But as Taha Kehar has put it: What is the solution to this prevalent mindset? It is a good food for thought. While we generally indulge in pointing fingers at each other (genders in this case) we forget that problems can only be solved once accepted. Unfortunately not many of us accept the problem in the first place and instead go on bashing/ranting what we think (read WE) is wrong/immoral/corrupt. I did not intend to debate here on the good girl vs. the bad girl and tried my best not to take sides or get into unnecessary arguments just for the sake of arguing. Some of you made my case easier while others who agreed to disagree with me did me a huge favour by bringing to the forefront and highlighting the very hypocrisy that I intended to bring into notice in the write-up! Thanks all for all your comments. I hope we can spend equal if not more energies on thinking and acting on ways to change the prevalent mindsets which hinder us from moving forward and taking life as it comes – tough but worth it, ugly but justified. And while we do that, spread the word and rope in more readers on this link!!!Recommend

  • http://blogs.tribune.com.pk/author/264/huma-iqbal/ Huma Iqbal

    @Zain: Is it really you or is it that I lent you my mind for sometime?! Rock on!Recommend

  • Zain

    @Huma: lol hahaa…
    not much of a reader, or writer for that matter, but couldn’t resist the temptation ;) … keep it up!! Recommend

  • AK

    zain, i liked ur post! Coming from a female, pls do keep in mind though that most intelligent girls at 25 have had sufficient experiences of and with “such men” to know better when to steer away and when to deal with them face to face. Also, most of the intelligent girls know how to distance themselves from their emotions and temptations as well, as you put it.

    Deen (assuming ur the deen i personally know too), knowing ur family background and setup, agreed that most guys in our society do surrender to their parent’s and siblings’ wishes when it comes to their marriage. This is because the guys too have been brought up in the same traditional culture where one cannot have a mind of their own until they turn 50 and marry off their kids!! Even then, at times, the grand grand parents are alive and they still have the veto power in the family / biradiri. Tell me, who is going to change this? Are we waiting for a miracle here? Given our society, its far easier for guys to take the first step here and marry the modern / professional woman while she still waits to be chosen by some guy who is possessed with double standards.

    Thank you Shumaila. I do get carried away at times ;)

    p.s. Sorry for the spelling mistakes if any. I typed from my phone :)Recommend

  • salman

    @Asad…. you have said it all brother…. :)

    the not-so-simple-girls are are feeling jealous and its clearly visible….. why all not-so-simple girls believe that they are the only one with brains perhaps they think intelligence lies in makeup kit, jeans or ability to speak few sentences of English, fluently…

    Simple girls are desirable because they are original. while the not-so-simple-girls are half cooked western lady, hardworking wannabes.their ideas belong to western culture and their realities are tied to this conservative society.

    @Ayesha Hoda…. the time Mona Lisa was painted, Columbus was trying to figure out where to park his ships…. not everything in history belongs to America……i think you are showing true color of your intelligence by speaking out.Recommend

  • Dee

    Also want to add that the happily married independent women don’t flirt with men, they pity them. :PRecommend

  • jamash

    a good girl , fit for marriage, ideal wife is one domesticated girl, who can spend her whole life under the thumb of her husband, – she shouldn’t have an opinion, or a personality other than the one approved by her husband. She should be willing to starve to death but keep her man well fed , an ideal housewife is the one who would be willing to live a live of a slave … That is what our societies Ideal standard is, No actually it has been turned into Our ( Indian subcontinental ) Culture now. Recommend

