The "Aayb" culture

Avril 2022

Some old mentalities in our society will swing the word "aayb" at practically anything: asking a woman about her age? "Aayb". Talking back to an elderly person even when they disrespect you? "Aayb", you must respect your elders no matter what they do. Questioning the correctness of your parents' choices, opinions, and habits? "Aayb", they know best. Refusing to do something because it will negatively impact your mental health? "Aayb", you're being selfish.

I feel like this concept is just used to guilt people into doing things, trapping their freedom of opinion in a cage of irrational standards they must live up to or else society will look down upon them. I also believe this cage is even more restricting and suffocating for women. From a very young age, this word is repeated to them for the simplest of reasons: talking loud, wearing whatever they want, expressing their opinions freely, being ambitious and stepping out of the box drawn for them. One slip and they fall from grace, whereas their male counterparts go on breaking rule after rule without any reproach.

Shaming people for not adhering to an outdated mentality is holding society back. We are no longer living in the Dark Ages, and do not need any more setbacks in a world that is developing almost too fast to keep up with. They say if you cannot beat them, join them and since Lebanese society is so hard to change, with constant criticism being the air it breathes, how about we turn our shaming towards other, more correct targets?

From now on, instead of shaming our boys for not "manning up" when they show emotions or cry, we should shame everyone who still spreads these beliefs of toxic masculinity. Instead of shaming our girls for wearing clothes that are "revealing", we should shame the people who sexualize them and will do so no matter what they wear. Instead of shaming people with mental or physical disabilities, or mental health issues, we should shame the social protection system in our country that does nothing to help them. Instead of shaming people who pursue any form of art because "it cannot provide a decent standard of living" and because they refused the careers their parents forced them into and the ones that are the most approved of by society, we should shame the political class that made it impossible to make a living out of arts in the country that was once the most beautiful muse.

This method can be described as fighting fire with fire, which might seem useless to some, but it is my way to prompt a much-needed social change by pointing the finger at the root of the problem instead of surface level criticism. So dear reader, will you be the change our Lebanese society needs?


Rafka Tanios

M1 Interprétation