Families play an important role in our lives and those of us who are fortunate to come from loving homes should feel blessed. That’s how I felt this weekend after attending a family event at my uncle’s house. The event was held in honor of a family member who had returned from treatment in Germany, and as a mini-birthday celebration for my younger sister. So, I came to the conclusion that they would be the subjects of my sociological blog.
This event, unlike most, had both males and females interacting together in an informal manner. This is partially due to the fact they are all family members, and aren’t complete strangers. Sitting in a corner of the room I thought to myself what is the most important feature of my family. Ins this culture the family (and not just your nuclear family) functions as the official law enforcers that make sure that no religious/social taboos are broken. Knowing that any member of your family could be watching you anywhere you go makes you think twice about just thinking about doing something that would harm your reputation, and of course the theirs.
My uncles are big on exogamy, whereas my aunts stuck to good old endogamy. Now this isn’t because they weren’t interested in marrying someone “different” to themselves, it’s because they aren’t allowed to. It’s definitely a double standard; men are encouraged and are socially praised (sometimes) for marrying outsiders, while women are shun upon. Three out of my five uncles have married either Europeans or someone from another Arab country other than Qatar.
While watching them all eat dinner I realized that the men were the ones with who did the productive work, and the women did the reproductive work. My uncles work as in the military, one of them is a pilot, and the rest are work as senior executives of organizations. They do all the practical work in order to produce something, take over the “manly” positions in society to look good to their families and the rest of society. On the other hand five of my six aunts are teachers, and one of them is stay at home wife. The women got stuck with the reproductive jobs of being the educators and the caregivers in the family.
My family has its weird quirks but that’s what makes it different from any other person’s family. It’s big family that supports all its members through thick and thin no matter what. Towards the end of the night old family videos were shown and in them I saw just how much my family have helped shape the way that I am, and the way the rest of my cousins. They did their job to the best of their abilities. The home videos showed exactly how they socialized us into individuals that this society would accept, and by looking around me I saw that they set an example of how to take care of the elderly. Life wouldn’t be worth living if you didn’t have people to share it with, people who love you unconditionally, because that’s they were socialized to do.