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Arab Twitterati Debate: Is Polygamy the Solution for Spinsters?

JAFFA, Israel – Ahead of Tuesday’s International Women’s Day, Arab social media has been abuzz with discussions about the troublesome phenomenon of “aness” (spinsters) – single women older than 35, and in some countries 30.

The stigmatized phenomenon is seen as a consequence of increasing financial hardships among men that prevent them from starting families, fearing they will be unable to provide for them.

Using the hashtag #Polygamy_is_solution_for_spinsters, users have said that the solution should first and foremost consist of tackling unemployment and paying decent salaries to young men, so that they can start a family.

One Twitter user, Samia Alharbi, wrote in reply: “If polygamy is financed by the husband then there’s no problem, but if it falls on the shoulders of the first wife, then…”

Twitter user Houdaifa, for her part, made an original suggestion: “A man who has the means to marry a second woman should support a single man who’s struggling financially and consider it charity!”

“Our women take religion upon them voluntarily, except the principle that allows men to marry four women,” wrote user Shaateh. “Then, they become Jewish.”

Twitterer Lama protested: “Will you men accept another man as a partner in your relationship with your wife? Of course not… So why do you expect us women to condone polygamy?”

Nayef Alsahafe tweeted: “When women are asked to cook for their husbands, they say they’re not bound by religion to do so. But when they’re told that polygamy is sanctioned by Islam… OK, so don’t cook.”

Sarah wrote sarcastically: “If you’re so concerned about following the religious order of polygamy, why don’t you start by going to mosque. Be truly religious before you start talking about polygamy.”

Ula scolded the men who saw polygamy as the solution: “Your solutions always originate in your pants. Try to tackle divorce before you turn to single women.”

Twitter user Marwan, however, was firm in his support for polygamy: “First of all, polygamy is part of our religion. Second, it will make spinsters disappear. One heart can make four women happy. Men are great…”

He posted a drawing of a man riding a bicycle, followed by his four women, and said:

“Behind every great man there’s a woman… Just imagine how great he’ll be with four!”

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