Magazines at Borders

Today during lunch, I did what every girlie girl likes to do- go shopping for some magazines. At Borders bookstore there is a great variety of magazines… Both Domestic and International- From the Latest Vogue to the Teenage scene to Home to Design, to History your name it- they have it…

Which brings to mind how such variety can make you even pick up hobbies- I love to knit and crochet– remnants of my grandmother’s upbringing where every one of us learned to sew, cook, embroider, crochet and knit (though I was the one who taught her how to knit when she was a tender 90 years old! LOL). It’s a Dominican thing- a woman is not fit for marriage if she can’t handle her household and do everything in it- even if she later gets a maid- she still needs to know how everything is done so that she can give correct instructions.

So, in all my pickings of magazines I got one called “Women and Home” from England, “More”, “Body + Soul”, and “Knit”. This last one had some nice summer sweaters and other crafty items one could make. The Body + Soul is very nice because it gives advice on greener, simpler, and healthier living. “More” geared for women over 40 with a variety of articles on the lifestyle of women like me who do a lot more than the teenage crowd. “Woman & Home” was new on the stand and I wanted to see what it was all about- also geared for women in their 30’s and 40’s and beyond, However, packed with interesting information.

Moreover, it is these things that when I read about, for example, what the ME thinks about women of the West they fail to point out. We have so many things we can do with our days, our lives…we can pick and choose hobbies to satisfy ourselves. Its not all about the shortest dress and the latest make up- though I must say I think we wear less makeup (publicly) than the women in the ME (privately).

However, I am also aware from the conversations I have heard from other women in the masajid and in informal groups, that our lives seem or should seem empty other than prayer and the study of the Qur’an (hear goes my nun mental picture) and giving birth to babies… My giving birth days are over- my youngest will be 16 years old soon and while I dedicate time to prayer and study of the Qur’an, I do not believe it needs to be the only thing to occupy my days (not to mention I have a demanding career)…that is why I think many women in the ME occupy their days with gossip.

I remember in Yemen how everyone was flabbergasted at the variety of hobbies I had…some I shared with my husband; some were mine alone…like taking pictures and using Acrobat to change them into Impressionistic like drawings that he would print and arrange in our suite. Alternatively, knit, read, write or even crochet a cover for the jalsas or a small purse for one of my sister in laws…or the simple mending of clothes from the wear and tear that is usual when you live in a mountainous region. They could not comprehend why I would “waste” my time in that- while all they did all day was cook (unless they had maids- which most Yemeni women do not), wash, sleep and chew Qat (disgusting social habit) and gossip until the wee hours…And they are definitely not the cleaning, decorating type- they wait for their husbands to tell them before they do anything!

If I had and did choose, I would do the things that were useful and productive…I mean I could clean better than they could; I could cook just as well or even better (definitely with more variety)- Yemeni cuisine is nothing to write home about- and I am a clean freak so my suite in the compound was always airy, clean, and tidy.

If only the ME would look at the West, with out the ever present “perdition mode like glasses” they use, and actually looked at us.  They would find we are busy people…we don’t have time for the endless gossip of who got more gold or a new dress- yes we get girlie but we have lives that are geared to produce something of value.  We don’t go around sizing every man or woman for their sexual potential- that’s Hollywood and comercialized Media -not America. Nor do we wake up in the morning thinking today is just another day in blah land where everything I do will be analyzed through a fine tooth comb and microscope. We are people who do things beyond those always stated as the reason the West can never come closer to the East and viceversa.

We like to do things we can be proud of…at least that’s my opinion!

What’s your take?


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