It’s your typical Friday night. I’m laying in bed watching Netflix and scrolling through Instagram (does anyone watch TV anymore without checking their phones?). I notice I have a new message request in my inbox. My first thought is “it’s either something inappropriate or it’s some random person who wants to chat.” I proceed to check and it’s some Arab man living in the Middle East telling me how beautiful I am and wants my baba’s number.
Ok, kudos on shooting your shot but the eye roll on my end couldn’t have been any more dramatic. Now, a decision needs to be made—accept? Decline? Delete?
In the age of social media, we have unlimited options. We can scroll through Instagram, see a person we find attractive, and message them if we wanted to. Having the courage to message someone and put yourself out there is one of the most nerve-wracking and exciting things to do. Your heart starts to pound, you reread the message a few hundred times before you hit send. And when you do hit send, you end up continuously checking your phone to see if they have “seen” the message or responded.
Essentially, you’re shooting your shot and the thought of being rejected is scary.
Can Arab women make the first move?
Now, let’s reverse this. I see a man I find attractive on Instagram. We have a few mutual friends, he’s interested in basketball, fitness, and writes music. I make sure to do my research and decide to reply to one of his Instagram stories and try to initiate a conversation. He rejects me, which is fine. But why is it that in the course of 24 hours I hear from a friend that I DM:ed this guy and he’s telling his friend group that I was chasing him. As if I was a trophy? Now, I am marked by all these Arab men as “easy.” Although this a personal experience, I am sure that I am not the only one who has been through this. I am sure this man has messaged multiple women during his life, so why should this be any different?
In the Arab community, we are fed the idea that a man should chase a woman.
If a woman tries to make a move, she’s dubbed “easy” or “desperate.” When my western friends shoot their shot and message a man first, the women are seen are confident and knowing what they want; it even makes them more attractive.
Why do some Arabs choose to belittle a woman rather than embrace the fact a woman can be confident and knows what she wants? If anything, it shows how insecure some Arabs can be that demeaning a woman gives them a sense of power and dominance. A double standard lies here—men can exhibit confidence, but a woman cannot; instead, she’s ostracised.
Not only do some of the men believe this, but there are Arab women who are even more vocal on the matter of shooting your shot. They publicly claim they would never engage in going after a man to show that they are better than the women who do. This is “pick me” behaviour. Throwing your fellow women under the bus to uplift your own image. Who are you trying to impress? The men who belittle women instead of standing up for equality between women and men? You’re worse than they are. Where did this practice of belittling women even come from? Women 1400 years ago in the Arab world owned businesses and were independent. Do some people feel better about their lack of confidence and insecurities by tearing each other down? But that’s a whole different discussion.
Overall, the stigma of desperation and easiness surrounding Arab women who make the first move needs to be thrown out of the Arab mindset. Instead we should be embracing that our women are strong, confident, and can pick whom they want in their life. So why is this so problematic for some? We should all be embracing the fact that someone saw our social media, found us intriguing and attractive, and wanted to engage in a conversation.
Get to know an overview of the person before shooting your shot in their DMs. You’ll go a lot further than a simple compliment.Sarah Daoudi on Shooting your Shot
For example, I am a woman who doesn’t have a father. When a guy uses a lame line like “let me have your baba’s number” it’s a complete trigger. The fact that you didn’t bother to learn anything about me, look through my social media, look at my posts or watch my stories to learn about my interests shows a complete lack of respect and almost a superficial nature. Why would I message you back? Into the delete pile, you go. However, if you saw my post about my trip to Morocco, you could ask for travel advice. Or if I posted something political, you could initiate a discussion on Trump vs. Biden. Get to know an overview of the person before shooting your shot in their DMs. You’ll go a lot further than a simple compliment.
Now some people are just jerks and even with this approach nothing will work. But in the end, consider this a natural selection to filter out the jerks anyway.
Ladies, don’t be afraid of rejection and embrace your beauty as a confident strong woman who knows what she wants and also be respectful of the men that message you. Men, embrace that women know what they want and she’s choosing YOU of all people. Everyone, do your research and be kind to one another. Finding love isn’t easy and mutual respect is the foundation to any relationship.