MA Gender, Sexuality, and Culture
Arab adult females have ever been victims of pigeonholing, whether it is a consequence of Western misinformation and deficiency of consciousness, or Eastern traditions and their compulsion in incarcerating adult females. Womans do non undervalue the trouble of altering these stereotypes, but they try to face them harmonizing to their ain gait and footings within the world of their ain civilization. Hence, texts written by Arab adult females should non travel unnoticed, for they are efforts to act upon and modify society.
The history of the Arab states has been ever a really of import portion of the colonial history. The Arab adult females in peculiar are portion of this long history because they have been ever a field of battle and confrontation in the colonial context where both sides of the battle ( the colonizer and the colonised ) sought control over each other through her. The colonizer sought control over the colonised through his thoughts of female release. He used the colonized female organic structure to overthrow the colonized male ( the local male ) . On the other manus, the local male was really eager to command the adult female because this would do him experience that he is still the dominant figure in that domain and this was the lone manner for him to keep on to tradition and besides a manner of defying the colonizer ‘s effort to take away the national and religious history and individuality.
During the 19th century, the first inquiry that was addressed to travelers returning from the Orient is “ what about adult females? ” Hopwood writes that “ Arab adult females fascinated male travelers and the enigmas of the head covering and the hareem which they could non perforate led to the wildest phantasies ” [ 1 ] . ( Hopwood, 1999: 147 )
Arab adult female was seen as alien and sexual but they still remained inferior to work forces particularly to western work forces who have conflicting images of her. Sometimes, she was seen as a symbol of sex, erotism, and sensualness and other times she was seen as a enchantress or demoness. These stereotypes were a really strong motivation for Arab adult females to rectify Western misperception and compose back to these wrong portraitures. So, the Arab adult females ‘s battle was a dual one in which she rebels against colonialism and the regulations of patriarchate in society. This battle for release and equality dominates the literature of post-independence Arab states.
Discourses on Arab adult females today, as in the colonial epoch, uncover misinterpretation and confusion. After the 11th of September, the Western media has connected what they call “ Muslim terrorist act ” and the subjugation of adult females and this shows clearly the gender political relations in the “ war on terrorist act ” . It besides shows that gender issues have been manipulated to reenforce the “ clang of civilizations ” of Islam versus the West.
Since the colonial epoch, the image of the Arab adult female has been used to stand for retardation and subjugation. The Arab civilization, on the other manus, has been obsessed with suppressing adult females as a manner of continuing civilization from western taint. This was intensified by the western women’s rightists claim that the lone true manner to liberate Eastern adult females is to follow a western theoretical account of feminism. Religion codifications were used by the colonizer and the patriarchal system as an ideological conflict to suppress adult females.
After the enlargement of colonialism, the involvement in the colonized land became deeper and the wonder to cognize more has become greater and this needed to be expressed in a new manner. They tried to understand the nature and history of the people under their control. They depended on information from travelers who come back from the Orient and tried to bring forth a vision of that Orient, one that is cryptic, luring, and endangering and this is really much like the context of Edward said ‘s definition of Orientalism.
Said ‘s Oriental studies can be considered as a get downing point of postcolonial unfavorable judgment and it has been followed by many other Hagiographas. The chief figures of postcolonial theory after Said have been Bhabha and Spivak.
Said notes that the Orient has helped to specify the West “ as its contrasting image, thought, personality, experience ” . [ 2 ] ( Said, 1995:2 ) . It besides helped Europe to specify its self-image through the building of an opposite Other, besides Orientalism has produced false description of Arabs and Islamic civilization. He argues that the West has situated itself as “ positionally superior ” to the East. This high quality is evoked non merely on a political degree between civilizations, but it besides works itself into the construction of the cognition.
The Arab adult females suffer from dual subjugation, a male subjugation and a Western subjugation. She is faced with complex stereotypes to contend against, non merely domestically with societal stereotyped outlooks, but besides from the exterior, with outlooks from other women’s rightists.
Many Arab authors have tried to stand for the adult females as independent and strong through different signifiers of literature. The novel is one of these signifiers and it is a extremely regarded literary signifier.
