Divorce—though originally sanctioned more than 1,400 years ago by Islamic law—is still widely viewed in Muslim societies as a subversive act that breaks up the family. Women who seek divorce can often find themselves ostracized and treated as immoral. Despite such taboos and restrictions, however, divorce rates are rising across Islamic countries, even in ultra-conservative places like Afghanistan.” SOURCE: NY Book Review

This is a difficult subject to discuss in the classroom, but it hits as many of the important cultural norms that surround social interactions that are gender-based. Cultural norms explore more than just the legal rights that people many have, but they also look at the cultural expectations, and the communal/family responsibilities that they are seen to have in their society. Divorce is legal in Turkey, but because it was heavily stigmatized, it was quite rare. Today, modern cultural influences from outside the region, (i.e.-the cultural affects of globalization) are promoting and changing traditional cultural norms of the region. This is a very insightful look into the lived-experience of divorce in the Middle East that gives a sense of the cultural impacts of gendered norms.

GeoEd Tags: culture, cultural norms, gender, Turkey, MiddleEast.