Social And Legal Convention : Zh Ā Le 's Husband Became The Master Of Her Life

Social And Legal Convention : Zh Ā Le 's Husband Became The Master Of Her Life

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After her marriage, Zhāle’s husband became the master of her life, due to the norm of husbands being “the God of Women”. In Iranian society, women were expected to be subservient, “an acquiescent effigy”, whereas their husbands were supposed to be the “boasting sculptor”. This traditional social and legal convention caused Zhāle to despise her life with her husband. Her marriage was mismatched as she was a sensitive soul who yearned for love and affection whereas her husband was the leader of the bakhtiari tribe, a stern man who had taken a wife to fulfill typical household duties. Her relationship with her husband was the subject of many of her poems as she used negative imagery and metaphors to describe him. For instance, Zhāle compared his arms that embraced her as the cord on the gallows and she even likened him to Israel the angel of death Her son, Pezhman Bakthiyari noted: “Like millions of men of that time, he had taken a woman for household affairs, to raise children and more important than these two, for the pleasures of the flesh, and one thing that would never even occur to him was to express love to a creature who lived in his house and was always accessible to his desires.” His lack of affection may be in part due to the cultural norms of the time in relation to women. Women were supposed to be submissive wives who never complained or asked for more rights. Although Zhāle fit the mold of a stereotypical housewife, she was emotionally disconnected from her role. In the poem, A Mother’s Duty, she equated raising her son to a dog’s role as a caregiver, “a dog does the same as I did.” In reality, she was aware of her position yet her lack of rights restricted her ability to challenge it. However, not long after her son...


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...he wanted out of life. Sattarah remained in the United States for ten years before returning to Iran to open the first school of Social Work. Despite the fact that Sattarah escaped the social conventions related to marriage and disproved the zaifeh status of women, her freedom had consequences. She was unable to remarry because she couldn’t balance the duties of an Iranian wife while still running the school. Also, if she did marry, enemies of her work would accuse her of using the school to further her husbands career interests. This was an important issue as the ethics of her school would be put into question. Importantly, her freedom to act as she wished would be compromised as her actions would be taken as representative of her husbands character. The social conventions of her time restricted her ability to remarry while leading the independent life she enjoyed.

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