Feminism: A Thematic Analysis Of Alifa Rifaat's Book Analysis

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In the article, “Feminism”, from Encyclopedia of Sex and Gender there are four different authors, each discussing the topic of feminism in different parts of the world. The four areas of the world discussed are Sub-Saharan Africa, Asia, the Middle East, and the West. The section of the article pertaining to the Middle East, written by Valentine M. Moghadam, focuses on feminism in the Muslim community. According to the article, modern Middle Eastern feminists tend to be employed and educated middle-classed women who fight for change in women’s positions both in society and religion. Such feminists strive for change in four main areas: family laws, violence against women, nationality rights for women and children, and involvement in politics,…show more content…
Daniels starts the chapter by stating that men historically have had more advantages than women. Men could be writers without being judged while women were unable to do so due to their lack of education. It is because of this that men could express their opinion while women were kept shut. Literature served as an insight of the culture and society of the time period. In Arab literature specifically, women are often portrayed in the familiar cultural stereotypes. Alifa Rifaat, a Muslim feminist, took a twist on the average Arab literature and she instead wrote stories about what it means to be a woman in an orthodox Muslim society in Egypt. In Rifaat’s book, Distant View of a Minaret, she discusses themes of human rights, sex and gender roles in her stories that would allow the reader to come to their own conclusion about such rights, or lack of, regarding women, hopefully in protest of such. Rifaat’s book contains thirteen short stories in which Muslim women are faced difficulties in their arranged marriages. Throughout her stories it is made clear that in Egypt and other orthodox Muslim societies women have little to no say in economics or major decisions, as well as little to no education. Women are expected to be under the control of their husbands, or their older brother if they are single or widowed. A major theme in all of Rifaat’s short stories is the deprivation of sexual satisfaction and lack of emotional attention many of the women suffer from in their marriages in orthodox Muslim societies. This then leads to a tyranny of masculinity that make women passive and unable to fight back. Not only is it the religious rules that have oppressed women in orthodox Muslim societies but it is also the tradition in such cultures. Such rules and traditions have

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