Friday, November 10, 2006

Cutting the Umbilical Cord


As time moves on and friendships progress, people tell you things about their life that make you go"Hmmm". The recurring topic with the biggest "Hmmm" factor is Greek men and their mothers. Greeks are very close to their families, and coming from a similar culture I appreciate that.

But whatI find a little strange is the hostility some Greek mothers display to their daughters-in-law. Sure, Mamaka's favourite hobby isn't to invite her friends over to douse her daughter-in-law in petrol and set her alight like in the Home Country, but why do the mothers of Greece, a modern and progressive nation, seem to prefer their sons over their daughters and treat daughters-in-law as rivals? And how come some Greek men will always take Mama's side and not Wifey's side. It's all a bit Oediopal, isn't it? Someone enlighten me!

On to more serious matters...

"She was stuck-up because of her grades."
"She lied about the rape."
"The boys are from very good families."
"If she comes here again, no one will speak to her, she will be isolated."
"I say it would be better to lynch her."
"She wasn't all that attractive, I'm telling you she wasn't worth it."
"She was belittling their manhood."
"By saying they knew nothing about sex she was asking for it."

The above are comments from boys at the school where a 16 year old Bulgarian schoolgirl was gang raped by four local boys in Evia, Greece.
I'm very shocked by this and that's why it's up on my otherwise pointless blog. I am planning to make Greece my home, who knows what my future children will be treated like one day if this is the attitude of some teenagers in Greece?
Interested to hear what Greeks think of this.

Image: Corrupted from http://www.allposters.com/-sp/The-First-Rendezvous-Posters_i391532_.htm

8 comments:

deviousdiva said...

I have been covering this story too. It's horrible. I have a child of school age and I am a foreigner living here so I share your concerns. We seem to be quite lucky though in that the school he goes to has tackled some issues of racism etc that arose. My son says he doesn't hear the children there insulting or taunting the non-greeks.


By the way, I just found your blog today. I will watch out for new posts. Keep up the good work.

Jenny said...

Hi there!
Great to read your blog - I'm British and have been living in Athens for the past 2 years and can relate to a lot of it... In fact, I co-run a social group for expats here - over 170 people are involved - and we regularly go out for drinks, dinner, partying etc.! We're a mixture of nationalities - currently a lot of British, Indians, Belgians etc etc... If you're interested, you can register on http://groups.yahoo.com/group/meetinathens/

Sylvia M. said...

Hi,

I conduct research in the field of communication on the mother-in-law/daughter-in-law relationship. Presently I am focusing on the mother-in-law perspective, specifically the emotional experience of being a mother-in-law. Research on this topic is limited and I am always looking for mothers-in-law who are willing to participate in either on-line or hard copy surveys. If you or anyone you know is interested in contributing to research on the topic and letting mothers-in-law have a voice, instead of being defamed, please visit my website www.motherinlawstudy.blogspot.com.


Thanks so much.
Sylvia

Sylvia M. said...

Hi,

I conduct research in the field of communication on the mother-in-law/daughter-in-law relationship. Presently I am focusing on the mother-in-law perspective, specifically the emotional experience of being a mother-in-law. Research on this topic is limited and I am always looking for mothers-in-law who are willing to participate in either on-line or hard copy surveys. If you or anyone you know is interested in contributing to research on the topic and letting mothers-in-law have a voice, instead of being defamed, please visit my website www.motherinlawstudy.blogspot.com.


Thanks so much.
Sylvia

GreekGoddess said...

About the mothers-in-law: You don't need any heavy study or PhDs to understand it. Just ask me, or any Greek woman who has lived in, around and among it all her life and has enough of a brain to put 2 and 2 together. Simply it's this: A Greek woman meets a Greek man, she bats her eyelids, he flexes his muscles and bang you have a wedding; the Greek man's mother, seeing how beautiful, young and sprightly the new bride is, bemoans the fact that she herself never enjoyed such independence at that age and envies her. This, coupled with intense anxiety for her son's welfare (as the human equivalent of her non-existent female phallus) prompts her to embark on a major power and attention trip over her rival. Typical phrases dropped at such a stage include: 'She can't even cook moussaka, where did she grow up?', 'Why does she want to go out on Friday night as well as Saturday?', 'I never ironed your shirts that way; that's why they haven't worn out yet' and the all-timer: 'What does she want another degree for?' Inevitably, the young wife reaches breaking point. Today, she would ask for a divorce (or take out her frustration on her husband, making him look elsewhere for those flattering eyelash-beating attentions he misses, hence resulting in a divorce). And game over. But the way it's been for centuries is that she would grin and bear it. But years of grinning and muttering under one's breath take their toll. The wife then discovers that she has a way to gain back her power: to have power over something which will have power over her in-laws: A male child. And the story begins all over again.

About the Bulgarian schoolgirl: NOTHING NOTHING NOTHING gives a person the right to rape someone. They should throw them in Xorydal├│ and chuch away the key.

Best wishes GG.

grrrrr!!! said...

Get the chainsaw out - the fact that they make life that more difficult in a difficult country is what annoys me...

Is it really jealousy? Is it Control? What can we do to overcome this?

As I am highly opinionated I can not do the ignore game... Any suggestions?
I googled the term Greek mothers and sons - over 270, 000 suggestions! GREEK mother in laws is a totally different thesis topic all together...

Greek Canadian said...

It depends on the mother in law. Not all of them are the same.
My ex-boyfriend's mom expected me to cook for her lazy ass plus help her around the house - you see I'm a neat freak and and I like to cook so she would take advantage of that (I would cook for her son so she would always ask: Is there enough for me?). I couldn't stand his family any longer so I had to kick him to the curb.
And to Greek godess: Come on, greek guys DO not want to get married - it's actually very HARD to get a greek man to settle down - if it just took a ''bat of the eyelids'' we wouldn't have so many pregnant brides...

Keep up the good work. Give the Greeks a chance :)

Anonymous said...

So glad to come across this article! I married into a Greek family. My ex-husband is 1st generation Greek to the U.S.

The over-bearing Greek mother, aunts, uncles, cousins etc. came out of the woodwork in the beginning. Once I had our Son, POOF! Different story. The spoke only in Greek while I was around.

I was ridiculed for my appearance, my child-rearing abilities, my hobbies, my friends...you name it. My husband rarely came to my defense in public but he did privately (little good that did).

The novelty of being with someone outside of my culture got old fast. I'm sure my story is not indicative for all scenarios! Thankfully!

My husband would pay her bills, mow her grass, fix up her house, drive her to the grocery store...mind you, she was clearly capable of doing all these things on her own. Just helpless.

Fast forward to present day...my ex-husband (who is 40) lives with his Greek Mother and not out of financial necessity.

Shortly after the divorce, the Greek relatives shut me out and some went as far as calling me on the phone to tell me what they really thought of me (which was not positive).

It was a hard lesson learned. I should have smelled something rotten when he lived with his Greek mother when we met (when he was 32 years-old).