Each year, the Ramadan TV series serves as a starting point for discussions on a range of social issues – from the banal to the controversial. This year, 15 episodes of the Egyptian dramatakhtwasaya(translate tounder guardianshipEnglish) attracted a considerable number ofattentionIt describes the challenges a widowed mother faces after her husband dies. The show's themes -- through its poignant representation of a woman suffering under a patriarchal society and legal system -- are downright political. There is even a lot of discussion around this serieshintAt least two members of Egypt's parliament have called for a review of the country's guardianship laws.
Obvious oppression like the one experienced by the play's protagonists is widely and rightly recognized to have a political dimension, but family life in general—even in the happiest of families—reflects and conflicts politics on multiple levels.
baby born, upload video
on youtubevideoIn the video, which has garnered 22 million views since it was uploaded in early 2021, a young father named Anas leads his viewers to witness the birth of his second child son. When the video starts, it's around 9 p.m. and Anas and his wife, Asala, are getting ready to leave for the hospital. He shared his feelings on the big day ahead of Asala, who was pregnant and visibly exhausted, telling the couple's millions of subscribers, "Honestly, I want to shoot every moment." Nas agrees: "We're not going to hide anything from you . . . [It's going to be] as if you're with us." Many viewers are with them; One of the good ones is the one documenting the incident of the same baby sexExpectedOn the Burj Khalifa.
Arab YouTube stars — including those from countries experiencing conflict or economic crisis — have risen to prominence in the UAE, which has even granted "golden visas" to many talented individualsinfluencerand YouTubepersonality.In fact, Asala and Anas are just a couple in the family-oriented Dubai YouTube environment, which also includesAzazarurand her husband Nur Yassin,Essam and Nour,Shahad and Seamand, and others that constitute a slightly amorphous "lifestylecategory. Content from these creators centered around everyday happenings in and around their homes is hugely popular.
Typical videos include holiday celebrations, shopping trips, vacations, and various pranks and challenges. Regardless of the content discussed, however, the more interesting elements of this type of video are the cooperative negotiations between husband and wife on camera—thus, husbands are often actively involved in parenting, and their openness displays caretaker traits.
in the most recentvideoIn a post by Shahad and Siamand titled "A full-day routine in our new house with two kids," the couple separates their day's organizational tasks from their parenting tasks, even writing various jobs and assign them to each other. Likewise, Essam and Nour explain in their annual Ramadan series how they intend to take turns cooking each night throughout the month. The genre’s embrace of fatherhood is further demonstrated by Saudi Youtuber Mohamed Moshaya, who maintains one of the best performanceschannelIn the area, focus on his daily activities with his four children. in 2020interview, Moshaya highlighted the gratifying feedback he received from viewers: "People . . . have said that after their husbands started watching our videos, they went out more as a family because that It's what we do . . . the fact that our content makes people more loving is really special to me."
Yet while the depiction of a marriage partnership in a family vlog video might be considered noteworthy, the role played by the creators remains -- at least in part -- traditional. In fact, some of the wives of popular couple groups, including Shahad of Shahad and Siamand and Nour of Essam and Nour, have their own successful spin-off channels that revolve around women's lifestyle topics such as beauty, fashion and mass ofclean.So in some ways, these families are cashing in on traditional roles rather than defying them - and that's a trend tooObservedThe experience of an Arab woman who hosts a well-known cooking channel on YouTube. The choice to create content aimed at women was a strategic choice, and that content's — perhaps unintentional — focus on homemaking was evidence-based.
politics at home
Arguably, Arab Vlog Family conveys a more candid model of family life that challenges stereotypical depictions of authoritarian husbands and families characterized by strict gender mandates. While clearly an important part of home vlog content creation, this arrangement is not necessarily standard across the Arab world.
The distribution of housework in the Arab region is extremely unfair. According to the 2020 UN WomenReport, the region has the highest ratio of time spent on unpaid care work to men, with women spending between 17 and 34 hours per week on these tasks, while men spend an average of just one to five hours on these tasks. (It should be noted that this is a gap that persists globally - afactMade even more apparent by the COVID-19 pandemic. ) This difference is directly related to women's participation in economic life outside the home: the female labor force participation rate in the region isestimatedHovering around 19%.
Also, with regard to attitudes towards family life, the results of the Arab Barometer 2022pollshows that views are slowly shifting in favor of women's equality, but traditional expectations still prevail. At least six in 10 in half of the Arab countries surveyed in 2021 agree with the view that men should have the final say on all family-related decisions. Additionally, the International Men and Gender Equality Survey (IMAGES) published in 2017highlightIn Lebanon, Egypt, Palestine and Lebanon (the four Arab countries surveyed), only one in 10 to one in three men reported that they had recently performed a traditionally female task such as cooking, cleaning Hygiene or bathe the child. Given this situation, it is perhaps predictable that, according to the same survey, a majority of men and about half of women support the idea that a woman's most important role is caring for the home.
politics outside the home
When the film's Arabic version hits theaters in early 2022, the nature of family relationships — especially fatherhood — will be a hot topicperfect strangercausedisputeacross the Middle East, especially since there's a gay character and a woman involved in an affair (coincidentally, played by Mona Zaki,takhtwasaya), and a dialogue depicting a father and daughter about her relationship with her boyfriend. Georges Khabbaz, who plays the father, saidinterviewThe film "encourages openness and transparency between parents and children," adding that "intergenerational communication is somewhat closed off in the Arab world." Despite criticism of the film - which included an Egyptian Member of Parliamentcallban Netflix - iton topTop streaming companies in the region.
Indeed, entrenched powerholders in the Middle East have long been wary of spreading so-called alien cultural values through technology and globalization. For example, the UAE — the influencer destination itself —prohibit2022 Pixar Movieslight years,claiming that same-sex kissing in the film violated its media standards. same fate as anumberAmong the recent releases that allude to LGBTQ+ characters, this one alsoRestrictedIn Bahrain, Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Oman, Qatar, Syria, Palestine and Saudi Arabia.
In contrast, on the face of it, home vloggers make content that isn't anything overtly controversial, and the topics depicted aren't taboo enough to invite some opinionated scolding in the comments section. However, these content creators are very honest, inviting viewers into their private lives and relationships. It's unclear what impact these vlog channels will have, but they could lead to an attitude shift among subscribers becausetheoreticalPerceptions of social roles and issues in the region are influenced, at least in part, by perceptions of the beliefs and behavior of peers in society. Perhaps videos like this only make the gendered dimensions of housework and the decisions that affect those tasks—whether in the private or public sphere—more apparent.
In the post-Arab Spring era, local governments have certainly recognized the disruptive potential of social media platforms like YouTube. In the long run, however, the home vlogger's urge to "capture every moment" may be the most political of all. One wonders if any government officials are watching, apparently mindful of the real-world implications that fictional stories can have.
Kaitlyn Hashem is an Assistant Editor at Sada. Follow her on Twitter:@Kate Hashem.
Carnegie does not take institutional positions on matters of public policy; the views expressed herein are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Carnegie, its staff or its trustees.