Is the struggle of the women in Islamic countries the same as Latino women?

I have dedicated my entire adult life to the study of Spanish culture, grammar, literature, linguistics, and history. I married a man from Mexico. And I remain in my spare time continually curious, fascinated, and in awe of everything I learn. My initial primary area of interest when I started graduate studies was to pursue research in the area of the linguistic heritage and oral traditions of the southwest United States, mainly New Mexico. The Spanish spoken in Northern New Mexico (and the culture) is beautiful, and unique to the Spanish spoken everywhere else on the planet. Since I suspect my own biological roots may have in part come from this region it was something I was (still am) passionate about.

Every now and then I make connections about something new in pursuit of my own studies, (on my own) and tonight I made another one....

I am connected to the "Latinos" in my community and was invited to a party. When my friend said in passing conversation, "Ojala que si." (Which is like saying, "May Allah make it so"'s a totally Arabic derivitive.")....I remembered sophomore year, History of Spain, etc etc....I remembered the immense influence the moorish culture has had on the Spanish culture in every way and then I started thinking deeper about the implications of this for the United States......and really honestly for myself. It was a realization how I MYSELF in my thinking, attitudes about family, my prior religious fervor, the way I acted towards my husband, the way I still think and act today, and the way the United States Latino community is shaping the future of our country without realizing how much of who "we" are, how much of who "I" am is....well......Arabic!

Anyone on TA who has known me for a while knows I am deeply passionate about helping women escape, learn, understand, prevent, and overcome any form of abuse. It is sort of my new mission in life, lol. While much of what we think as women is shaped by our current (or former) religious attitudes, I would also argue that a great deal of what we think is a result from our cultural upbringing as well, which is largely how we form attitudes towards normative behavior in "our" own culture. For those of us who have superceeded our culture and become atheists in the face of the many ways we are warned against that as an acceptable world view makes the many Atheist women reading this right now extremely strong and empowered no matter what part of the globe you live on.

So after this long winded introduction to the actual discussion, I am going to provide a link to a video of a missionary talking about "evangelizing" North Africa with "Latinos," ....

So I am wondering a few things:

1. Isn't it ironic that even though most Latinos are either Catholic, Christian, or Jewish, that their entire culture is based on Arab roots which are Muslim?

2. If the United Stated gets to the point that Latinos are the majority would that make us a "Christian nation" with primarily Muslim cultural influence?

3. For women who identify as Latino/Hispanic/Chicana...whatever you call yourself do you as a woman feel the negative aspects of your culture and realize that they are SO similar to the same struggles women in the Arab world face? Or do you believe that the "Marianismo/Catolicismo" mentality has counteracted the oppression? Deepened it? Confused it? Or do you even see a connection worth pondering?

I can give an example to bring this to life:..."Machismo."

Most Latino men are "macho." The dominant expectations of men are very similar to that of Arab men and the way they carry themselves physically is also similar. In a marriage many women have "Ni voto ni voz," (neither a vote or a say) and the husband makes....ALL the decisions if he wants to. There is immense pressure to have a LOT of kids. (I got this from my ex-husband's family.).....I could go on and on. I'm wondering if any Atheist women from this culture have additional insights.

So this discussion is meant to be multi-faceted in discussing the connection of the Latino/Spanish culture worldwide, and the Arab culture....and the religious and/or cultural attitudes and standards that exist, particularly to how it affects the women.

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I think most of us can agree that the only thing wrong with sex roles is when they are expected and enforced. If a couple decides that they want one of them to be a stay-at-home parent and that—for whatever reasons that make sense to them—they decide that the husband should be the one to go to work daily and the woman should be the primary childcare person, that's their right and it's really nobody's business but theirs.

One can argue that the woman is giving up career-building years of her life, but couldn't we say the same about the man if he is the one staying home?

Now, let me bring up something obvious which, nevertheless, tends to be controversial in some circles, which is that men and women, as the product of millions of years of evolution and as such tend to have some ingrained, inherited, hard-wired tendencies and talents which result in common sex roles. 

When I say these sex roles are common, I don't mean to say that biology is destiny, for we can, where we wish, defy these roles. However, it's no one's duty to defy them.

One of the unfortunate effects of the rise of feminism in the 1960's and 1970's was that women seemed to feel an obligation to pursue a career outside the home whether they wanted one or not, and to measure their success in terms of their pursuits outside the home. 

My ex went though that period. She is very smart and got an MS in computer science, and became a well-paid engineer with a talent for reading machine code (1's and 0's). She pursued this career while our daughter grew up. 

About that time, she quit that job and married a friend (we had been divorced for a while by the time that happened). Now, she hardly spends any time online and certainly does no software engineering. 

I kind of wonder if she now feels her career years would have been better spent being at home to be closer to our daughter.

@Unseen: I would be a stay at home mom/wife and have lots of kids (within reason) and be the happiest woman alive. I would love to do that while pursuine school (masters) and my own business (on the side). My ex never supported my wishes. He WANTED me to work, mostly because my earning potential is a lot higher. I have a B.A, he has 8th grade education and doesn't speak English.

True story: I was taught (in college) that "secundaria" is like high school. The way he uses it he means "middle school." So for years (about 5 years) of knowing him I assumed he had completed high school....well, when we were in an appointment with a vocational rehab counselor after his lumbar fusion from a work accident the translator they hired said, "he's had some middle school."...............I was in shock. I had married a man with an 8th grade education by way of a vocabulary misunderstanding.

I made up my mind in about 5 seconds that it didn't matter, realizing it was my mistake not his, and that I loved him anyway.... I never told him of my misunderstanding or held it against him.

His attitude has always been towards me, "why did you go to school if you're just going to stay home?"...nevermind that he stayed home for several years. I still feel the tears well up when I think of missing my son's younger years.

I don't know if it's still the case, but when I was growing up in the Cleveland, Ohio, area, there was junior and senior high school, no middle school, at least in the public school system.

You're an example of how females are wired a little different from males. 

Someone said (and of course this is one of those gross generalizations with a shade of truth in it) that, "A woman will make a hut for her family and move into it and turn it into a home. A man will make a hut for his family, help them move in, and then go and build another hut."

Perhaps you could look at a different, unrelated culture in which women are also oppressed and compare. It's a difficult and complex task to sufficiently well control for enough factors that you can isolate real causes from coincidences.

SO true Daddy Love, I wouldn't even want to begin to construct a feasible hypothesis to test for (yes I would, :) lol) science is one of my fav subjects. This is definately a multifaceted type of discussion with too many layers to get to the "root" of anything...we'll just see where it goes, lol.


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