  • Deen Sheikh

    @AK:
    I can not get an image in my head with regards to who you are, but you certainly sound like some one I might know personally, cause your idea is spot-on accurate with regards to the conservative ideology existing in my family and the need maintain the status-quo. Such attitude is not however uncommon to my family and community, it can also be found amongst Urdu Speaking communities, Delhi walas, Memons etc also, where even young men upon reaching adult hood are brought up in such a way that they are emotionally, socially and financially over dependent on their family particularly their parents, their social and emotional grooming and development is non existent, in fact the independent and free thinking mind is see as a threat to undermining hierarchical authority, where age and status rather than merit dictates who calls the shot. Unlike a lot of very educated families that teach their children how to be independent, whether it is financially or emotionally, concept is non existent even in a lot of affluent families where children, if you are a guy, you are brought up believing that as soon as you reach adulthood, life is all about religion, the family business, getting married and having a very domesticated life, and if you are a girl, your brought up believing that your role in life when you reach home is to get married, move to your in laws and have lots and lots of children, infact efforts to de-empower women are made in my community, those who are able to develop free thinking and demand an education and a career or other things life apart from marriage are ostracized, harassed and marginalized by the community for them choosing a different way of life. Part of that harassment is also that the independent thinkers are seen as those who might inspire the next generation to change, so the free thinkers are demonized.
    And as far taking initiative is concerned, it is easier said than done, its far more complicated then that, in fact in my community an extra step is taken to ensure that free thinking doesn’t happen to late adulthood, such as combinations of subliminal and conditional learning messages that weaken one’s social and analytical skills, demonizing of love marriages, huge PR campaigning of arranged marriages, threats of punishment if a diverse route to life is adopted, demonizing interaction with the opp sex etc, directly or indirectly people keep putting signals in your hand. So I mean it when I say Easier Said than done, its not so easy to shed away entirely the signals or brain washing our community subjects us to from an early age, as unconsciously or subconsciously they effect how we think, we socialize, how we interact and engage others. Recommend

  • http://www.ayeshahoda.wordpress.com Ayesha Hoda

    @salman: I was referring to Mona Lisa Smile – the movie starring Julia Roberts – not the painting by Leonardo Da Vinci. And I am sensible enough not to comment on your intelligence. Please do marry a simple girl only.Recommend

  • Deen Sheikh

    @Zain:
    I Agree so Much with you on your last bit when you said:

    ‘Its very funny btw how females dont even realize how easy it is to have everything their way..’

    Just yesterday, at Atrium Cinema, a couple of ladies shoved and Que-Jumped me shouting on my face, our movie has started, our movie has started I can wait a few more minutes to buy the ticket (despite having been in a Que for over 15 mins and with a back problem not so easy for me), and instead of telling them to get back into Que, the sales person shouts at me also that their movie is about to start I am going to serve them first, you wait a few more minutes, I was like shocked, first the super market(s) now the cinema, so it is Okay for women to Que-jump and if guys even think about it, their labeled as those who love stealing opportunities from women, for some reason this doesn’t feel write.

    And for the ladies, what I am about to say, a lot of you will not like, guys who mistreat you, a lot of them are those who have been on the recieving end of mistreatment by other ladies in their lives, so there is a saying about human nature, which countless psychologists even agree with ‘The oppressed becomes the oppressor and hence the chain multiplies’.
    Very small example, a lot of girls say, they just want a nice humble down to earth polite caring guy in their life, yet when such a guy comes along, at best he becomes a good close friend or a shopping buddy, while a lot of ladies are out chasing guys who display themselves as the rugged bad boy vibe macho alpha males. This marginalization tempts guys to adopt the jerk like attitude in life, and hence another guy is created.Recommend

  • Asad

    @Salman
    well said buddy :)
    The simple girls will always be the ones that guys like to have as life partners and the complex girls will forever be jealous of this fact. One other interesting thing is that the simple girls never get into arguments or on line attacks and its guys like us who have to defend them!
    and believe me simple girls are more brainy then complex girls…its just that they are not exhibitionists unlike the complex ones :)Recommend

  • BM

    ‘Simple’ Girls, as defined above, are usually sought after by men with misplaced egos and certain insecurities. There is a category of men who prefer to have their women stay at home and wait for Mr. Sartaj to bless them with their presence. To agree with everything they say regardless of its intellectual merits. Well, to each his/her own.

