The pioneers of social networking sites in a number of Arab countries are circulating the hashtag #Marry_Without_Dower, and Arab media are talking about what they say is a “campaign launched by Lebanese activists to solve the ‘spinsterhood’ crisis”, so what is the story of this hashtag?
The hashtag topped the trend lists on Twitter in countries including Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Egypt, but it did not appear on the list of the most popular hashtags on Twitter in Lebanon.
Searching on Twitter shows the hashtag circulation day 29 August in Jordan in the tweets of men talking about “the campaign #Marry Me Without Dowry launched by young women to help young people get married.”
And the research on Facebook shows that the news started circulating in Algeria on 28 August and talks about a campaign for young Algerian women.
Using the same image, you will find news that the campaign was launched by girls from Syria.
Then news emerged that the campaign was Jordanian.
Then the news spread as a campaign launched by young Lebanese women, accompanied by a picture of a girl holding the Lebanese flag in her hand.
The research shows that the picture is taken from the demonstrations that Lebanon witnessed in 2019 .
It seems that the economic crisis in Lebanon, and the media spotlight on the country in this period, made the talk about the Lebanese campaign more believable to some and more worthy of newspaper headlines.
Why all the momentum?
Whatever the source of the campaign or its launcher, it is certain that it witnessed a wide spread and found its way to the largest newspapers, media outlets and communication in more than one country.
This indicates that the issue of the dowry and similar material conditions for marriage are of great importance to people in our societies and constitute a real crisis in some of their circles.
Some took advantage of the spread of the hashtag to open a space to talk about the material conditions of marriage, which many are unable to fulfill, and those who fulfill them may incur long-term burdens and debts.
They hope to talk and provoke discussion about the matter to bring about a change that makes the lives of those who are about to get married easier.
Of course, there are those who oppose the idea of women giving up the dowry, which some women consider as evidence of their high status when they ask for it, and some of them brag to each other about the value of her dowry.
For some women, the dowry is insurance for what may happen after the engagement, especially if they believe the proverbs that put a man in constant doubt just because he is a man.
This may also be the case for someone who is forced to marry or marries a man whom she did not know sufficiently.
The idea was also rejected by those who consider the dowry “a condition for a valid marriage,” even if it was a symbolic dowry.
The dowry is not the only “burden”
But the discussion about the marking does not revolve around the abolition of the dowry in particular, but rather a symbolization of the expensive dowries and unfair financial conditions, which stand in the way of those who want to marry.
Sana from Lebanon says that “many families do not care about the dowry in marriage, but the man’s possession of a house in which he gets married is a condition that families adhere to and is a reason for disrupting and ending the marriage of many, given the difficulty of providing the money necessary to buy a house in light of the crisis in the country.”
Regarding marriage in light of this period in the lives of the Lebanese, Sana says that “many of the Lebanese preferred to speed up marriage in the recent period, even by abandoning some conditions, given the situation of the country now and the fears of what might happen to it in the future.”
In Egypt, controversy has always raged over the many conditions of marriage, other than the dowry, in the upfront and down payment of the dowry and the gold that is given to the bride, which is called the shabaka.
In addition to what the wife’s family may require of a house, a car, or others.
In addition to these conditions is also what is caused by the comparisons within the extended family between the marriage of one woman and another.
These comparisons may cause pressure on married couples, adding to the financial burdens of marriage.
As is the case with those who were enthusiastic about the #MarryMeWithout_Dowry campaign from different countries and circles, individuals and groups continue to try to bring about a change in the prevailing concept of marriage and its conditions and change the customs associated with it.
These customs have become impossible in light of the economic conditions experienced by large segments of our societies.