Behind the Harem Doors: What the Real Life of Arab Wives Is Like

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Polygamy and harems, the absence of education and legal lack of rights, glittering diamonds and hijabs — the lives of Arabic wives have so many stereotypes in the eyes of foreigners that it becomes difficult to distinguish the truth from the myths.

Elavonia decided to find out what the real life of beautiful and mysterious Eastern women is all about.

Arranged marriage

  • Half of the marriages in Arabic countries are still arranged according to the parents’ will.And most people think that nobody asks the opinion of the girl. In fact, if the future bride doesn’t like the groom, she can refuse his proposal.
  • The signing of a marriage contract is compulsory. Unlike the rest of the world, it’s a mandatory rule in Arab countries.
  • Arabic women rarely marry men from other religions because they can be deported from their country for such a marriage. Men have more privileges in this situation and are allowed to marry Christian and Jewish girls. But in this case, the girl will not get citizenship and the children will stay with their father if they divorce.
  • The age for getting married. In most Arabic countries there is a minimum age for grooms and brides, which is 18 years old. For example, citizens of Tunisia can get married at 18 according to the law, but the average age of brides is 25 and grooms are 30. However, in some developing countries, early marriages are still popular. In Saudi Arabia and Yemen, for example, most of the girls get married before the age of 18.
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