Friday, February 17, 2012

Culture and Gender Boundaries

On the 14th of February, Qatar celebrated its first official National Sports Day. As many went out to join in on the activities, all over Doha, culture flourished across the streets. From early morning till late in the dusk evening, people showed off their athletic abilities and their sense of fashion and culture.

But wait, how can everyone just go out and have a great time while still maintaining their cultural and Islamic bounds? Well in Qatar, people sure knew how to do that.

As I walked around through Aspire Park with my family, I was constantly shown the diversity in this country. How foreigners fit so perfectly with Arabs or locals was very amusing to see and experience.

The children had their playground and an area specific to celebrate the Sports Day filled with trampolines and bouncy castles. They jumped and screamed and laughed, one might consider the boys and girls to be of one generation, one unity. There is no gender line to cross when you’re that young, but then they realize this, as they grow older.

The gender line was clearly drawn later as I saw a group of men and women sitting together, but not with each other. There had been a certain distance between them. The women were covered up in the traditional Abaya, while the men wore their traditional Thobes.

Other families across the park didn’t seem to mind the gender line, however you can see the pattern occur to the different families. Every family was sitting closely compact together. Leaving sufficient space between them and the other families at the park. This proves that people not only follow gender boundaries, but also social norms.

The people cheered and waved at the marathon participants as they ran by them on the track. Some people even booed off ones who had tried to cut through the grass and not run with the other participants. I must be honest, I was one of those boo-errs, it just wasn’t fair!

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