No matter how much growing you do, on whatever spiritual/physical/mental/economic level you do it, Arab society could judge and limit you simply for being a woman.
Nevertheless, women are gaining ground when it comes to civil rights and personal freedoms, even if the fight is far from over.
Here are 8 things women are told not to do in Arab societies today, and why they're outdated:
1. Travel Alone
Traveling alone without a male accompanying you is a shunned activity for an Arab woman.
You need a guardian to keep you safe from the evil eye, right? No.
This is only a misconception, as many women around the Arab world have proven that traveling alone is not only a possibility, but a fact - with many even doing the flying themselves.
Smoking is bad for your health regardless of gender. However, women are more judged for it than their male counterparts.
While men are playfully seen passing the shisha pipe to three and four year-olds without a word being told to them, women are often scolded for a cigarette.
3. Move Out
While moving out of the familial home may be seen as a step towards independence, especially for men, this simply isn't the case for women in the Arab world.
But times, they are a changing, and women - just like men - deserve society's trust and respect when it comes to being independent.
Really, there shouldn't be a reason why men get to do certain things while women are restricted solely based on what's in between their legs.
4. Have a relationship out of wedlock
In what parallel universe will Arab women be able to date without losing their lives?
'Honor' killings have no place in society in this day and age.
5. Be a single mother
The case of Hadeer Mekawy is a popular example of how a typical Arab society will react to a woman acting according to her free will without negatively affecting anyone.
But we have to ask ourselves: What's more beneficial to society? Children who are stigmatized for being born to single mothers and deprived of their rights? Or children who are loved and cherished by the communities regardless of their parents' status?
Really, this should be a no-brainer.
6. Have a night job
Earning a living as a woman after sunset is seen as something that might bring shame to the family.
But, change is happening. Saudi Arabia, for example, is allowing women to work in four sectors with night shifts.
7. Remain single after the age of 30
As if marriage is a mandatory part of the human experience.
Most of the time it's done out of obligation rather than desire and consent, so, really, what's the point?
The number of unmarried Arabs, whether men or women, is on the rise regardless of what society desires.
8. Have no kids once married
Married and childless is a rare phenomenon in the Arab world, but having children is not the obligatory price a woman must pay to be happily married.
Just live and let live. People, and women especially, should be allowed to make their own decisions when it comes to such things. It's not like 'society' will be taking care of the children anyway.
P.S: According to The Guardian "researchers have studied how having children affects a marriage, and the results are conclusive: the relationship between spouses suffers once kids come along."
"Comparing couples with and without children, researchers found that the rate of the decline in relationship satisfaction is nearly twice as steep for couples who have children than for childless couples. In the event that a pregnancy is unplanned, the parents experience even greater negative impacts on their relationship."