    I personally feel opinionated and independent women make for better life partners. They bring something to a relationship, and make the road beyond marriage a fascinating one. Real men aren’t scared of such wonderful creatures.Recommend

  • Karachite in London

    Interesting debate going on about simple and not so simple girls.

    I would like to share some of my experiences. I went to the UK about 7 years ago to study and had some fellow pakistani so called intellectual girls (from Clifton) with me at Uni. Unfortunately they lost their balance when they reached UK and went to pubs, clubs, smoked and some extreme ones even secretly sipped alchohol.

    That were university days. Then I got a job in London and have had some intelligent ‘professional’ women working with me. They are all similar- very headstrong, not ready to accept a differing view point ,etc. There was one ex-colleague in particular, a Pakistani Lady in her 30s at a Manager level and was married. She openly said she was the ‘man’ of her house because her husband did not earn as much as she did. She also confessed that she did not want to have children because it would hinder her promotion prospects to senior manager level.She went out with male colleagues (Sri lankans, Indians, British) for late night dinners while her husband was at home!! Several times it happened during lunch hours that her husband would call her and she would not pick up the cell phone!! I agree that she and some others like her have a high intellectual level and are smart, confident…but was she (and others like her) an ideal wife?? NOT AT ALL. I always pitied her husband!

    So its better to have a simple wife who takes care of home, children, family and husband rather than having an intelligent professional wife who does not answer your calls, refuses to have kids due to career progression and goes out for late night dinners with other men colleagues, while you are at home!!Recommend

  • Karachite in London

    Interestingly this Ultra advanced and highly professional pakistani Lady had a beautiful and intellectual/professional younger sister in Lahore, and being the confident person she was, she openly said that she would like to fix a match (Rishta) between me and her sister. Initially I was tempted because her sister was very beautiful, stylish, educated, intelligent, ultra modern, you name it. But then seeing the lifestyle of the elder sister of late night dinners with other men, not answering calls of hubby, not wanting to have kids, I decided not to marry her younger sister as my life would be similar to the life of her husband- miserable!

    I am not criticising anyone, its their own lifestyle. But when wanting to marry, a man/woman has to decide what he/she wants- simplicity and peace or style, complexity and misery :)Recommend

  • Zain

    @BM : absolutely true, but for that you need men without insecurities!! Stop looking in Pakistan please ;)Recommend

  • Nazish

    I think this London-based Karachites needs to get his act straight. He seems to be getting much too adept at judging women. So what if women go to pubs? Who are you to judge them? At least they have to guts to do things out in the open – unlike you who has commented using a ‘nick”. You might say you’re not criticizing but you technically did.
    As for your marry a simple girl recipe, it doesn’t work all the time. A simple “pind di kuri” won’t be able to adapt to your life in London. Would you be willing to compromise and quit your job for her? I don’t think so. Marriage is a two-way commitment. You can’t expect something without knowing that you’ll have to give. Recommend

  • swa

    @jimmy:
    i have never heard anything more absurd in my entire life…goes on to show why our society is in this state.. the same old thinking “PARHI LIKHI LARKIYAN ACHI NAHI HOTEN”
    it is the most illogical thing to say…as if all JAHIL girls are guaranteed to be good wives… its just that insecure men feel more comfortable marrying illiterate girls…obviously they wont know their rights and can be suppressed easily… its just that men like you get insecure when you see a woman who isnt entirely helpless and weak!!!! Recommend

  • shehryar

    @Asad: u r sick man!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!Recommend

  • Not-Your-Simple-Girl

    I hate the stereotyped definition of a simple girl. We, being not so simple, can’t bat our eyelashes at every other guy, date men while we pretend to be at college, cheat our parents into thinking that we are the perfection personified behind that burqa.Recommend

  • Maira

    @Not-Your-Simple-Girl:
    Well said. Hope, everyone can understand this thing.Recommend

  • AK

    @Not-Your-Simple-Girl:
    too good!! and don’t forget the “sitting in a rickshaw dating the rickshaw driver who’s gonna drive us to the park where we’re gonna date” :D not to mention the ever-so-farigh burqa clad, not-so-parda-daar ladies found with a guy at every other bench in every family park at mid day one of these days. I went with a friend around asar time a few months ago, decided not to go to ANY family park since then!! :P

    @ Deen:

    You cannot bring an image of AK47 aka Aamina Khan in your mind! How dare you? ;)Recommend

  • AK

    @Deen Sheikh:
    Taking the initiative definitely is easier said than done. But one thing is for sure that given the society which we live in, it is easier to say this to a guy than to a girl who has even lesser control of her life!!

