Senegal dating culture

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The only thing I heard as a child on the subject of my future as a woman was along the lines of how I could be anything I wanted to be.

This set up a large surprise for life in Dakar, in a society that is 95 percent Muslim, with very specific ideas about the role of women in society.

In Turkey, you must be married in a legal civil ceremony.

Many couples choose to have a religious ceremony a few days before the legal ceremony, where they invite family and friends to a service and then reception - much like western-style weddings.

Despite this level of specificity about how women should be good housewives and mothers, and about their secondary status compared to men, gender relations are very complicated and much less cut and dried than simply the gender dynamics of conservative Islam.

The most obvious manifestation of this is polygamy.

While the Catholic faith is often criticized for some of its policies regarding restrictions on women in the Church hierarchy, it does not share the same rigor of beliefs about the role of women in orthodox Islam.

Yet, if the monogamous and polygamous, Islamic and Christian alike, members of Senegalese society share the same general attitude towards women, and it is not due to a shared religion, what is the explanation?

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However, the societal manifestations of the belief in the inferiority of women stretch much farther than just the legality of polygamy.Not only is polygamy technically legal, it is widely accepted throughout modern Senegalese society—a large number of my friends on the program live in families that share their father between two or more homes.In some cases, the two wives and their children live in houses right next door to one another.“Chez les toubabs,” my dad said, “the wife orders the husband around.But here, chez les senegalais, we know how it is really supposed to be in marriage.” This incident evidences how the Senegalese attitude about women is not as integrally linked with Islam as I had supposed.

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