Hello, gentlemen and gentleman sympathizers. I am new to this site, though I've been talking for quite some time with (both male and female) friends about many of the things that show up in the discussions and blogs here. A bit about me -- I am a PhD. candidate in my early 30's (this is my last year, one way or another!), writing a dissertation about exile in liberal societies. Ironically, I have received a residential fellowship to finish my writing at an American university in the rather illiberal nation of Qatar. Let the hilarity ensue! Looking forward to good discussions.
Welcome!!! I am sort of new here also. I think you will enjoy your time here.
Welcome Briana. It will be quite refreshing to get woman's perspective on what defines manliness.
You'll be surprised with Qatar.
The first person I talked to when I was in Doha was a woman wearing shorts, a cleavage popping tank top, and a gold cross around her neck.
I've seen a bit of that around. You can do that, and you won't necessarily be arrested, but it strikes me as being massively impolite. Also, you get stared at by the guest workers like crazy.
Qatar is still rather strict although it has changed dramatically since 1985 when I went there for the first time. Alcohol was only available to non Muslin residents and pork was illegal! Now alcohol is available in hotels and pork is available - although restricted like alcohol. Doha has grown massively over the past decade and has some awesome Museums now. Qatar has become quite a force in the region and even globally considering it's size/ population. I have been told that it's quite a hard place to live as a foreigner given the relatively insular attitude of the locals.
I've only been here a short while, but from what I've seen there is little effort on either side to promote fraternizing among locals and expats. The American Universities here in Education City are an interesting exception, in that you have daily, prolonged contact between (not only) Qatari and other gulf nation students and Western professors. To be fair, I think the expats are at least as insular as the locals, and are not always as considerate of local mores as they could be (ie, Shane's post above about the woman in the shorts and tank top).
I didn't say she wasn't being rude. I was merely surprised she hadn't been killed outright for it.
I should clarify what I mean by "illiberal." Obviously, this isn't Saudi Arabia. I can drive, and function by myself on a day-to-day basis without needing a male relative or husband. I mean "illiberal" in the broad political (theory) sense-- ie, John Locke is a classical liberal. I refer to things like constitutionally protected freedom of speech, association, and religion. Also things like freedom of movement, and rule by the consent of the governed. So, in a very rough and dirty formulation, the sorts of things you might find in the US Bill of Rights are considered to be boilerplate liberal rights.
This is not to conflate "liberal government" with "good government" or with "democracy." Those are all different things (the the second is endlessly contested). However, since my work is on liberal societies, the contrast between daily life in a liberal and illiberal society is especially interesting to me.
So what's your dissertation about exile in liberal societies about?