The western world is a more free world than the Arab world. I don’t like to generalize but that’s my personal opinion. In the west I guess it has become okay to embrace the different types of men’s behaviors. Like Sutherland discusses in her book, there are many different ways a man can be a man. There’s the heartless tough man figure, referred to in his book as the terminator, after Arnold Schwarzenegger in the movie terminator. And there’s the emotional sensitive understanding man figure, referred to in his book as the kindergarten commando. Of course those two are the extremes, there are gray areas in between where other people lie.
In the Arab world, the kindergarten commando is not an accepted way of life, and if a man were anything but a “terminator” they would start to question his sexual orientation. This was reflected in my friends’ behaviors on the beach. I noted “macho” behaviors, or what they considered as expression of their masculinity, like logging heavy rocks and wood around to make a bonfire, cooking the meat (meat is a very manly type of food for Arabs, so cooking it on the beach with the fire they made represents their masculinity), and finally, ordering the girls around to clean, set the place where we’re going to eat and organize the seating area. When the girls offered to help with the fire making or meat cooking however, the men replied with “of course not! What kind of man do you think I am”?
I found it extremely interesting to take theories based on the behaviors in west and apply them to the Middle East. It has proven that what people consider appropriate or acceptable differs drastically between different parts of the world.