    A colleague (a not-so-simple, professional girl) was proposed for marriage by another colleague. His parents visited the girl’s place and ultimately rejected her by saying to their son that they didn’t want a working woman in the family. They gave the guy two options. One, take it as an arranged marriage and let us decide. Two, take it as a love marriage and you decide but remember we wont give any guidance to you later on in life if there are some problems down the lane. (Hello!! Which couple doesnt have problems a couple of years after marriage, be it arranged or love? And this is what i like about a joint family the most that such problems are solved easily with the intervention of thoughtful and experienced elders.) Talk about hypocrisy when the guy was brought up all his life with the idea that all females (including his sisters) have the right to choose whatever they want to do in life and therefore, he himself is ok with the idea of his wife as a working woman! Yet he is facing immense family pressure to choose a domesticated housewife over the girl he likes. In my personal opinion, its upto him and his personal strength whether he can face the pressure, take initiative and bring about a change for the better for the coming generations. The girl doesnt have this decision in her hand.Recommend

  • AK

    @Karachite in London:
    Dear sir, with all due respect, how do you know for sure that the husband was miserable? How do you know for sure that the wife did not give him his due time and attention? Just because she did not receive his calls when she was having lunch? I wouldn’t like to receive calls of my life partner when I’m with people who know me only professionally, not personally. And I would also appreciate if my life partner just tells me via text (or prior understanding of the routine of 1 to 2 lunch break) that he’s busy with colleagues/ friends instead of receiving my call and then having the lovey-dovey chat in front of all and sundry!

    Personal life should be kept separate from professional life and the people in it. Full stop.

    P.S: This may or may not be the case, but just a guess. If the lady is the main bread winner of the family, chances are the call is being made from her money. If she picks it up and tells the hubby that she’s eating, it will cost money. She’d rather miss the call and call back from some landline (chargeable to office expenses) later on just to save money for the family. Girls (esp married, working ones) are usually bigger misers than their husbands (even when they are earning)! :P

    Moral of the story: Stop jumping to conclusions and judging people on the basis of the conclusions you’ve jumped on!Recommend

  • KhS

    @AK:
    Well said “Stop jumping to conclusions and judging people on the basis of the conclusions you’ve jumped on”Recommend

  • http://blogs.tribune.com.pk/author/264/huma-iqbal/ Huma Iqbal

    @AK: If only Express Tribune had a like button!:D Recommend

  • Karachite in London

    @AK

    Dear Madam
    May I say that you seem to religiously defend and justify all professional women in this world, no matter how wrong their actions are. This professional lady I had mentioned about was my colleague for over two years and the conclusion I made was not ‘jumped on’ but derived over a period of time. I even met her husband several times and the poor man was completely sidelined and had become an introvert who had surrendered to the ‘supremacy’ of his professional wife. This lady said to me, in front of her husband, that a man should earn twice as much as his professional wife, knowing fully well that her husband was not in the same high level job as hers and earning a lot less. Now is that a good wife, who trys to shame her husband over earnings or status and in front of her professional colleagues?

    She had wanted her younger sister to get married to me only because I was a career professional. She (and her sis also!) did not seem to have any consideration for any other qualities. This is the mindset of some of the complicated professional ladies I have met.

    But you will still justify their actions because its seems you (and other highly qualified professional ladies) all have a similar nature. Sad indeed.