The Egyptian author Ahdaf Soueif is one of those authors. She was born in Cairo in March 23, 1950. She lived between England and Egypt. Her instruction was between the two states every bit good. She studied for a PHD in linguistics at the University of Lancaster. Soueif writes in English but the Arabic talkers can experience and hear the Arabic linguistic communication and spirit through the English. She writes about the history and the political relations of Egypt and she besides writes a batch about Palestinians in her fiction and non- fiction. She wrote a figure of novels like Map of Love, In the Eye of the Sun, and I think of You. She besides wrote aggregations of short narratives like Aisha and the Sandpiper.
The manner soueif lived her life in two different topographic points ( geographically, socially and culturally ) allows her to accomplish what she calls “ Mezzaterra ” . This is a theoretically constructed topographic point or an fanciful land where it is possible to interchange thoughts between different civilizations alternatively of holding them clash together for cultural laterality.
Soueif ‘s challenge is to define the complex inquiring of oneself and the possible transmutation while maintaining one ‘s ain cultural individuality.
Soueif ‘s fiction fits between different civilizations and linguistic communications, and ignores all formal frontiers. She does non look at the East against the West or the Arabs against the Europeans ; alternatively she works with both and makes the two civilization mix together with great harmoniousness.
The rule end of this research is to turn over relentless misinterpretations and stereotypes. This research focuses on Anglophone narrations written by Arab adult females that construe a postcolonial place within and beyond the immediate brush between imperial civilization and the complex autochthonal cultural patterns. The analysis of the chosen narratives shall try to interrogate the schemes used to stand for the Arab female in the center of traditions, faith, patriarchate and colonialism.
In chapter one I will try to show that the colonial discourse resulted in opposition in the Arab World, which manifested itself through patriotism. Patriotism, in bend, on many occasions, marginalised and oppressed the Arab adult female in its efforts to defy Western influence. On a few occasions it empowered them through giving them an chance to voice and to joint their opposition of both business and male domination. The Arab adult female ‘s subjugation resulted in another signifier of opposition in the Arab World, that which resists both Western and patriarchal subjugation.
Chapter two turns to nationalism in Egypt and the Egyptians ‘ battle for independency through another narrative written by Soueif. Soueif ‘s 2nd novel, The Map of Love, focuses on rapprochement between East and West through retrieving history. It juxtaposes historical and political events of the late 19th century with events of the late 20th century in order to foreground major political events and the function of history in the rapprochement procedure. Love affair and love personal businesss are besides portion of this narrative although the state of affairs is a contrary of the first two novels analysed. The narrative high spots the relationship between Arab work forces and Western adult females as portion of the reconciliatory duologue. More significantly, it draws the Western reader ‘s attending to the world of colonialism in Egypt and to several cultural and societal behaviors.
Chapter three discusses Ahdaf Soueif ‘s In the Eye of the Sun focussing on sexual desire. I examine predominating attitudes of Western and Eastern work forces towards Arab adult females and cultural stereotyping. I point out that sexual political relations is important to the repression of emotions, the subjection of adult females and draws an dismaying analogy between colonialism and patriarchate. Soueif trades with important forms in migration/exile, and colonial/anti-colonial/neo-colonial/postcolonial passages. The narrative moves between the political and the personal suggesting that the emancipation of adult females is parallel to political liberty, which is an thought that is non shared by many Arab authors including Soueif herself in her 2nd novel The Map of Love.
This research seeks to clarify the connexion between British colonialism and imperialism with patriarchal domination in the Arab World. I will analyze Western authorization and patriarchal authorization practiced on Arab adult females as demonstrated in the chosen texts. I will besides try to explicate how patriarchal authorization borrowed colonialist theses to govern adult females and civilization.
The decision sums up the findings of the survey.
- Soueif, Ahdaf, ( 1999 ) The Map ofLove. London: Bloomsbury.
- Soueif, Ahdaf, ( 1996 ) Sandpiper. London: Bloomsbury.
- Soueif, Ahdaf, ( 1992 ) In the Eye of the Sun. London: Bloomsbury.
- Soueif, Ahdaf, ( 1983 ) Aisha. London: Bloomsbury.
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