    All I can hope is everyone finds the match they remain happy with.Recommend

  • Iftikhar Ali

    that girl is so dangerous
    that girl is so dangerous
    that girl is so dangerous
    that girl is so bad girl

    I love bad girl

    I love bad girl

    I love bad girlRecommend

  • http://www.linkodir.com/ khalid

    Really loved reading it till the end. Nice piece of work.Recommend

  • Taboo

    typical!!!Recommend

  • Kamran

    This is a wonderful article , reflecting the issue very well. I read the comments, its good to see people expressing their thoughts and ideology, everyone has different point of views. This debate helped me knowing the point of views from both genders.
    I am a simple and very educated man who belongs to a traditional family and i must confess that the double mind theory is correct. The role of family members in the decision of marriage is one of the etiologic factor.

    personally i would prefer an educated girl who values her traditions , neither too western nor too dumb. And i think many of our society girls now belong to this class.Recommend

  • http://blogs.tribune.com.pk/author/264/huma-iqbal/ Huma Iqbal

    @Kamran: You have summed it up very well, Kamran. Hope that you live up to your expectations more than yours expectations. Good luck. Recommend

  • Kamran

    @Huma Iqbal Thanks a lot Ma’am :)Recommend

  • Hira

    And 1 more thing: Simple girl should not act simple in bedroom… In short, Simple girl is a chabi wala robot .Recommend

  • http://www.tribune.com.pk MUNIB

    When you have “tableeghi” woman on TV (want me to name the channels ?) telling other women that any woman who doesnt observe Nuqab/Burqa/Parda in a “particular” way , her character is Questionable , than its no surprise that there are “thekedarz” of morals

    as there are for “Kufar” and “Patriotism”

    :)Recommend

  • http://www.tribune.com.pk MUNIB

    By the way i am expecting anyone here to write on the flip side i.e a “well settled guy” requirement for marriage :)Recommend

  • http://blogs.tribune.com.pk/author/264/huma-iqbal/ Huma Iqbal

    Hmm…I would love to hear more on this topic. If you can, please get back to me on my email, Munib. Recommend

  • Ijaz Ahmed

    Salaamualaikum and Greetings from the port city of Mumbai

    This is a very delicate topic, and it still manages to raise varying arguments, viewpoints and the likes from different people.

    As some one who comes from a very educated background and has spend considerable amount of time living with, observing and contrasting the social lives of sub continental desis vis-a-vis whites, I believe I can try to cover and sum up differing viewpoints here.

    Theres is this breed of chauvinist guys who cannot accept a woman as an individual at any level and they often seek very timid girls who they think would be the perfect receptacle for anything that comes from them. And unfortunately they confuse it with religion. Sure Islam has laid out the roles for men and women and yes Islam doesn’t encourage women to seek employment in an environment which involves frequent and lasting conversating and intermingling with men but it doesn’t stop them outright if the question is of bread and better since without life there would be no one to follow religion.

    Then there is a small group of ultra liberal guys who seek ultra liberal and extremely confident wives since they believe that life would be more fun and ‘challenging’ that way. They think it is fine if she does what she wants as long as she lets me do what I want. They confuse personal liberties (often unchecked, which often leads to breaking of the family unit) with Islam. They willfully only look at verses which tell them that each will have his own reckoning but they delibarately ignore the shared collective responsibility that cummunities have in Islam. And the family is a very basic community, more like the backbone of other communities in hierarchy.

    Lastly theres a group of educated men like myself who would want a wife who is intelligent, conversant, articulate yet firmly grounded in tradition and understands the importance of leading a religious life. Who stops evil in the house when she confronts it, is the true nurturer and giver that Allah has SWT has desired in a woman. Who doesn’t abuse the freedom that her husband and his family provide to enjoin relationships with men at her workplace other than stricly professional relationship with absolutely no hints of anything beyond even by a small margin. Who understands that Allah SWT has made her the maker or the breaker of the home and isn’t blinded by the mad rat race in her career so much so that her own kids are left at the mercy of the ‘au pair’ who would treat them second class.

    India today offers a very wide variety of professional growth tracks and I am happy to live here but at the same time this has created a conundrum for guys like myself when it comes to choosing a girl for nikah. And I am sure most educated yet traditional and religious men here would agree. Hence going for the less dynamic and perhaps a little less educated woman feels the ‘safer option’ although it may always not be true that they would become an ideal wife but then as they say, when you have to choose between something which has a 50% probability to give what you seek versus something that has a, say 70%, to yield what you seek, you often go with the 70%. And no, I am not the kind of guy who would flirt with the ultra independent modern woman co-worker. By the grace of Allah SWT, I try my best to maintain a distance from them and keep the relation purely professional since that would be cheating on myself and my wife, not to mention taking part in a fitnah and being party to double standards.

    jazakumullahu khair.Recommend

  • prvoker

    Sorry guys I came late to this article … loved reading it though :))

    I hate the hypocrisy of girls, who are rapidly following west , they want to have a boyfriend but they don’t want to be called as “girl friend”, then when that boy friend dump her or refuse to do marriage with her they start saying boys are “cheaters” they say first boys get attention of girls, then offer her friendship then ask her to date and then on and on, but believe me if girls wana copy west and allow her boyfriend to even mingle physically with her before wedlock, then don’t say he “cheated”, because boy can’t get even the attention, if that particular girl don’t want.
    Believe me if boys are “cheater” girls are sitting ready to be cheated, just need a fake promise (to satisfy her inner soul later when he eventually cheat her, so that she could blame her wholeheartedly|)

    I have witnesses myself many girls coming university wearing veil /abahiya but after reaching university they throw all to cover clothes. Isn’t this hypocrisy?

    So stop the double standard attitude, be cherish and a modern girl but always stick to the codes and customs of east (which mostly simple girls adhere). Don’t try to copy west, because in west girls are the mode of entertainment only.

    have a good dayRecommend

  • Dua

    Asslam o Alaikum
    Respected Humma u have done such a Great job…. Recommend

  • Laila

    I think if we’re healthy Muslim families implementing Islamic values in our lives then these are non-issues. Islam gives men and women permission to explore their personalities within the boundaries of goodness defined by Allah(SWT). Problems intervene however, when we try to define goodness according to our earthly understanding.Recommend

  • http://muslimmatters.org/author/Ameera-Khan/ Ameera Khan

    I go with more of Asad’s views. The blog itself is based on too many generalizations to be taken seriously by me, especially because I’m a person who’s midway (or at least strives to be) between both extremes described above. Recommend

  • T

    @jimmy:
    ahahahah…I hope you were just being funny! this is too absurd to be taken seriously..Recommend

  • http://twitter.com/indimuslim101 Mohammad Nisar

    I think in a lot of cases can only be solved if we recognize our problems, case in point is a drug addict if he continues to think, its just an occasion fling with drugs and that no he isnt a case that is worth treating or someone who has a problem etc.. the problem will never see an end
    the truth is a good chunk of us think this way and just reading the word “homely” in a matrimony ad has often made me wonder, does she even have a life of her own?
    this is a issue of concern and it would help if people, atleast say ‘yes its a problem’ and we need to reconsider our stance on it, our we content with Angutha Chap bahus coming into our household or do we want women who contribute to the society and are better mothers to our children, just the change in attitue should help
    Many thanks to Miss Huma Iqbal for evoking the question Recommend

  • Akber

    this blog remind of an article i read on chowk long time back by the writer named ‘bad girl’

    ‘Good girls and Bad Postures’

    http://www.chowk.com/Views/Good-Girls-and-Bad-PosturesRecommend

  • Sara

    @Sophia Husnain: That’s mighty rude. Women like you live to please others. What’s it to you if someone is fat? I say quit being a reformer and be human. And sane. I wonder why the link on your name directs us to your FB page though. Hmm.

    Please note ET, this is a direct attack on the writer. Recommend